Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Reuters

tralac’s Annual Report 2016-2017 is posted. Based on a review of the 2016-2017 work programme, and feedback from our stakeholders, our priority focus areas are: Global trade governance developments: implications of Brexit and the new US Administration, the future of multilateral trade governance; Africa’s regional integration agenda: (i) ongoing trade and regional integration negotiations (TFTA, CFTA); (ii) trade in services – regulatory issues; (iii) standards – especially SPS measures; (iv) trade facilitation and NTBs; (v) trade remedies and safeguards; and (vi) dispute resolution; A sustainable development agenda for Africa: trade and climate change, the environment, the blue economy, gender and youth development. [tralac’s latest weekly e-Newsletter]

Underway, in Niamey: ECOWAS Task Force on Common Currency. Related perspective, by ECA’s Dr Dimitri Sanga: ECOWAS single currency ‘might not be’ by 2020

Intra-ECOWAS trade should be first priority, not signing EPA (The Point)

“This is a very good thing on paper but effectively, you have to have something to sell; if you don’t have manufacturing sector that is well prepared to produce a variety, what are you going to export to the EU,” Dr Dimitri Sanga, West Africa director of ECA, said. “So if you are not well prepared, even if the market of Europe is open to you more than 100%, you will only sell 2 or 3 commodities; you wouldn’t be able to reap the maximum benefit from that agreement. So going for such agreement at this stage doesn’t make sense.” On the other hand, Dr Sanga said, the European entrepreneurs will send to ECOWAS all the products from soft drinks to rice, to cassava.

He said even if ECOWAS member states managed to have small industries that produce and pack some very good products for export; there are phytosanitary laws in the EU that have to be respected for the products to enter the European market. “So on paper, they tell you the market is open 100% but those barriers created by the phythosanitary laws will not help you to tap the market 100%,” he said. The ECA official said their advice to ECOWAS and other countries is that if ever they decide to go in for the EPA, they have to negotiate with the EU to make sure that capacity building component is part of the agreement. “That will help to bring our industries at a level to meet up the phytosanitary measures of the EU,” he said. “In that case, they could go in for the agreement knowing that they will benefit from the capacity building to enhance their standards.”

Sub-standard goods: Envoy wants Chinese industries in Nigeria (Punch)

Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmad Jidda, has said that there is a need for Chinese industrialists to establish manufacturing plants in the country in order to produce quality products at rates that will not be too exorbitant for Nigerians to buy. The envoy, who spoke to our correspondent in Beijing on Saturday, noted that the establishment of Chinese manufacturing plants in Nigeria would eliminate the flooding of the market with substandard products from the Asian nation. Jidda, who blamed Nigerian traders for coming to China to ask that the quality of products meant for the local market should be deliberately lowered in order to make much profits, said one of the ways to check this was the localisation of manufacturing plants in the country by Chinese industrialists and investors. This, according to him, will eliminate the need to source for foreign exchange with which to import goods from China, including the cost of freight, duty and other associated costs that add up to the prices of such goods.

COMESA policy organs meetings begin this week: Towards Digital Economic Integration

The Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters will be the curtain raiser and takes place 26 – 28 October 2017. It will be followed by the IC and the Council of Ministers meeting (2-3 November). The theme for the meetings is ‘COMESA Towards Digital Economic Integration’. It seeks to refocus attention on the need to harness the potential of information communication technologies in addressing the existential challenges of regional integration. It comes at a time when the COMESA Secretariat has embarked on a digitization drive that has so far transformed all its meetings to paperless. Further, it has introduced software to capture small scale trade data using smart phones to promote e-business; launched a Short Messaging Service for reporting trade barriers and working on a digital Free Trade Area Application that will incorporate e-Commerce, e-Legislation and e-Logistics.

Africa needs more private investment: here’s how to make it happen (WEF)

To help bridge this information gap, the German G-20 Presidency has asked the International Finance Corporation to create a simple toolbox with straightforward and accessible information about the many programs available to investors, firms, and governments looking to engage with the G20 Compact with Africa countries. These countries include Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia - with more to follow. Improving the conditions for private investment in Africa, with an emphasis on infrastructure, is central to the Compact. And the goal of the toolbox is to provide an accessible overview of where to go for financing and support of private investments. The toolbox - which is an inventory of available instruments - is based on substantial inputs from all the multilateral development banks engaged in the region, as well as the International Monetary Fund and the Association of European Development Finance Institutions. It was compiled with the twin goals of providing transparency and closing the information gap facing governments, investors and businesses. The toolbox also outlines the relevant knowledge platforms related to scaling up infrastructure in the Compact with Africa countries.

Uganda: AfDB’s Country Strategy Paper 2017-2021 (pdf, AfDB)

The proposed Uganda new CSP 2017-21 intends to support realization of the NDPII objectives. The CSP has the following two strategic pillars: (i) Infrastructure development for industrialization and (ii) Skills and Capacity Development. The rest of the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) 2017-2021 is organized as follows: Section II reviews and assesses the salient features of the country context; Section III discusses strategic options, portfolio performance and lessons learnt; Section IV presents Bank Group Strategy 2017-21; while Section V draws conclusions and presents recommendations for senior management.

East Africa: How a payments platform is driving cross-border trade, economic growth (New Times)

Transaction times have also been significantly reduced. While a payment used to take up to two days, it can now take place in only a few hours. By using SWIFT, EAPS also benefits from the highest levels of security, resiliency, standardisation and automation. The ambition for EAPS is that it will be the platform of the future, enhancing efficiency, continuing to reduce settlement times and lower transaction costs, thereby encouraging greater levels of trade within the region and furthering economic growth. Currently, four EAC member countries are connected to EAPS, and Burundi is scheduled to join the platform later this year. [The author, Denis Kruger is head of Sub-Sahara Africa at SWIFT]

South Sudan Economic Update, 2017: taming the tides of high inflation (World Bank)

Which stabilization path for South Sudan? (pdf): Although there is a clear agreement that South Sudan needs to reform, vested interests and rent seeking behavior from the politically connected who have access to foreign currency at the official rate are preventing or delaying the reform process. There is also a lack of agreement on the specifics of the reform to support lower inflation. For example, it is not clear whether the country would be most suited to adopt a currency board approach or a full dollarization or continue with a floating regime. Finally, reforming the monetary regime involves a major change in the economic environment, and a major shock for the economy. The uncertainty surrounding the impact may add to the reluctance of the reform process. [Reducing poverty through improved agro-logistics in a fragile country: findings from a trader survey in South Sudan]

Mozambique expects natural gas reserves to double (Club of Mozambique)

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Letícia Klemens says prospects for new discoveries are encouraging, and by 2030 the country is expected to know about twice the current 180 billion cubic feet found in the Rovuma basin off the north coast of Mozambique. Speaking at an international conference on the production and consumption of liquefied natural gas in Tokyo, Japan, Minister Klemens said: “Our location is strategic for the Asian, Pacific and Atlantic markets,” and “increasing opportunities in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.” Mozambican gas is of excellent quality, which gives it a competitive advantage in terms of costs,” she added. A consortium led by Italian oil company Eni announced its final decision to invest in the sea to the north of Mozambique in June, becoming the first major natural gas project to move into the implementation phase. The floating extraction and liquefaction platform is under construction and the operation in Rovuma Area 4 is expected to start within five years.

Green approach to closing Africa’s huge infrastructure gap has immense benefits says ECA’s Mofor (UNECA)

In remarks at an event at the just-ended Global Green Growth Week 2017, which was held under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s green growth potential”, Mr. Mofor presented the Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES) - a joint initiative of the ECA, the World Bank, the AUC, the AfDB and the Nordic Development Fund, that is hosted in the ACPC - as an example of how infrastructure can be made greener. He said AFRI-RES was put in place with the aim of strengthening the capacity of African institutions, as well as the private sector to plan, design and implement infrastructure investments that are resilient to climate variability and change in selected sectors. [African countries urged on green growth agenda]

Carlos Lopes: Africa’s impala-like leap into a green industrial economy (The Guardian)

Many policy directives and incentives are needed to foster this transformation. Amongst them are: adopting green urban policies to promote compact, connected, and coordinated cities; strengthening “export push” policies, including support for green exports by identifying markets and improving certification and standards; and investing in sustainable infrastructure and increased infrastructure efficiency. If we get the policies right, we can have fuel-efficient stoves in every village, dynamic industries built on recycled inputs, and urban sanitation that provides clean power for all. Africa is already growing, and fast. Whether it can grow based on a sustainable, inclusive economy depends upon whether we can harness this change and propel ourselves into green industrial revolution. It’s time for us to leap like an impala, into the future.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes: 2017 Annual Report (World Bank)

Today, ICSID is the acknowledged world leader in investor-State dispute settlement. It has administered more than 70% of all known international investment proceedings. Over the past year alone, ICSID administered 258 cases, the most in any single year of its history.

Today’s Quick Links:

CMAG: Cement from Nigeria violates World Trade Organization rules

West Africa Clean Energy Corridor Initiative: update

Quality Infrastructure Programme for Central Africa soon to be fully implemented

IFC: Women and tourism - designing for inclusion

North Africa: South Africa’s next prime export market?

As Africa’s need for food grows, Mali’s rice turnaround shows a way forward


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