tralac’s Daily News Selection
Featured tweet, @selemani: 44 of the 55 African States belong to more than 1 regional economic community. Why the overlap?
Trade and integration policy workshops starting today: In Arusha: The Arusha Symposium, on the theme Beyond the Abuja Treaty: regional economic communities and continental integration; In Malabo: 2017 Congress of African Economists on the theme Growth, employment and inequalities; In Dubai: the Global Business Forum on Africa 2017
Starting tomorrow, in Abuja: Trade and Investment Facilitation Partnership Forum (with ECOWAS, UNCTAD)
Diarise: Boosting trade and development by tackling Africa’s supply chain challenges (16 November, Wilson Center, Washington: the event will be webcast)
Profiled downloads from Doing Business 2018: Region profile of Sub-Saharan Africa, Region profile of Southern African Development Community, Region profile of the East African Community. [Tomorrow’s selection will carry a set of country results and commentaries]
Profiled REC policy planning processes:
(i) COMESA: Intergovernmental Committee meeting opens. The 37th meeting of the COMESA Intergovernmental Committee opened in Lusaka on Monday. Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Mrs Margaret Mwanakatwe, who officially opened the meeting, said the implementation of regional commitments and full-scale participation of all member States in COMESA programmes requires improvement. “The low level of transposition of regional instruments at Member States level has negatively affected the implementation of various programme.” In this regard, there is need for Member States to implement agreed Summit Decisions. Minister Mwanakatwe appealed to member states to consider appropriate funding of the COMESA budget for us to sustain efforts made so far. She said: “Over the years, the resource envelope has continued to shrink. This has resulted in some of COMESA’s flagship programmes being discontinued and more are likely to follow.” The meeting was informed on the progress made towards the realization of a full free trade area. Currently 16 out the 19 countries have joined the free trade area since it was launched in 2000. The Secretariat is providing technical assistance the remaining countries to join the COMESA FTA.
(ii) EAC: Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning opens. The meeting will be capped by the Ministerial Session which will take place on Friday, 3rd November, 2017. Among the items on the agenda of the meeting are: report on the Implementation of previous decisions of the SCMEACP; report on the status of integration for the period July 2016 – June 2017; Progress Report on the Status of Implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol; Progress Report on COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Arrangement; Draft 5th EAC Development Strategy (2016/17-2020/21).
(iii) SADC: Ministers of Transport and Meteorology preview. The 2017 Southern Africa Community Development SADC senior officials meeting of ministers of transport and meteorology has commenced in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe with an appeal to delegates to prioritize regional interests. Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga, made the appeal when he officially opened the meeting which is scheduled to end on 3 November. He said the key areas that the protocol on transport, communication and meteorology aims to achieve is for the SADC region to have compatible policies, legislation, rules, standards and procedures which cannot be achieved if member countries work in isolation and try to protect their interest. According to chairperson of the meeting Manare Mamabole delegates to the meeting have been grouped into sub-sectoral committees in order to develop procedures and assign duties as well as put in place systems for monitoring progress and addressing non-compliance regulations. She said the sub-sectoral committee meetings will recommend their outcomes and report the challenges encountered during implementation to the committee of ministers which will convene on Friday for guidance.
This EAC Trade and Investment Report (pdf) analyses the trade and investment flows in 2015. Its main purpose is to gauge EAC trade performance in the global macro-economic and trade contexts and particularly analyses the intra-EAC trade in goods for the year under review, EAC trade with the rest of the world, tax exemptions, revenue yield and investment flows of Partner States. It also highlights challenges and provides recommendations which inform policy direction. The EAC Trade and Investment Report for the last 11 years have shown that intra-EAC trade has grown from $1.5bn in 2005 to $5.1bn in 2015 with the highest level being $5.8bn in 2013. On the flipside of the positive performance over period since 2005, EAC intra-trade performance in 2015 depicted a downward trend with a decrease of 10% from $5.6bn in 2014 to $5.1b. Investment flows in 2015 also declined by 16.4% from the previous year although the total investment was nearly double than that of 2012 and 2013. Likewise the trade deficit with the rest of the world continued to increase in 2015. The one year disparity may not be a good measure for the future trends given that 2016 may have experienced a rebound in the fundamental parameters used in the reporting.
The EAC Trade and Investment Report 2015 reveals the challenges that impede trade in EAC as Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) that raised the cost of doing business; poor infrastructure at the ports and along the main transport corridors; exemption regime that distorts the implementation of the CET; low value addition in the Region that affects the export earnings of the Partner States; lack of human and financial resources by the implementing agencies such as the investment agencies; delays in conclusion of trade agreements; investment related policies and strategies that are not harmonized at the regional level; and cumbersome administrative and regulatory practices with regard to registering a business and getting licenses.
Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme: update
This workshop has been organised by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the Central Corridor Transport Facilitation Agency and the World Bank. The EAC is committed to delivering an integrated transport system and the Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme in particular. The Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme represents yet another coordinated initiative between Partners States, Development Partners and Regional Organizations to deliver an integrated, efficient and cost effective transport system for our countries and regions. Lake Tanganyika is uniquely placed to provide intermodal linkages between Tripartite Regional Economic blocks of EAC, COMESA and SADC and therefore a critical conduit not only for transport needs but also for wider economic benefits.
Tanzania: SAGCOT ought to go national (The Citizen)
The Minister for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba, has said the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania should be replicated in other regions after showing improvement of agricultural production in the southern highlands. Currently, the initiative has six clusters that cover eight regions in which Dr Tizeba said at the weekend it had uplifted smallholder farmers. “You have shown the way and you have the expertise. We can’t afford to see other regions languishing while we have a state-of-the-art agricultural initiative that needs to be shared across the board,” he said during the launch of Mbarali Cluster which comprises Mbeya and Songwe regions.
The Director of Tema Port, Mr. Edward Osei, has bemoaned the very high number of police check points on the Tema/Paga road. “There is supposed to be only two legal customs barriers from here to Burkina Faso. On our way we counted about fifty police blocks; there were a lot of them and we intend to tackle that immediately,” he said. He said this on Monday during the official launching of the second borderless road show in Ghana organized by the Ghana Shippers Authority, and the Borderless Alliance at the forecourt of Black Star Line, Tema. Mr Hamoiu, President of Borderless Alliance, Ghana, observed that the programme would begin a full week of fact finding and information dissemination and interactions with transport operators, traders and uniformed officers along the Tema/Paga road corridor, which is Ghana’s main road into Burkina Faso and the land locked countries in the Sahel region.
Bruce Byiers: Trade and food security in West Africa (ECDPM)
Though anyone working on the region is acutely aware of the need to take account of informal and unrecorded trade, for governments and external partners to take informal economic activity as a starting point rather than wishing it away is an important, positive development. But it is only one step forward, given the challenge then faced in actually designing and implementing suitable support programmes. Does SWAC’s mapping of cross-border policy networks offer a way to inform where to focus attention and efforts?
Paul Nugent, Isabella Soi: When customs reform hits the border - a comparison between East and West Africa (bordersandwine)
Across the continent, Customs reforms are following a broadly similar trajectory, driven in part by regional integration initiatives and in part also by global Customs conventions. The sequencing is often different and there are nuances of detail, but it is helpful to view these developments in a comparative light. One question that arises is how reforms are communicated down the administrative chain of command and how they are explained to the various ‘stakeholders’. Arguably, the best vantage point from which to address it is from the border itself where the practical business of Customs is transacted on a daily basis. This blog post is based on ongoing research on the Uganda/Kenya and Ghana/Togo borders.
This broad-brush global picture has several consequences for East African hydrocarbon discoveries and how countries are preparing for these. First, the cost of producing natural gas in East Africa is high. There is a risk that the discoveries do not translate into competitive investment projects in an environment where prices are under pressure and the LNG market is facing fundamental structural change. Second, the region’s sociopolitical and socioeconomic environment is not sending positive signals to those contemplating investing in immobile assets. [The author: Evelyn Dietsche]
Mozambique: A political economy analysis (CMI)
In 2017, Mozambique was at its most critical moment since the end of the civil war, in a crisis-like cocktail of political, economic and social problems.This report uses a political economy analysis to shed light on some of the paradoxes that characterize Mozambique by mid-2017: Entrenched poverty, the resuscitated armed conflict/war, the trust crisis between the Mozambican (Frelimo) government and its development partners, the spiralling debt and the party-state. They are paradoxes, since just a few years ago Mozambique received praise as frontrunner to overcome those problems. Extract (pdf): The following changes in the political economy seem likely, as compared to the previous ten-year period:
(i) Mozambique will enter a period of high-debt, and worsening economy. This potentially increases the leverage of the state’s external financers and creditors (IMF, traditional donors, Chinese banks, Mozambican banks). That leverage also depends on their ability to coordinate an agenda, which raises questions about what they intend to use it for? Will the international community come together to ensure the extractive industries only, or to help set Mozambique up toward a more broad-based development? (ii) With the development of the LNG industry, large international petroleum companies and their consortia will have high stakes in the country. Seeking long-term profits, so their primary interest is in stability, not necessarily broad-based development. They will put pressure on donors and the government to serve their interests. (iii) Some novel mode of decentralisation (gubernatorial elections?) may change political dynamics in unpredictable ways. [The authors: Aslak Jangård Orre, Helge Rønning]
The Badeggi Crop Processing Zone in Niger state is expected to start in June next year, with an initial investment of $250m by a Turkish investor, deputy director at Abuja-based Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Aminu Takuma, said in an Oct. 30 interview. Additional funds of $800m will follow and the investor will operate the park while owning a 60% stake, he said without identifying the Turkish partner, citing confidentiality obligations. The facility will process more than 750,000 metric tons of crops including rice, maize, yam, cassava, groundnuts and peas every year, according to the agency. The government plans to set up 15 similar crop zones across the country of more than 180 million people.
The Department of Trade and Industry will lead a delegation of 29 businesspeople to the DRC for the 8th Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) scheduled to take place in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi from 6-11 November. According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies: “South Africa and DRC have the potential to trade at an optimal level in different sectors of the economy especially beneficiation and manufacturing. There is still work that needs to be done in terms of further strengthening commercial and investment relations and focusing on new collaboration and trade partnerships in key areas of the economies of the markets, and we are optimistic that the ITI will provide that platform,” says Davies. Sectors targeted for the ITI are agro-processing, built environment, mining capital equipment, energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
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