Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

@AUTradeIndustry: the 1st Trade Policy Dialogue Forum kicks off at AU to promote exchange of stakeholders’ views on CFTA and private sector development

Underway, in Cape Town: first African roundtable on infrastructure governance

Diarise: the 11th annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance will be launched on 20 November

tralac’s weekly newsletter is posted: First international arbitration case under the SADC FIP (... and more articles)

Global Business Forum on Africa: selected updates

(i) Dubai hosts summit, positions self as Africa investment hub. Experts at the opening of “Next Generation Africa”, Dubai’s fourth Global Business Forum on Africa, said the continent’s 54 countries – home to a fifth of the world’s population – require tens of billions of dollars in investment in infrastructure, energy and other sectors. Investment, Emirati officials hope, will be channelled through Dubai, a trading hub and member of the United Arab Emirates. “We believe that Dubai’s strategic goals can be aligned with Africa’s ambitions as it enters a new phase of development,” said the Dubai chamber chairman, Majid Saif al-Ghurair. The number of African companies registered in Dubai jumped to 17,000 last year, an increase of 41% from 2015, according to Ghurair. Trade volume between UAE and Africa totals around $35 billion and has been growing at a double-digit rate annually.

(ii) Why Dubai is a trade hub for Africa: interview with Hamad Buamim (Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry). In terms of African companies operating in Dubai, 52% in the trade sector, 20.4% are represented in the building and construction sector and 12.5% work in the real estate, leasing and business services sector. On the other hand, only 2% of these companies operate in the manufacturing sector, 1.3% in the hotels and restaurants sector and 0.3% in the agriculture sector.

(iii) Dubai spends $27m to promote African investment opportunities. Goolam Ballim, Chief Economist at the Africa’s largest financial services provider Standard Bank said Dubai Chamber held the conference to help bridge the information gap between investors and African companies, so they can tap the continent’s massive potential. “Africa’s growth has been the second fastest after Asia. So while only fifteen years ago, Africa was regarded as a dark continent, the last decade and a half has brought Africa to the fore because of this rapid economic growth of some nations offering enormous economic opportunities like Kenya in the east. Maybe not the whole continent, but various African countries are in rapid catch up phase. Along with Kenya, South Africa, Dubai can be that gateway into African opportunities, and I suspect the Dubai chamber has realised it,” Ballim said. “Nigeria is drawing an astonishing level of interest on the back of incremental reforms, [while] in southern Africa the gas opportunity in Mozambique has the lure of a certain type of Qatar gas experience,” Ballim says.

(iv) Next-generation Africa-GCC business ties in a digital economy (Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry). This report presents the perspectives of the next generation of business leaders in Africa and the GCC, focusing on millennial entrepreneurs, against an evolving economic and technological backdrop. It explores their approach to entrepreneurship and investment, and delves deeper into sectors of interest such as retail, financial services and renewable energy. There is room for growing business ties between the two regions if key hurdles can be overcome. Key findings of the report (pdf): (i) Young business leaders in the GCC and sub-Saharan Africa want flexibility and freedom in how they work; (ii) Growing self-confidence is boosting the potential for homegrown solutions and South-South collaboration; (iii) Awareness of the opportunities for Africa-GCC business links is limited, but growing; (iv) Consumers, not commodities, are powering growth sectors in Africa; (v) The practical challenges remain real for entrepreneurs interested in the African market; (vi) African entrepreneurs are turning to the GCC for more than just capital.

(v) UAE-Rwanda trade and investment update. On the sidelines of the Global Business Forum on Africa, Rwanda signed two bilateral agreements with UAE, which are expected to enhance investor relations. The pacts will facilitate promotion and reciprocation of protection of investments as well as double taxation avoidance. Speaking to The New Times, from Dubai, Emmanuel Hategeka, the COO of the Rwanda Development Board, said that the forum presents an ideal platform to mobilise investments. “UAE has been a major source of investors to Rwanda registering over $100 million in planned investments in logistics, hospitality and financial services,” Hategeka said.

(vi) Almost all African nations commit to participating in Expo 2020 Dubai. Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai: “We are uniquely perched at the centre point between two great continents of Africa and Asia where fastest-growing economies of the world can be found today. Dubai not only serves as a hub for commerce and trade between the Arab world and the African continent, but also increased its footprint to lands in the East and South as well,” she said. Over the last five years, the Dubai Chamber has opened representative offices in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya to assist UAE companies that want to expand their footprint on the continent and also to attract African businesses to Dubai.

A transformative CFTA requires inclusion of women (UNECA)

A group of experts met in Addis Ababa for the 2017 edition of the continental workshop on trade and gender under the theme The role of regional economic communities in supporting gender sensitive implementation of the CFTA (pdf). The workshop was organized by the African Trade Policy Centre, in conjunction with the 10th Session of the Committee on Regional Cooperation and Integration. In his opening remarks, David Luke, the Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre, noted that the CFTA was an ambitious project. However, it will be necessary to ensure that the benefits are shared, and this includes paying special attention on gender equality in the CFTA process. “Too often we still hear the claim that trade policy is gender neutral, while we know that the benefits and costs of trade are not equally distributed between men and women. When we do discuss women in trade, the discussion remains limited to the patterns observed – such as the fact that many informal traders are women – rather than the causes of these imbalances,” he said. The meeting called for explicit gender language in the CFTA to ensure political commitment and a legal basis for action on gender equality in the context of the agreement. It was suggested that RECs could use their status as intergovernmental bodies to develop regional common positions and frameworks to support implementation. [World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum 2017: all 17 Global Goals interrelated, with strong links to gender equality]

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 (WEF)

The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations. [What is the gender gap (and why is it getting wider)?]

Doing Business 2018: profiled African country reports (all pdf). Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia. To download other country profiles, go to the Download Center facility, here

Commentaries: 15 years of reforms to improve business climate worldwide; World Bank rankings: The myths and realities of Doing Business in India

Nigeria’s first Sub-National Competitive Index was launched today in Abuja. For the headline results, scroll down the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria twitter feed

Governors of ECOWAS Central Banks call for synergy towards common currency

This was the key message from a working visit of the Governors of Central Banks of ECOWAS Member States to the President of the ECOWAS Commission Mr. Marcel de Souza on 1 November in Abuja. During the visit, the President of the Commission emphasized the need for a single currency which will increase inter-state trade and foster economic integration in the region. However, he stated that in regards to the convergence, none of the Member States have met the convergence criteria as stipulated by the 2012-2016 marco-economic programme. Mr Godwin Emiefele (CBN, Governors of Central Banks of ECOWAS Member States chairperson): “There is also a need to establish a formal reporting framework between the committee of Governors and the Council of Ministers to facilitate channeling of relevant policy decisions and information on the Monetary Cooperation Programme to the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government”, said Mr Emiefele.

Tunisia tightens import restrictions to tackle trade deficit (Reuters)

Tunisia’s central bank has ordered local lenders to stop financing the importation of hundreds of products - from fish to perfume- as the country tries to curb a record trade deficit. A document seen by Reuters showed that banks had been told not to provide loans to finance imports of some 220 consumer products unless the importer deposits enough funds to cover the cost of the import. The products listed include tropical fruits, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics products and air conditioners. A senior government official told Reuters that Tunisia hoped the import restrictions would help maintain its foreign reserves and halt a slide in the dinar against the dollar.

Africa oil and gas review: learning to leapfrog (PWC)

PwC’s Africa Oil and Gas Review, 2017 analyses what has happened in the last 12 months in the oil and gas industry within the major and emerging markets. “Africa’s oil and gas industry is experiencing significant change and upheaval. There are fundamental shifts in companies’ strategies, business models and ways of working,” says Chris Bredenhann, PwC Africa Oil & Gas Advisory Leader. In response to many of these challenges, oil & gas companies are looking to alter their strategies and operating models, which has changed the competitive landscape. Companies reported that major changes anticipated or recently experienced in the competitive environment are driven by the growth in alternative fuels, the impact of technology-driven disruption and the need for cost reduction. [Africa unites to attach investment at Africa Oil Week in Cape Town]

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