Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Simon Davis | DFID

Underway in Abuja: The 4th, and last, meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area technical working groups

Underway in Lusaka: 1st African Union Symposium on Special Economic Zones and Industrial Development. Inter alia, the symposum will collect ideas for the development of an Africa SEZ Network and an AU-China SEZ study tour programme.

The AfDB is hosting an African pension funds roundtable (7-8 November). @mfw4a update: On Day 1, AfDB Group focuses on identifying recent trends, regulatory frameworks and investment portfolio

@SimnHess: Happening now – Tanzania DTISU validation workshop: bringing private sector, government and donors around a common set of trade priorities. Tanzania DTIS looks at accelerating development through tourism - a sector that generated $2.2bn in revenue; 467000 direct and 1.3m indirect jobs!

Diarise: 2017 PIDA Week (10-14 December, Walvis Bay) on the theme Enhancing trade and economic transformation through regional infrastructure development

Special update on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (UNCTAD)

The new ISDS cases in 2017 were commenced against 32 countries. Five countries and economies – Bahrain, Benin, Iraq, Kuwait and Taiwan Province of China – faced their first (known) ISDS claims. Developed-country investors brought about two thirds of the 35 known cases. Looking at the overall outcomes of some 530 cases concluded as of 31 July 2017, about one third were decided in favour of the State and one quarter in favour of the investor (the remaining cases were settled, discontinued or decided in favour of neither party). On average, a successful claimant was awarded some $522m, corresponding to about 40% of the amount claimed. Claimants alleged breaches of fair and equitable treatment in about 80% of ISDS cases for which such information was available, followed by indirect expropriation with 75%.

Formulating bankable aid for trade projects in Africa: guidance document (ATPC/UNECA)

The guide is not meant to be a blueprint (pdf), nor is it meant to be exhaustive. It aims to enable the systematic analysis of the constraints to trade for countries or regions, the identification of needs, and the formulation of project and programme proposals that are “bankable” and ready to be presented to development partners for funding under the broad umbrella of AfT. The audience is wide, ranging from those preparing project proposals and concept notes (potential beneficiaries, development partners, consultants, etc.) to those reviewing and approving project proposals (the funders).

Nairobi faults Dar ‘hostile’ trade actions (Business Day)

Kenya has formally protested to Tanzania over what Nairobi terms as “a policy shift that condones hostile actions against Kenyan citizens and their business interests.” On Monday, Foreign Affairs Political and Diplomatic Secretary Tom Amollo criticised Dar es Salaam’s decision to burn chicks imported from Kenya as well as auctioning of animals from Kenyan herders, without involving authorities in Nairobi, saying such actions risk soiling historical relations between the countries. The move followed the summoning of Tanzanian High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Pindi Hazara Chana, by Kenyan officials to protest what they called Tanzania’s unilateral actions on issues affecting the two countries. ”Kenya/Tanzania relations are longstanding, rich and complex and should not be jeopardised by a hardening of positions over minor issues that can be easily resolved through candid and open dialogue,” Mr Amollo told the Tanzanian envoy during a lengthy meeting in Nairobi. “There may be need to urgently convene the Kenya/Tanzania Joint Border Commissioners/Administrators Committee Meeting, (Ujirani Mwema), to address emerging cross border issues.”

Kenya: Tea exports to top markets fall 17% in quarter three (Business Daily)

Tea exports to Kenya’s major markets in the year to September dropped 17% compared with corresponding period in 2016 with some top buyers registering significant cuts. Statistics from the Tea Directorate indicate the volume of exports fell to 320 million kgs, from 387 kgs last year. The September report shows the total volume exported to the UK and Egypt dropped 39% and 14% respectively as the drought bit. Egypt is the second largest buyer followed by UK at number three. Pakistan is the top buyer. Tea was shipped to 39 export destinations compared with 41 markets for the same period in 2016. Pakistan led with 9.91 million kgs, accounting for 28% of the total volume.

EAC border posts for full operations next January (Tanzania Daily News)

All OSBPs along borders separating the East African countries will be fully operational by next January 2018, an official at the EAC Secretariat has confirmed. The East African region has identified 15 border posts in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania for conversion from ‘two-stop’ border posts into single premises entity, or OSBPs, to facilitate movement of people and goods across the region. An official with the EAC Secretariat confirmed here yesterday that two mapped OSBPs in Longido, Tanzania and Kajiado in Kenya are scheduled for official launch by President John Magufuli. Others posts like the Na manga border however still lack installation of modern equipment for speedy and smooth clearance. Ten years after the project initiation, works on 12 OSBPs are complete, with one on the final stage while two others scheduled for completion and full operations by early 2018, according to Senior Public Relations Officer with EAC Secretariat Simon Owaka.

The Moroto Dialogue: Combating cross-border corruption (UNDP Ethiopia)

During the long dry seasons, the cattle keeping people of Karamoja will cross over into Kenya looking for water and pasture for their animals. The same is true for their brothers from the Turkana region of Kenya. This may sometimes result into conflict over the scarce water and pasture. This is one of the challenges that East Africa’s porous borders face. With globalisation, borders are now more open allowing easier movement of people, goods and capital among other things. While this is great for trade, border control authorities also have to deal with the challenges it comes with which include human and drug trafficking and illicit flow of firearms linked to terrorist and extremist groups.

Nigeria trade and development postings:

(i) Note: President Buhari will present the 2018 budget today

(ii) Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s finance minister: Nigeria is not an oil economy. Descriptions of Nigeria’s economy often include such phrases as ‘Africa’s largest oil producer’ and ‘the oil rich African nation’. But, oil economies are typically characterised by low population densities and abundant oil resources. Typical of such descriptions are Saudi Arabia, with a 10 million barrels of oil per day output and 30 million people. Kuwait, with 2.7 million barrels of oil per day, has four million people. And Qatar, with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, has 2.5 million people. These economies pursued an economic model that was built around a large government dependent almost entirely on oil revenue for funding its programmes and activities. Such economies could afford to have low, or in some cases, no domestic revenue mobilisation, in the form of taxes. Tax to GDP ratios of less than 10%, against the OECD average of 34.6%, could be justified, especially in the era of high oil prices. For over three decades, Nigeria pursued this model. But, things have been changing, with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, propelled into office under the mantra of ‘change’. That clamour for change, in the areas of good governance, security and economy, coincided with the collapse of global oil prices and a consequent huge deficit in government revenues.

(iii) Financial Times special report: Investing in Nigeria

(iv) Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission launches Compendium of Investment Incentives. The Compendium is a compilation of tax, tariff, export and sector based incentives, approved by Federal Government of Nigeria and supported by various legislation. NIPC, through the Compendium (pdf), aims to provide existing and new investors relevant information on available incentives with the overall objective of promoting new and incremental investments in Nigeria. The Compendium is based on the 2016 Fiscal Policy which cuts across all industries and sectors. However, this first edition covers the following sectors: Agriculture/Agro-allied, Solid minerals, Manufacturing, Tourism/hospitality, Oil and gas.

Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry: profiled recent resources. (i) Sahel Capital presentation on Nigeria’s agriculture sector, value chain (pdf); (ii) Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development presentation (pdf), (iii) LCCI Forum on EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement (pdf); (iv) LCCI Oil Producers Trade Section: costs of Nigeria’s oil and gas projects higher by 100%

Nigerian telcos support removal of roaming charges across ECOWAS (Punch)

The Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria says elimination of call roaming charges in the ECOWAS sub region will drive more traffic for Nigerian telco operators. The President of the association, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, while speaking with our correspondent, said the plan would reduce the practice of not using Nigerian network lines when people travelled to other African countries.

Trade finance: Afreximbank Guarantee Programme launched

The AFGAP programme, which offers a variety of credit enhancement solution to clients in Africa, is part of Exim-plus, a broad strategy developed by Afreximbank to position itself as a comprehensive trade facilitation and financing solution centre in Africa. Under Exim-plus, Afreximbank is offering a broad array of instruments that are often associated with export credit agencies and other specialized trade and development finance institutions, thereby differentiating itself from normal commercial banks and development financial institutions. Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking, Amr Kamel, said AFGAP would bring “additionality” to Africa, by mobilizing financing that would otherwise not have been possible, to support the economic development of the continent

Tanzania Economic Update: Raising the watermark in Tanzania’s growth and poverty reduction picture (World Bank)

This example illustrates one of the key challenges of water resource management: the need for proactively managing trade-offs in water use across many different stakeholders. Water is a multifaceted resource, critical not only to human welfare and the environment, but also for a country’s economic fortunes. It is against this backdrop that the latest Tanzania Economic Update describes the urgent need for better water resource management to ensure that water does not put a brake on Tanzania’s development.

Poor policy slowing Kenya’s ICT sector as neighbours take lead (The Standard)

Today, much of the traction witnessed in the last seven years has slowed to a crawl. Growth in Kenya’s ICT sector has petered out and the country is now struggling to attract fresh technology financing and prove its competitiveness amidst competition from new emerging markets such as Rwanda and Ethiopia. A recent report looking into startup financing in the region found that local e-health startups barely managed to take two per cent of Sh1.9 billion in funding that went to the sector in the last three years. At face value, the numbers paint the picture of an industry that is doing well.

IMF’s Abebe Aemro Selassie: Sustaining high growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (IMF)

As Lant Pritchett has noted, the development process occurs across a number of dimensions; political, administrative, economic and social. And Africa has seen progress across each of these dimensions to varying degrees. On the political front, an increasing number of countries have moved from unconstrained leaders to systems with more checks and balances. In some cases, we are home to some of the world’s most boisterous democracies. Administratively, many countries now have reasonably independent central banks, are able to provide basic services and regulatory and judicial frameworks are developing. By no means are these political and administrative institutions ideal, but they are no longer as inimical to growth as they used to be. And playing off this, we’ve seen many more episodes of sustained growth accelerations, replacing the episodes of boom and bust. Since 1990, three quarters of the countries in the region have registered at least 10 years of uninterrupted growth, and over one-third of the countries have registered 20 years or more of uninterrupted growth. This has occurred alongside much improved human development outcomes.

A preview of the World Bank’s Innovating Bureaucracy conference, starting tomorrow

Although we may think of bureaucrats as a largely entrenched “old guard”, the dataset shows otherwise. In fact, the mean age of public sector employees is a mere 41 years old, just 5 years older than the private sector average (36). In the developing world, public sector workers are actually younger, on average, than public servants in high-income countries. For example, in Ethiopia, public servants are generally around 35 years old, while their equivalents in the US are over 44 years old. Overall, lower-income public servants are about 2 years younger across the globe. [The author: Daniel Walker]

Today’s Quick Links:

Pakistan: `Look Africa’ plan prepared to boost trade

Irene Yuan Sun: Africa will take China’s place as the next factory of the world

Uganda’s coffee meets Sudan’s new export standards

ECOWAS Regional Customs Training Strategy: WCO update

World Bank: State and trends of carbon pricing 2017


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