Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Wu Hong | EPA

Concluding today, in Kampala: CII-Exim Bank conclave on India-East Africa trade and investment. Launched at the conclave: India’s investments in select East African countries – prospects and opportunities (pdf, Exim Bank). Tweeted updates:

@DoC_GoI: 400+ delegates from Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Sudan, India, Japan, DR Congo, Mauritius, Egypt, Somalia, Eritrea, Burundi are participating. Many delegations are being led by Ministers and senior functionaries. @DoC_GoI: “Commonalities and complementarities of India and Africa agriculture sector should drive partnerships and solutions. Technology, infrastructure and value chain up-gradations should be planned for a sustainable partnership”: Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, at Regional Conclave at Kampala.

US-Africa ministerial session on trade and investment: Tony Elumelu’s remarks

The good news is that the African private sector is maturing, our governments are gradually liberalizing, and the private sector leaders are financially and technically ready to partner with global firms ready to do business in Africa. As a result, foreign companies in the power business, transmission and distribution in particular, who want to come to Africa will today, have more ready African investors who are ready to co-invest in new opportunities. Additionally, there is need to showcase ongoing reform achievements to prevent information asymmetry – one of the major challenges that faces the continent. When new enabling policies are created, or existing ones that hinder business growth are dismantled, it is important to create awareness around these small wins. The more information is provided and accessible to the public news from the continent is, the more likely we will be in winning the fight against changing the pervading negative narrative Africa continues to battle.

Branding and other intangibles account for 30% of product value (WIPO)

The WIPO’s study, World Intellectual Property Report 2017: intangible capital in global value chains, looks at how much income is credited to labor, tangible capital and intangible capital in global value chain production across all manufacturing activities. The report finds that intangible capital accounted, on average, for 30.4% of the total value of manufactured goods sold throughout 2000-2014. Overall, income from intangibles increased by 75% from 2000 to 2014 in real terms, amounting to $5.9 trillion in 2014, twice as much as tangible capital, such as buildings and machinery, contributed to the total value of manufactured goods.

9th Ordinary Meeting of AU Sub-Committee of Directors General of Customs: update (WCO)

The Directors General discussed and adopted a number of recommendations, in particular: how to increase the number of accessions to the WTO TFA; the setting up of National Committees on Trade Facilitation as foreseen in the TFA; and issues related to the further development and implementation of AU objectives and programmes, notably those aimed at boosting intra-Africa trade which continues to show very low levels of improvement. Delegates also endorsed the need for enhanced consultations with trade, as well as the sharing of information and best practices. The meeting elected Cameroon as Chair of the Bureau (Chair of this Group) for 2017/2018, with Comoros, Uganda, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco completing the Bureau’s membership.

SACU, WCO agree on Regional Trade Facilitation Programme 2018 roadmap (WCO)

Highlights of 2017 included the finalization of the regional IT Connectivity Blue Print, the official launch of the national Preferred Trader Programme in South Africa as well as the conclusion of the regional enforcement operation in the textile sector “Operation Texo” that yielded in the recovery of nearly $500 000 in customs duties. The 2018 roadmap will particularly focus on intensifying national efforts to operationalize the regional IT frameworks (regional Utility Blocks, regional UCR) developed with the support of the project as well as on fast-tracking legislative reforms and roll-out of the national and regional Preferred trader programme.

Lesotho: IMF staff completes 2017 Article IV visit (IMF)

Lesotho’s new government faces difficult challenges due to external shocks compounded by a fragile political situation. A sharp drop of SACU revenues and slim prospects for a quick recovery put severe pressure on the fiscal accounts. Economic growth is expected to exceed 3% this fiscal year, shielded against the SACU revenue shock by the government’s decision to run large fiscal deficits. Looking at the sectoral contributions, the mining sector and the recovery of agriculture after two years of drought are expected to be major contributors to growth. The implementation of SADC recommendations to stabilize the political situation has reduced the risk for the textile sector to lose access to the US market under AGOA. After two consecutive years of fiscal deficits exceeding 6% of GDP, financed by drawing down government deposits at the central bank, these buffers have been dwindling. The fiscal situation has been compounded by shortfalls of domestic revenues. While SACU revenues have been difficult to predict in the past, prospects for a quick recovery are very slim, given the slow economic growth in South Africa.

Fitch junks Namibia (The Namibian)

Fitch said its downgrade “reflects weaker-than-forecast fiscal outcomes and our projection that public debt-to-GDP will continue to rise over the medium term”. At the same time, Fitch mentions “a weaker-than-expected economic recovery and our view that medium-term growth has shifted to a lower gear” as additional concerns. The ratings agency predicts that Namibia’s GDP growth will decelerate to “0,8% in 2017 from 1,4% in 2016”. In its extensive statement on the downgrade, the ratings agency also points to the expected decline in transfers from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) as an influential factor, along with Schlettwein’s recent statements indicating that “fiscal consolidation was temporarily interrupted”.

Swaziland: Industrial policy update (The Observer)

Processes to align the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap with the National Industrial Policy are underway, according to Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Jabulani Mabuza. Following approval of the costed action plan to implement the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, Mabuza said a process has now begun to identify national indicative public coordination costs.

Angola and Mozambique sign visa waiver (Club of Mozambique)

Angolan and Mozambican governments signed on Friday in Luanda a deal on visa waiver on ordinary passports. Angolan Interior minister Ângelo da Veiga Tavares and his counterpart from Mozambique, Jaime Basílio Monteiro, signed the agreement.

Nigeria: GDP grew by 1.40% in Q3’17 (National Bureau of Statistics)

Nigeria’s GDP grew in Q3 2017 by 1.40% (year-on-year) in real terms, the second consecutive positive growth since the emergence of the economy from recession in Q2 2017. This growth is 3.74% points higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–2.34%) and higher by 0.68% points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter, which was revised to 0.72% from 0.55% (Q2 was revised following revisions by NNPC to oil output and hence led to revisions to Oil GDP).

Zambia, DRC agree on trade restrictions (Daily Mail)

Zambia and the DRC have agreed to remove trade restrictions imposed on the export and imports of certain goods between the two countries. The DRC had stopped importing beer, carbonated drinks, cement and clinker used in the manufacture of cement from Zambia and would only permit similar goods from South Africa and other countries to be imported into that country. This did not go well with Government, who also had to restrict similar goods to be imported into the DRC from other countries through the Kasumbalesa border post and other gateways to that country. The trade barriers had been going on for a month now and Zambia is estimated to have lost $25m export revenue as a result of the restrictions. [Note: DRC minister of External Trade, Jean Lucien Bussa Tongba, said his country did not ban the importation of carbonated drinks, Cement and beer but introduced reforms to centralize the flow of foreign products to promote the local industry as well as prevent smuggling.]

Mozambique: Regulation to monitor foreign trade underway – Minister Tonela (Club of Mozambique)

The government is developing a regulation to monitor foreign trade and prevent the illicit import and export of goods. Minister of Industry and Commerce Max Tonela says the regulations will ensure that timely information relevant to quantity, prices, origin and destination of imported and exported goods becomes available. Speaking on Friday in Maputo during the closing of the XV Coordinating Council of his ministry, Tonela said that the decision to proceed with the preparation of the regulation comes after work in coordination with the Economy and Finance and the Bank of Mozambique highlighted current weaknesses in the monitoring process.

ITFA pivots to Africa, creates regional committee (GTR)

The International Trade and Forfaiting Association has branded 2017/18 “the year of Africa” and established a regional committee dedicated to setting an African agenda for the association. Newly-appointed ITFA board member, Duarte Pedreira of Crown Agents Bank, will chair the committee. He tells GTR that the committee has already set itself four “strategic pillars”.

At upcoming WTO meet, India and other developing countries to try and keep focus on Doha Agenda (The Wire)

Responding to developed countries’ proposals on e-commerce, India has maintained that the WTO should stick to the existing mandate set out in the 1998 electronic commerce work programme. India has argued that negotiations on rules and disciplines in e-commerce would be highly premature at this stage and like a leap in the dark, especially given the highly asymmetrical nature of the existing e-commerce space. The one-page draft proposal circulated by the developed countries says, “The Working Party shall establish its own procedures and shall report periodically to the General Council”. India has linked the extension of moratorium on e-commerce transactions till 2019 to a similar renewal of moratorium on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) non-violation and situation complaints. [India fights for fuel sops for poor fishermen ahead of WTO meeting]

Today’s Quick Links:

Kenya’s Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo harbours hopes of better trade relations with Tanzania

Edlam Yemeru: Leveraging urbanization for Africa’s industrialization

Enelamah: Our vision is to make Nigeria an attractive business destination

Dangote opens new cement plant in Congo on Thursday

Brookings: China’s shifting manufacturing labor pool is creating global dreams – and nightmares

India’s journey from Fragile Five to favoured investment destination


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