Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: AfDB | Aurélien Gillier

Featured tweet, @UNCTADKituyi:

Regional integration initiatives must be recast in light of sluggish global recovery, rising nativism, imperatives of sustainability and the dynamics of the digital market place. My message to the 2nd RECE ministerial meeting for Asia Pacific in Bangkok.

tralac’s Weekly newsletter is posted: A new dawn for Zimbabwe!

Launching today, Regional Migration Data Hub for the Southern African Region

Ahead of next week’s AU-EU Summit: Africa Week at the European Parliament

(i) Looking ahead to the conference, the President of the European Parliament said: In recent years we have lost sight of the fact that Africa’s problems are Europe’s problems too. We are not linked only by geography, but also by shared strategic interests, by major challenges and opportunities which we must address together. The time has come to put Africa at the top of the EU’s agenda. Ahead of the Abidjan Summit, Africa Week highlights the central role which the European Parliament intends to play in setting the terms of a new EU-Africa partnership. We must look towards Africa’s young people. We must involve them in a project which uses effective tools to offer them real prospects and the hope of a stable, secure and prosperous future in their own countries. If we fail, in the coming years not tens of thousands but millions of them will spare no sacrifice to seek a better future in Europe. We must act now, before it’s too late, through a Union which speaks with one voice. We must secure the political consensus needed to bring about a radical overhaul of our policies in Africa, starting with a properly funded multi-annual budget. I am thinking of a Marshall Plan for Africa which can attract hundreds of billions of euros in investment and support Africa’s transition to a future founded on a sustainable manufacturing base, modern farming and network infrastructure. We can use that investment, channelled through a partnership between equals which involves the private sector and civil society, to promote real economic diplomacy, transfer technology, industrial know-how and professional skills and so help to create a climate conducive to entrepreneurship.

(ii) Towards a renewed partnership with Africa: speech by Vice-President Federica Mogherini. So, to conclude, we go to Abidjan with new ideas, with new initiatives – with an unprecedented investment plan, with our migration work that for the first time ever has turned into a real partnership, which is – I believe – the key to manage this phenomenon effectively, and with all our common work and support for peace and security. We go to Abidjan together with the United Nations. And let me say that we will have, there, further step in something unique we have started – a trilateral cooperation between the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations. Because together we can push forward so much of the global agenda that the world and not only our two continents need. On different issues, peacekeeping, economic and governance reform, investment, sustainable development, action on climate change: all of this, if led together by Europe and Africa with the United Nations, can really change, not only – again as I said – our two continents, but the rest of the world. So, we go to Abidjan, probably for the first time ever, as partners, as political partners, overcoming the donor-recipient kind of relationship, that belongs to the past. We are starting a new page, a page of political partnership, which means that we set our direction together, and each of us accepts the responsibility to contribute its own way on all the priorities.

(iii) The EU’s External Investment Plan: five investment windows. The European Commission singles out five areas of investment, so-called “investment windows”, in which the first actions of the External Investment Plan will be implemented. These investment areas are crucial for the sustainable development in countries in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood countries. The High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The European External Investment Plan is the largest ever investment programme for Africa. Today, only four per cent of global foreign direct investment goes to Africa. With the European External Investment Plan, we can raise at least €44 billion in private investment by 2020, notably for the most fragile parts of the continent. I hope and I expect that others will join this effort. This is a strong signal of the strengthened partnership with Africa as we are heading towards the AU/EU Summit next week.” The five investment windows include:

(iv) Council of EU adopts conclusions on digital for development. The Council welcomes the publication of the Commission Staff Working Document on Digital4Development (pdf), which provides a framework for mainstreaming digitalisation into EU development policy and identifies four priority areas with an immediate focus mainly in Africa. The Council underlines the need to promote D4D as a comprehensive framework in all developing countries focusing on those where digital needs and opportunities are the greatest. The Council invites the Commission to swiftly implement the D4D approach through a series of concrete and demand-driven actions to be launched during the 2017-2020 period. It further calls on the Commission to bring successful pilot projects to scale.

On the sidelines of next week’s AU-EU Summit:

6th EU-Africa business forum: Investing in job creation for Youth. Download the programme

Leadership4Agriculture Forum: This action-oriented forum, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development and Grow Africa, will assemble influential leaders — African high-level officials, private sector leaders and community champions — for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme Leadership for agriculture: moving African policy to action. The AfDB estimates that between $315-400bn over the next ten years is required to transform strategic agricultural value chains.

1st Africa-Europe Forum of Local and Regional Governments: The Forum will also address the issue of the renewal of the cooperation framework between Africa and Europe at a time when negotiations for a new agreement will succeed the Cotonou Agreement, which has structured Europe-Africa relations since the year 2000 and will expire in 2020. The Forum will adopt the Abidjan Declaration of the Africa-Europe Forum of Local and Regional Governments, which will be presented to the Summit for Heads of State and Governments of the two regions.

Downloads: the concept notes for the seven official summit side events

Kenya’s Amina Mohamed: Youth empowerment is crucial for Africa to root out modern day slave trade (The Wire)

For those of us who were at the Durban World Conference 16 years ago when slavery and slave trade crimes were declared against humanity, our horror and sadness at reports that sub-Saharan migrants are being sold at slave markets in Libya is immeasurable. That the world would be silent as this heinous crime were reported is something we cannot comprehend and tolerate. That a people and country that claim African citizenry can practice this repulsion in a continent that bears so many scars is scary at so many levels. For several years now, Libya has continued to serve as the primary departure point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa, with more than 90% of those crossing the Mediterranean Sea departing from Libya.

ECOWAS draft Customs Code, CET: updates

(i) The Directors-General from the fifteen Member States of ECOWAS met yesterday to consider the ECOWAS draft Customs Code. The one-day conference, which was preceded by a meeting of experts and senior officials, also considered the report of the Technical Committee on Trade, Customs and Free Movement. ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Mr. Laouali Chaibou said, in addition to the need for the uniform application of the regional tariff by the ECOWAS Member Countries, it is still necessary to “put in place an institutional mechanism for managing this instrument” He noted in this regard, that the ECOWAS Common External Tariff being a dynamic instrument, “should be able to reflect the economic and commercial policy options of both our states and the region over the years”

(ii) Nigeria implements 70% ECOWAS Common External Tariff. The Nigeria Customs Service says the country has implemented about 70% of the requirements of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff. The Comptroller-General of NCS, Hameed Ali, said this at the opening of the meeting of ECOWAS Directors-General of Customs in Abuja on Thursday. He further called for increased cooperation of border officials in “an efficient and transparent manner” and urged member countries to strengthen security at the borders to promote a more business friendly sub-region. “Our borders are getting increasingly assaulted and weakened by the criminal activities of smugglers, drug trafficking, armed bandits and insurgents. These elements can only thrive when there are gaps in our operations.”

Related: ECOWAS Summit to be hosted in Nigeria (16 December, Abuja)

Gulf of Guinea Commission: updates from yesterday’s 4th Assembly of Heads of State and Governments. Nigeria’s NSA: Maritime crimes deprive Gulf of Guinea of development; Buhari, other presidents absent as Gulf of Guinea Summit holds in Abuja; Buhari emerges Chairman of Gulf Of Guinea Commission

Today’s Quick Links:

Mozambique: Assembly passes bill on taxes on luxury goods

African Ministers of Communication and Information Technologies: update

Starting tomorrow, in Nairobi: AUC’s 5th Annual Humanitarian Symposium

COMESA, Rockefeller Foundation to host resilience academy (28-30 November, Lusaka)

Mauritius hosts 17th meeting of African Solidarity Fund

World Bank: How can Malawi move from falling behind to catching up?

Trade MEPs want to scrap all EU export restrictions on encryption

Babatunde Fagbayibo: Toothless Pan-African Parliament could have meaningful powers - here’s how


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