tralac’s Daily News Selection
The 5th African Union-European Union Summit took place on 29-30 November in Abidjan, under the overarching theme of Youth. The Summit brought together leaders from 55 African Union and 28 European Union Member States. In their political declaration, the European and African leaders set out their joint commitment to invest in youth for a sustainable future. Concretely, they committed to focussing their work on four strategic priorities. On this basis, the European and African Union Commission will put forward concrete projects and programmes within three months.
They agreed to put in place a joint EU-AU-UN Task Force to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.
Decisive AU means more reliable partnerships – Kagame (The New Times)
President Paul Kagame has said that the African Union institutional reform aims at creating a self sufficient Union and will lead to more reliable external partnerships. “The forces reshaping the global economic and security environment mean that Africa’s future increasingly depends on the quality of cooperation within our own continent, first and foremost,” Kagame said. [Remarks by President Kagame at the African Union-European Union summit in Abidjan]
African trade blocs urged to adopt pact and ease commerce (Business Daily)
Members of African regional trading blocs have been asked to hasten implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to reduce cross border trade costs in a bid to grow economies. Mr Erastus Mwencha, the former Deputy Chairman of the Africa Union Commission, said the efficiency of trade hinges on the support of regional blocs such as the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in adopting a more open stance on trading with each other.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Katushabe, Commissioner, Transport Regulation and Safety, Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda, reminded the participants that Air Transport facilitation is an important aspect of aviation and the EAC airports have to continuously enhance capacity of existing infrastructure to be able to cope with future aviation demands, meet international requirements and to contend with the ever changing threats against Civil Aviation.
African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) will meet in Niamey, Niger, on 1 and 2 December in a bid to finalize negotiations on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by the end of 2017, as directed by the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in June 2015. David Luke, who coordinates the African Trade Policy Centre at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), expressed optimism about the December deadline for the establishment of the CFTA: “Given the momentum behind the negotiations thus far, we are confident that there will be the essential substance of an agreement to come out of the ministerial meeting in Niamey.”
Single Market A Windfall For Africa’s Economy (Forbes Africa)
Africa is charting a new path towards a single continental market – and it’s going to be an economic revolution. As much as the CFTA will disrupt demand and supply barriers, a single market will help align trade policies, regulations and institutions of all African countries to promote continental trade that will benefit businesses, consumers and governments. This will lead to structural transformation, industrial development, diversification, productivity boost, and new wealth that will give Africa a competitive edge. [The author, Shakir Akorede, is writer, agenda contributor to the World Economic Forum, and founder of 501Words]
Manufacturing is a critical component of the South African economic policy and also important in creating and ensuring that there are jobs in the economy. This was said by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies during a briefing to the portfolio committee on Trade and Industry on the state of manufacturing, World Trade Organisation and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) in Parliament.
Weak manufacturing sector robs East Africa’s economy of resilience (The EastAfrican)
East Africa’s economy could be stronger and more resilient but for a weak manufacturing sector, according to the Macroeconomic and Social Development in Eastern Africa 2016-2017 report. Compared with the service sector, whose expansion has been rapid, the manufacturing sector in the region has been lagging behind as evidenced by the stagnant or even declining share of the manufacturing value added over the past decade. [Download the report]
As the most vulnerable countries continue to face serious development challenges, South-South cooperation offers enormous opportunities and potential to effectively support them in accelerating progress on implementing globally agreed goals, Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), said at the Global South-South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey.
This year’s ministerial comes at a moment of change for the global trade system, which in October celebrated the 70th anniversary of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The negotiating agenda under discussion at the WTO is, however, relatively limited for the Buenos Aires meet. Areas where ministers could reach agreement – with varying degrees of ambition – include agriculture, electronic commerce, fisheries, and issues related to small and medium-sized enterprises. There is also the prospect of voluntary, plurilateral offshoots in important matters such as fossil fuel subsidies and gender. [Bridges Negotiation Briefing: A Guide to the WTO’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference (pdf)]
There is need for policies that will support cross-border trade in grains and cereals and also eradicate barriers affecting the sector, the regional grain council has said. Gerald Makau Masila, the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC) executive director, said a supportive legal regime will spur cross-border trade of commodities like rice and help reduce food imports into the Eastern Africa region.
Agriculture is poised for another major transformation as gains from the Green Revolution come up against natural resource limits. “The future of agriculture is not input-intensive, but knowledge-intensive. This is the new paradigm,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said in a speech at Chatham House.
Today’s Quick Links:
Global Finance Resets: The decline of cross-border capital flows signals a stronger global financial system (Finance & Development, IMF)
Mahmoud Mohieldin: Financing for development: Innovative mobilization of public and private finance (World Bank)