Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Dominic Chavez | World Bank

ABCA call for papers: Examining the challenges and opportunities of firms’ productivity in Africa

Consultancy opportunity: Develop a SADC trade development and trade promotion framework

SADC Members, cognizant of the strides made so far in attaining their regional economic integration goals through the establishment of the FTA, are promoting complementary steps to be undertaken with a view to taking advantage of new opportunities in trade, arising from greater liberalization as well as trade opportunities provided by growing regional and international markets. The SADC Secretariat and GIZ are therefore commissioning a study to develop a draft Trade Development and Trade Promotion framework, which will be the basis for a coordinated regional platform for practical intervention, concrete market development and trade and investment promotion tools and services, and assistance to the region’s economic operators and business organizations. Highlighted scope of work: Identifying needs and challenges (pdf); (i) Review existing regional platforms and trade promotion frameworks including institutional structures and linkages, capture lessons and experiences that Member States have had with such platforms. (ii) Map and analyse existing market development and trade and investment promotion tools and services at national and regional level including business linkages programmes, matchmaking buyers/sellers events and missions, market orientation tours, trade fairs and exhibitions, public private dialogue platforms and complaint mechanisms (e.g. Tripartite NTB Reporting Mechanism). Highlight major achievements, challenges and lessons learned. (iii) Review business needs particularly related to market (access) information (both for trade within the region as well as internationally e.g. SADC-EU EPA).

Identifying realistic export opportunities for Rwanda (IGC)

Using the DSM model for the analysis for Rwanda, indicates that more than 80% of potential value of product-market combinations are contained (in descending order of potential value) in Western Europe, Eastern Asia, Northern America, Southern Europe, South-Eastern Asia and Northern Europe – not within the direct geographic vicinity of Rwanda. As a relative share of export opportunities, Rwanda’s regional markets in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa offer a relatively small size of export value and a low number of Rwanda’s overall export product opportunities. This finding indicates that while regional integration offers some potential, the biggest opportunities for Rwanda lie in the international market where it should devote most of its attention. [The authors: Martin Cameron, Wilma Viviers, Victor Steenbergen] [PIGA trains stakeholders to explore Zambia’s trade potential]

PIDA Progress Report – 2017: Key lessons learned and recommendations

The following are lessons learned and recommendations from RECs, partners and project implementers on PIDA implementation (pdf): (i) As regional integration arrangements deepen and intra-African trade increases, there is need to focus on improved trans-continental highways in terms of road and rail networks; deepening of financial markets and increased cross-border financial flows including money transfer will require additional investments in ICT terrestrial links as well as national and regional data centres; while growing industrialization and agro-industries will require more reliable and affordable power supply across the energy mix. (ii) An integrated corridor development approach is crucial in developing PIDA projects, if the full development impact of the projects is to be realized. The project economics and viability can be enhanced by taking advantage of synergies between large trans-boundary projects. (iii) PIDA projects implementation is low in the Central African region causing the region to remain below the PIDA targets despite being one of the regions with high resources. The Northern region also has a low number of PIDA programs. Additionally, strengthening linkages between Central and the rest of Africa will help to accelerate Africa’s integration. To provide equity for all regions in terms of PIDA projects implementation, it is important to unlock further financing to support infrastructure development, enhance policy harmonization and increase/encourage governments to engage and commit more resources to implement development projects.

Assessing the economic benefits of transit trade in Tanzania (IGC)

Highlighted findings. (i) Transit volume: The volume of transit trade has grown enormously over time. For instance, the cost, insurance and freight value of transit trade increased five-fold in less than ten years; from under 6,000 billion Tshs ($3bn) in 2007 to about 29,000 Billion Tshs ($15bn) in 2015. Indeed, some analysts consider transit trade to be the third largest source of foreign exchange after gold and tourism receipts in Tanzania. (ii) GDP and welfare: There are large benefits to the economy (GDP growth, welfare etc.) when transit time/costs are reduced. As shown in Figure 2, the magnitude of impact to the economy increases with the magnitude of reduction in transit time. For example, by reducing transit time by three days, GDP increases by 2.5% compared with a GDP increase of 6.4% when transit time is reduced by nine days. The respective impact on welfare is 229.7 million compared with 572.3 million. Furthermore, the findings show that, reducing transit time has much bigger impacts on the economy compared to improving transport infrastructure. This is because the costs associated with transit delays (referred to as iceberg costs since they are vulnerable to time), have much larger effects on the transit operation. The findings imply that, the potential benefit of road infrastructure improvement cannot be realised if inefficiencies in customs and border management practices are not addressed. [The authors: Dr Josaphat Kweka, Solomon Michael] [Concern as Rwandans evade Dar port charges

Appraisal econometrics for proposed transport corridors: optimal placement, intervention design, and wider economic benefits (World Bank)

Transport corridors to stimulate regional integration and trade have become a popular development tool. But when they fail to generate the expected wider economic benefits, they can become wasteful or unequitable investments. This paper evaluates the relative strengths and weaknesses of econometric methods as applied today to appraise the proposed placement of transport corridors and the project design to distribute benefits more widely; the future potential of these methods; and an emerging synthesis in some recent studies. [The author: Martin Melecky]

Apapa Port not conceived to receive trucks, fuel tankers, says LASG (ThisDay)

The Lagos State Government has stated that the Apapa port was originally designed to receive imported goods and petroleum products and move them out by railway and pipelines, and not to receive articulated trucks and heavy duty vehicles that transport these products and goods to different parts of the country. The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan has also blamed the Apapa gridlock on depot owners who refused to construct holding bays in their depots for trucks that load petroleum products, contrary to the terms of their operating licenses. Speaking at the 2017 AGM of the Lagos Zonal Office of the DPR held at the weekend in Lagos, the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Wale Oluwo stated that all the stakeholders should go back to the original concept used in the design of the Apapa Port as a permanent solution to the gridlock.

Building trust for better movement across SADC: an update on the SADC Qualifications Framework (pdf, SAQA)

The TCCA understands that in order to maintain the momentum created over the last 15 months there is a need to consolidate, review and plan the work going forward. The TCCA is planning its next meeting to take place in South Africa from 21-25 May 2018. The purpose of the meeting is to: (i) Harmonise energies to synergise QA initiatives across Africa in a meeting with the Anglophone QA bodies of Africa. At this meeting, every effort will be made to strengthen countries' capacity to ratify the Addis Convention. [The authors: Coleen Jaftha, Joe Samuel]

Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa: speech at RPF conference on Africa’s Liberation and Transformation (New Times)

I venture to say that the pace of regional and ultimately Pan-African integration is slow for three reasons. The first is a leadership which is imbued with self-aggrandizement fuelled by excessive nationalism. The second is the failure to accept that cooperation demands a give and take readiness. The third is the influence that regional groupings elsewhere in the world, such as the European Union or Mercosur, [have] on our development perspective.

MC11 updates:

(i) Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Public and private sector leaders exchanged insights on implementing the WTO’s landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement to fully reap the benefits of swifter and less costly trade at the border. Speakers at the event, entitled “Trade Facilitation on Track”, highlighted the importance of local ownership of reform plans, multi-stakeholder cooperation, and capacity building to successfully implement the Agreement. Chris Folayan, co-founder and co-CEO of online platform MallforAfrica, noted the changing demands on trade facilitation and logistics (pdf) posed by online consumers who require fast deliveries and electronic payments. Speakers form the Netherlands, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda shared their experiences on the implementation of certain provisions of the Agreement. Highlighted presentations: Dr Chris Kiptoo (Principal Secretary, State Department for Trade, Kenya): Trade portal challenges and solutions (pdf); Katesh Dicksons (Director General of Customs, Uganda): Establishment and publication of average release times

(ii) 119 countries give political backing to role of women in trade and development. Though non-binding, the declaration (pdf) provides a framework for WTO members to adopt “gender-responsive” trade policies now that the link between promoting women’s participation in economic activity and improved economic performance has been proved. The declaration aligns WTO members with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably its Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The declaration says that both developed and developing countries acknowledge that “improving women’s access to opportunities and removing barriers to their participation in national and international economies contributes to sustainable economic development”.

(iii) Fisheries subsidies: deal or no deal? ‘Should there be no Fisheries Agreement at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference, we must find other platforms within the United Nations to continue the discussions on fisheries and ensure a solution is found by 2020,’ said UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi. Depending on how the final negotiations shape up, some of UNCTAD’s member states have proposed the implementation of a WTO draft decision on “standstill commitment”, which would ensure that the global fisheries subsidies situation does not further deteriorate.

(iv) Nigeria signs joint declaration on economic cooperation with EFTA. The federal government has signed a joint declaration on Economic Cooperation with the European Free Trade Association in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the 11th Ministerial Conference. Members of the EFTA are Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland.

Tanzania: JPM orders closure of poor performing banks (Daily News)

President John Magufuli has just ordered BOT to close all banks that are performing poorly and insisted there must be proper assessments of all financial institutions. The Head of State has also ordered Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango and Central Bank officials to stop the dollarization since more than one currency can’t be used in a country.

Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum: mid-season review (pdf, SADC)

The bulk of SADC is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for most of the period January to May 2018. However, the extreme western part of Angola, Namibia, south-western part of South Africa, extreme northwest of DRC and eastern Madagascar are more likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall for some of the seasons.

Today’s Quick Links:

South Africa's competition policy is evolving for the better

European Commission recommends draft negotiating directives for a modernised Partnership with countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

ECOWAS, World Bank reiterate commitment towards regional integration

IGAD hosts the coordination meeting of Eastern and Southern Africa regional organisations  

Morocco signs 26 automotive deals worth $1.45bn

Man vs. machine in predicting successful entrepreneurs: evidence from a business plan competition in Nigeria

IMF Africa country statements: The GambiaTanzaniaNamibiaSomalia 

Christine Lagarde: How Benin can harness the power of economic diversification


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