tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie | World Bank

18 Jan 2018

AU Summit (22-29 January): Winning the fight against corruption – a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation

Profiled AU summit commentaries, news reports: Paul Kagame: Unleashing Africa’s inner strengths – institutions, policies, and champions, The task at hand as Kagame takes over African Union Chair, Deutsche Welle: Will the African Union achieve better efficiency?. Profiled summit backgrounders: ISS, International Crisis Group

10th AU Gender Pre-Summit calls on African women to join in the fight against corruption: various downloads

US-Africa trade policy updates:

(i) Africa Trade Advisory Committee seeks new members. The Office of the US Trade Representative is accepting through Feb. 2 nominations for membership on its Trade Advisory Committee on Africa for the four-year charter term beginning in March. The TACA provides general policy advice and guidance on trade policy and development matters that have a significant impact on the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, including negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, the impact of the implementation of trade agreements, matters concerning the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and other matters arising in connection with the development, implementation, and administration of U.S. trade policy.

(ii) Corporate Council on Africa: statement by Florizelle Liser. As an organization that has been promoting US-Africa trade, investment, and business engagement for more than twenty years, the Corporate Council on Africa joins many others in repudiating the negative comments allegedly made by President Trump about African and other nations and the value of African immigrants to the United States. Africa is a vibrant continent of 54 nations that is important to the U.S. economically, politically, socially, and strategically.

(iii) House of Representatives votes to strengthen US-Africa trade. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA): Then I walked into an artisan shop in Addis Ababa, run by a remarkable woman, Sara Abera. I learned that she, in fact, had benefitted from technical assistance through the US-East Africa trade hub and was now exporting to the US through AGOA. But I also learned that she was an exception – not the rule. Other than Sara, very few business leaders and entrepreneurs seemed to have knowledge of or access to AGOA. To fix this, the bill before us today would make information about AGOA available on an easily accessible public website. This bill also urges US embassies in eligible countries to more consistently promote AGOA and trade hubs, and seeks to bring greater transparency to commitments made at annual AGOA forums. This bill also strengthens the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is already one of our most effective tools for incentivizing policy reform and unlocking market-based growth in developing countries. It increases MCC’s flexibility to promote regional trade, collaboration and economic integration by allowing up to two simultaneous compacts with an eligible country. And it also improves transparency and accountability by streamlining and strengthening Congressional oversight. [Statement by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif), The AGOA and MCA Modernisation Act: background, text]

Namibia: Attack on chicken import limits revived (The Namibian)

South African poultry producers will get another opportunity to mount a legal challenge against the chicken import restriction that was introduced in Namibia as an infant industry protection measure almost five years ago. This is the upshot of an appeal judgement that was delivered in the Supreme Court in Windhoek yesterday. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of an appeal that the South African Poultry Association and five individual poultry producers from South Africa lodged against a July 2016 High Court judgement in which judge Shafimana Ueitele dismissed their bid to have the chicken import restriction set aside. The issues raised in the matter – including the extent to which international trade treaties form part of the domestic law of Namibia and can be enforced by the country’s courts – were of considerable public importance, and it was in the public interest that they had to be ventilated and decided, judge Smuts remarked.

Chris Kiptoo: Why a trade remedies agency could save Kenyan industries (Business Daily)

The establishment of the trade remedies agency is technical and expensive since it requires budgetary resources and experts in international trade law, research and investigations and cost accounting skills. Many WTO’s developing country members do not have a WTO-compliant trade remedies legal and institutional framework. During a recent African Union Commission survey on trade remedies institutions in Africa for purposes of advancing the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations, it was established that only Egypt and South Africa had WTO-compliant trade remedies laws and agencies. Kenya is the third such country in Africa. Trade remedies can contribute to the achievement of Africa’s industrialisation goals and need to be positively considered and implemented creatively to ensure the continent addresses its supply side constraints and produces the goods that it requires for countries to trade with each other. Since manufacturing in Kenya has been identified as one of the primary areas of focus by the government, it will be worthwhile to consider that having a legal and institutional framework for the application of trade remedies in Kenya will significantly contribute to this national objective. [Dr Kiptoo is Principal Secretary, State Department of Trade, Kenya] [The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has just posted its Statistical Abstract 2017 publication: Section 7 posts trade data]

EALA’s plenary starts in Kampala next week

The Assembly which is to be presided by the Speaker, Rt. Hon Ngoga K. Martin, shall during the three-week period further discuss, inter alia, the following legislative business: The object of the EAC Monetary Institute Bill, 2017, is to provide for the establishment of the East African Monetary Institute as an institution of the Community responsible for preparatory work for the EAC Monetary Union. In accordance with Article 23 of the Protocol on the EAC Monetary Union, the Bill is expected to provide for the functions, governance and funding for the Institute as well as other related matters. [Related: East African Business Council launches EABC Business Excellence Awards, EAC Gazette: 3 January 2018 (pdf)]

How new Pan-Africanist business men, women are driving Africa’s economic transformation – Osinbajo (World Stage)

Africa’s impressive economic transformation is currently being driven by ambitious businessmen and women who are stepping beyond national borders and going global says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the inaugural Africa Rising lecture of the Harvard University Business School on Tuesday evening. “Africa Rising is as much about improving standards of governance as it is about an increasingly confident youth and civil society. It is also about businessmen and women who are stepping beyond national borders and going global.” The Vice President noted that “it appears the political pan-Africanist of old have given way in terms of prominence to the business pan- Africanists the likes of Aliko Dangote, Issad Reb Rab (Cevital), Mike Adenuga, Kim Bello-Osagie, the Sawiris (owners of Orascom from Egypt), and mining magnate Patrice Motsepe amongst others.”

Tanzania: December 2017 Economic Review (pdf, BoT)

During the year ending November 2017, current account surplus declined to $26.7m, from $94.5m in the year to November 2016, due to an increase in import of goods and services coupled with a decrease in goods export. Goods and services account deteriorated to a deficit of %8.6m from a surplus of $69.7m, owing to an increase in goods imports coupled with a decline in exports (see Table 6.2). During the year ending November 2017, earnings from export of goods and services decreased to $209.1m from $217.4m in the corresponding period in 2016. Exports of all goods declined, save for fish and fish products. The value of imports (f.o.b) – goods and services – increased to $217.6m in the year ending November 2017 from $147.7m in the year to November 2016. All categories of goods import increased, with consumer goods recording the highest growth. Specifically, the value of consumer goods imports rose by almost three times mainly due to increase in imports of food and foodstuff, particularly rice, sugar and wheat flour (see Table 6.5). [Tourism earnings up by 4.2%]

Ethiopia: IMF Executive Board concludes 2017 Article IV Consultation

Growth is expected to stay high in 2017/18, at 8.5%, supported by continued recovery from droughts and export expansion as new manufacturing facilities and infrastructure come online – offsetting the potentially dampening impact of restrictive macroeconomic policies. Over the medium term, growth is expected to remain around 8%, supported by sustained expansion in exports and investment.

Handbook on Duty-Free and Quota-Free Market Access and Rules of Origin for Least Developed Countries (UNCTAD)

Part I of the handbook covers trade preferences granted by Canada, the European Community, Japan and the United States of America. Part II of the handbook reviews the progress made to implement the Hong Kong (China) Ministerial Decision on the Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) by other Developed countries and Developing countries in the light of past initiatives and ongoing negotiations in the context of the Doha round of trade negotiations. Appendix I: China, Republic of Korea, Norway. Appendix II: Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey

National trade facilitation committees: beyond compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement? (UNCTAD)

This study (pdf) supplements UNCTAD’s recent research work on trade facilitation, including National Trade Facilitation Bodies in the World, published in 2015, The New Frontier of Competitiveness in Developing Countries: Implementing Trade Facilitation, published in 2013, Trade Facilitation in Regional Trade Agreements, published in 2011, and several technical notes issued since 2007, particularly the note on multiagency working groups on trade facilitation, issued in 2011. The value added by this study is in the provision of an analysis of existing National Trade Facilitation Committees in the world, according to Article 23.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. It provides clarity on how countries are interpreting and applying this Article as to date. As reflected in table 1 of the countries surveyed, 53% (31 countries) are African NTFCs, 17% are American (10 countries), 20% (12 countries) Asian, 7% (4 countries) European and 3% (2 countries) are from Oceania. The level of development of countries is also key to understand the functions and institutional framework of a National Trade Facilitation Committee. Of the trade facilitation bodies analyzed, 66% (39 countries) were in developing countries and 29% (17 countries) in least developed countries. Developed countries are underrepresented in the sample with only 5% (3 countries).

No roads? No problem: The leapfrogging drones of Rwanda (IMF)

What’s the best solution to a lack of infrastructure? Find a solution that doesn’t require infrastructure. That’s what Zipline has done in Rwanda – a start-up that deploys drones to make emergency medical deliveries to remote hospitals and clinics. In this podcast, Rinaudo and Chief Revenue officer Matthew Steckman say Rwanda offered an opportunity to partner with a government that had a specific vision for how automated and instant delivery could have a meaningful impact.

Transport corridors and their wider economic benefits: a critical review of the literature (World Bank)

This paper provides a rigorous review of the empirical literature estimating the impacts of large transport investments. In doing so, it aims to improve policy makers’ understanding of the multiple, and potentially varied, impacts of transport corridor investments. This includes enhancing understanding of the potential trade-offs that the investments can generate both between different development outcomes and between different groups of economic actors. The review also informs policy thinking about the types of complementary policies and institutions that may be needed for wider economic benefits (WEBs) of corridors to materialize.

Today’s Quick Links:

Namibia’s Ms Bience Gawanas has been appointed as the new UN Special Advisor on Africa

Chair of G77 and China in Geneva passes from Tanzania to Pakistan

South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Trade Conditions Survey, December 2017 (pdf)

OECD/DAC: Detailed final 2016 aid figures released

Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics: Inequality snapshot (2004, 2013, 2016)


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This post has been sourced on behalf of tralac and disseminated to enhance trade policy knowledge and debate. It is distributed to recipients across Africa and internationally, serving in the AU, RECs, national government trade departments and research and development agencies.

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