Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Gerardo Pesantez | World Bank

Featured tweet, @AERCAFRICA: How can we best accelerate regional integration in Africa? Share your ideas as we build up to the AERC Senior Policy Seminar XX (pdf) in Entebbe, Uganda on 12-13 March.

Featured interactive tool, from ACET: In the first Who Said What statement, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz challenges the notion that Africa’s development can follow Asia’s growth model of manufacturing export-led growth.

EAC budgets Shs282 trillion for infrastructure projects (Daily Monitor)

The EAC needs $78bn (about Shs282 trillion) in the next 10 years to fund more than 200 infrastructure projects in the five-member states. Under the projects, the key ones including the Standard Gauge Railway, hydropower, oil and gas projects across the region, are to cost $62.2bn (about Shs224 trillion). Leaders from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, who met yesterday in Kampala, said the revenue will be internally and externally raised through borrowing and also Public Private Partnership. However, the leaders disagreed on which projects the PPP model should be used for.

East African countries to improve cross border health care (The Independent)

The EAC heads of state have resolved to expand access to specialized health care and cross border health services in the region to preserve the region’s human capital base. The leaders also agreed to strengthen the network of medical reference laboratories and the regional rapid response mechanism to protect the region from health security threats including pandemics, bio-terrorism and common agents. This, they said, would ensure sustainable socioeconomic development. In a joint communiqué (see below), the leaders stressed the importance of strengthening health systems and preparedness to address both current and emerging challenges such as non-communicable disease like cancer and communicable diseases like HIV/ AIDS, malaria which pose significant challenges to regional development. This during the first day of the two-day retreat for East African Community heads of state at Commonwealth resort Munyonyo.

AU, REC communiqués:

(i) Joint EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development. On infrastructure: considered and approved 17 flagship projects for championing at the heads of state level; on infrastructure: (i) mainstream innovative financing options including leveraging private sector financing, to supplement available partner state budgetary allocations for implementation of infrastructure projects; (ii) formalize regular and structured engagement coordinated by the secretariat between the partner states, development partners and investors to enhance the rollout of the heads of state priority infrastructure and energy projects;

(ii) Fifth Meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme. After deliberating on the agenda items, the Presidential Task Force: (i) reaffirmed their political will to meet the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme deadline by 2020; (ii) reaffirmed Member States commitment to ratify and implement all relevant ECOWAS protocols and conventions; (iii) reaffirmed the gradual approach where Member States which meet the convergence criteria can start the monetary union while the other countries can join later; (iv) welcomed the progress made by the Member States and encouraged them to continue the efforts toward meeting the convergence criteria and strengthening the multilateral surveillance mechanism; (v) adopted the revised roadmap for accelerating of the creation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020; (vi) instructed all the stakeholders to implement the revised roadmap; (vii) reaffirmed their commitment to fund the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme by Member States and their Central Banks; (viii) invites the Committee of Governors and Convergence Council to hold quarterly meetings on the progress of implementation of planned activities and to regularly report at their biannual sessions.

(iii) Visit of the Chairperson of the AUC to Zimbabwe. The discussions with the Zimbabwean authorities also covered the institutional reform of the African Union. The Chairperson underlined the urgency of ensuring financial self-reliance through the implementation, by all Member States, of the 0.2% levy on eligible imports. President Mnangagwa expressed his country’s full support to the reform process. Discussions also covered how to boost tourism on the continent, as a driver for socio-economic development, growth and integration. Zimbabwe is currently chairing the sub-Committee on Tourism of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism. The Commission is planning a number of activities in this respect, including a continental Conference on Infrastructure for Tourism Development in Africa.

Turkey eyes more business with West African trade bloc (Anadolu Agency)

Turkish economy minister suggested Thursday a free trade agreement will be a key step to boost business ties between Ankara and the Economic Community of West African States. “Trade volume with the bloc increased 10 fold to over $2bn in the last decade from $200m,” Nihat Zeybekci told an opening ceremony of a business and economic forum meeting between Turkey and ECOWAS in Istanbul. “Our aim is to bring it up to $bn in the short term and to $10bn in the long term on a win-win approach. The only way to achieve this is a free trade agreement between Turkey and ECOWAS,” he said. Also speaking at the ceremony, Kalilou Traore, the bloc’s commissioner for industry and private sector, said cooperation with Turkey played an important role for the development of the region.

Buy Kenya, Build Kenya: preserving EAC regional integration (pdf, CUTS Geneva)

This briefing paper (pdf) aims to inform the finalization of the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya strategy by proposing provisions to ensure regional integration agenda is not lost in strategies aimed at promoting development of local industries. Regional integration is one of the tools that Kenya can leverage to ensure development of the country. However, national strategies such as Buy Kenya, Build Kenya offering prospects for developing local industries may come as a perceived risk to EAC regional integration. Promoting consumption of goods and services from EAC, developing local content for EAC goods and services and enhancing market for EAC products will ensure the regional agenda is kept alive. [Related analysis: How can trade help agro-processing development in East Africa?, pdf]

Botswana: Tourist spend hits P14.5bn mark (Mmegi)

International and domestic tourists spent a total of P14.5 billion in the country in 2016, or one and half times more than the amount in 2009, which was the last time a comprehensive survey was conducted. The results are contained in the 2016 Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) launched in Gaborone earlier this morning. The TSA, the third conducted in Botswana starting with a pilot in 2006, is a research project designed to accurately gauge the contribution of tourism to the national economy. According to data shared during the launch, spending by tourists in 2016 was 150% higher than the 2009 TSA, driven by higher volumes of tourists, longer stays and greater spending. The latest TSA shows that tourism directly contributed 4.9% to the economy in 2016, up from 3.7% in 2009. Indirectly, the sector’s contribution in 2016 was estimated at 7.6%. [Related: Travel and tourism economic impact 2017 - Botswana (pdf), WAVES Botswana Country Report 2016 (pdf)]

Latest edition of WCO News is posted (WCO)

The WCO has published the 85th edition of WCO News (pdf), the Organization’s flagship magazine aimed at the Customs community, which provides a selection of informative articles that touch the international Customs and trade landscape. Profiled articles:

Revisiting the “Trading Across Borders” category of the World Bank’s Doing Business index. In the 2017 edition of the index, Brazil ranked 149th in the “Trading Across Borders” category among the 190 countries surveyed. Despite efforts to modernize its foreign trade, the country has not managed to improve its ranking over the last few years. Was the world moving faster than Brazil or was the information used on Brazil “noisy”? To answer that question, Procomex took up the challenge, in 2016, to replicate the World Bank survey when it comes to Brazil’s foreign trade, and then investigate whether the Bank was measuring indicators correctly and if those responding to the questionnaire were the best positioned to do so, i.e., whether they had the practical knowledge to provide the correct answers.

Customs systems interconnectivity: the challenges and opportunities for Customs administrations in the SACU region. As a result of these challenges, the region now realizes the need for a “single Customs legislation” to govern SACU as a whole. The current arrangement, where each Member State has its own legislation, is yielding minimal benefits toward efficient trade facilitation and regional integration. Thus, it is high time that SACU Member States’ policy makers urgently consider developing a single Customs legislation, which will bring tangible trade facilitation benefits to traders, while promoting further regional integration.

Ghana, Burkina Faso make headway towards implementing railway project (GhanaWeb)

Ghana and Burkina Faso have agreed to engage the services of a transaction advisor to assist in the implementation of the Railway Interconnectivity Project. Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railways Development, signed the communique on behalf of Ghana, while Mr Vincent Dabilgou, the Minister of Transport, Urban Mobility and Road Safety, initialed on behalf of Burkina Faso. The communique said the Transaction Advisor would assist the Governments of the two countries to review and undertake various studies, including survey works and procurement processes in line with applicable laws of the two countries. It said the terms of reference for the Transaction Advisory services was drafted by the Ghanaian side and presented to the Burkinabe team at the meeting, which the latter agreed to in principle. It said the Advisor would engage a private sector investor to develop a railway interconnectivity project between the Port of Tema and Ouagadougou on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis.

Djibouti ends Dubai’s DP World contract to run container terminal (Reuters)

Djibouti has ended a contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run its Doraleh Container Terminal, the president’s office said on Thursday. “The Republic of Djibouti has decided to proceed with the unilateral termination with immediate effect of the concession contract awarded to DP World,” the office of President Ismail Omar Guelleh said in a statement. Last February, the London Court of International Arbitration cleared DP World of all charges of misconduct over a concession to operate the terminal, Dubai’s government said at the time. In 2014, the government of Djibouti lodged claims accusing DP World, majority-owned by the Dubai government, of illegal payments to secure a 50-year concession for the Doraleh Container Terminal, the Dubai government said. The president’s office said the contract was ended after the failure to resolve a long-running dispute between the two parties that started in 2012.

President Sisi says dream of turning Egypt into regional energy hub is becoming reality (Ahram)

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah said on Tuesday that the dream to turn Egypt into a regional energy hub is becoming a reality, referring to a number of gas deals recently signed in the country. The president made the comments while opening a number of investor service centres across the country. El-Sisi commented on the controversial $15bn gas deal brokered between two Israeli companies and private Egyptian company Dolphinus, saying that Egypt has “nothing to hide about this deal.” “Egypt is now one of the few countries in the Mediterranean region that owns facilities fully capable of providing all oil-related services,” El-Sisi said, adding that Egypt will use these facilities to liquefy the imported gas for later export or for use in industry.

IATA releases 2017 Airline Safety Performance report: SSA update (IATA)

Sub-Saharan Africa continued to make strong progress on safety. Airlines in the region had zero jet hull losses and zero fatal accidents involving jets or turboprops for a second consecutive year. Both the turboprop hull loss rate and the all accident rates declined against the average of the previous five years. However, the turboprop hull loss rate increased compared to 2016 (5.70 vs. 1.52). In turn, this largely was responsible for causing an increase in the all accident rate compared to 2016 (6.87 vs. 2.43). In parallel, African governments must accelerate the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS). As of year-end 2017, only 25 African countries had at least 60% SARPS implementation,” said de Juniac.

Today’s Quick Links:

Zimbabwe: 2018 Economic Outlook Symposium presentations

Uganda: Govt to construct border post warehouses

Nigeria’s Council of State tells Buhari to pump $1bn in agriculture

Nigeria: FG promises $100bn to boost oil, gas investment

Kenya losing billions over poor quality leather, Kebs says

Kenya Revenue Authority loses Sh2.5bn tax claim from sugar importing firm

How tax collaboration could change global development: a Devex interview with Jan Walliser (World Bank’s vice president for equitable growth, finance, and institutions)


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