tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Flying Fourchette

27 Feb 2018

Featured trade policy process: Towards an EAC Regional Ports Development StrategyMEFMI posts an EOI

Ghanaian stakeholders agree on committee to address concerns on Africa’s AfCFTA (TWN-Africa)

Various stakeholders in Ghana have raised concerns with the quality of the processes, the content and the speed of negotiations of proposed Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area and agreed on a seven-member ad hoc committee, to contribute to improving the process defects as well as the content in relation to addressing Ghana’s developmental challenges. The committee comprises the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Trades Union Congress, Integrated Social Development Centre, Centre for Regional Integration in Africa, Private Enterprise Foundation (the umbrella body of private sector players in Ghana), TWN-Africa and the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists, Ghana. The national consultative seminar, jointly organised by TWN-Africa and The Ministry of Trade and Industry, took place on 22 February in Accra.

Commenting on the process, Mr Ken Quartey, former chairperson of the Ghana National Poultry Farmers Associations, said ‘the timing and constraining nature of the schedule of the negotiations would not allow quality and proper consultation at the national level’. Professor S.K.B Asante of the Centre for Regional Integration in Africa, making comments on the AfCFTA and Africa’s integration, underscored the need for capacity building of stakeholders on regional integration issues. He also underscored the imperatives of addressing Africa’s productive capacity deficit and the building of trade infrastructure, without which the AfCFTA would not be transformational.

EALA oversight visit: Bribery, red tape still dog trade on Central Corridor (New Times)

Long distance truck drivers have appealed to the East African Legislative Assembly to help advocate for total removal of corrupt officials as well as unnecessary bureaucratic tendencies by officials along the principal Central Corridor route, especially in Tanzania and Burundi. The truck drivers made their concerns known while interacting with members of the regional Assembly who were recently conducting an on-spot assessment of EAC organs, institutions and facilities on the Central Corridor, from February 12 to 23. But one of the most revealing moments was on their arrival at the OSBP at the Kobero-Kabanga border between Tanzania and Burundi where they held a meeting with truck drivers. Mussa Mabati, the head of the Burundian truck drivers association, urged his colleagues to speak their minds out, openly.

African Parliament to discuss curbing illicit firearm trade (Xinhua)

The Pan-African Parliament will this week host a regional seminar with the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Johannesburg to curb the illicit trade in firearms in Africa. The seminar (2-3 March) is meant to increase parliamentary engagement, understanding and ownership of regional and international arms control instruments. PAP President, Roger Nkodo Dang said there is a need for the continent to fight the illicit trade in firearms in the continent. Many African countries have not ratified the Malabo Protocol which will give PAP legislative powers. “Without full legislative powers, it will be challenging to effectively harmonize and coordinate national and regional efforts and legislations for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020,” he said.

South Africa’s cultural goods exports growing faster than imports (SACO)

A new report which set out to examine the growth and structure of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries trade between 2007 and 2016 has been released by cultural think tank, the South African Cultural Observatory. “In South Africa, cultural goods exports accounted for 0.46% of the country’s total commodity exports in 2016, while cultural goods imports accounted for 0.66% of total commodity imports,” said Prof Jen Snowball, SACO Chief Research Strategist, and co-author of the report with Rhodes University trade expert, Nicolette Cattaneo. Despite a significant slowdown in South Africa’s total cultural goods trade in 2015, in line with slower growth in the economy more broadly, there was evidence of a comfortable recovery in 2016, the report notes. “Cultural goods exports grew faster than cultural goods imports for much of the post-crisis period, reducing the country’s trade imbalance in cultural goods markedly. The Visual Arts and Crafts domain was a significant driver of this trend,” Cattaneo and Snowball said. Extract (pdf):

A number of recommendations follow from these findings, as well as areas for further research. (i) An important priority is the improvement of data collection for CCI trade in both goods and services spheres. This requires coordination between industry groupings, the dti, DAC, the Small Business Development Ministry, SARS and the SARB. Since cultural services trade is likely to grow in relative importance under digitisation, better services trade data for the CCI sector at an appropriate level of disaggregation is particularly important. (ii) Raise the profile of the CCI sector in trade negotiations within Africa and elsewhere; consult industry groupings to explore what the CCI sector wants out of international trade and cooperation agreements.

Somalia: 2017 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

Addressing Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulatory issues is critical to supporting remittance flows and external financial linkages for Somalia. Remittances make up nearly 40% of household income, and the closure of some corresponding accounts has increased costs of transactions over the past several years (see Figure). Overall, however, costs remain contained and inflows averaged over $1.3bn per year during 2015-2017. The authorities have made progress on AML/CFT regulations and supervision over the past few years. Despite progress that has been achieved, important gaps remain, which the authorities are committed to addressing. [Figure 1: Ample remittances and grants finance a large trade deficit (2014-2017)]

Nigeria: Gross Domestic Product Report – Q4 and Full Year 2017 (NBS)

The nation’s GDP grew in Q4 2017 by 1.92% (year-on-year) in real terms, maintaining its positive growth since the emergence of the economy from recession in Q2 2017. This growth is compared to a contraction of –1.73% recorded in Q4 2016 and a growth of 1.40% recorded in Q 2017. Quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was 4.29%. The year 2017 recorded a real annual growth rate of 0.83% higher by 2.42% than –1.58% recorded in 2016.

Nigeria’s National Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council: a review (The Cable)

The Trade and Markets sub-committee has begun discussions with the Digital Bridge Institute on partnering with the private sector to develop and operate a pilot ICT Cluster at the Digital Bridge Institute in Oshodi. The Trade and Markets committee has also put in place, a mechanism to address key sectoral issues to improve private sector involvement in the agro-allied, cotton, garment and textile, and heavy metal sectors. In the agro-allied sector, the committee is leveraging the Special Economic Zone in Lekki to facilitate investment in agro-allied processing such as cassava, oil palm, etc. In the CTG and heavy metal sector, the sub-committee is working with Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment to address policy issues in the value chain. [NASS, Executive to review international trade treaties – Omishore]

Namibia to review unified African air transport market (The Namibian)

Government will next month host a workshop to review the Single African Air Transport Marketing agreement, which the country has not yet signed. Namibia is one of the AU member states which has not yet signed the commitment, despite showing interest in having a unified African air transport market. [Cape Town airport enjoys surge in travellers; Ethiopian Airlines set to increase flights to Madagascar]

Zambia urges mines to start moving 30% of cargo by rail (Reuters)

Mining companies in Zambia, Africa’s No. 2 copper producer, should immediately start transporting 30% of their cargo by rail despite their concerns about inadequate capacity, the government said on Tuesday. Zambia in January introduced a new law compelling mining companies and other bulk cargo handlers to transport at least 30% of their freight by rail as it looks to bolster the sector. However, the Zambia Chamber of Mines said on Monday that Zambia was not ready to handle that amount of cargo and the potential impact on the mining industry had not been properly considered.

Namibia: Jooste targets SoE boards (The Namibian)

The public enterprises ministry has proposed a vast array of measures to bring sanity to the way state-owned enterprises are run, among them making boards accountable for losses. Minister Leon Jooste yesterday said the new plans for 2018 were aimed at compelling board members of state-owned enterprises and executives to take responsibility and ownership, and “to equally embrace the consequences for failures”. As such, Jooste told an annual stakeholders’ meeting in Windhoek that SOE boards would take the blame if cases of reckless trading or gross negligence are established. Board members would be held responsible collectively or individually, and there would be unpleasant consequences, he added. [Related: Govt spent N$12b on SoEs last year]

New book highlights how safe trade solutions help poorest countries (WTO)

The book, Driving safe trade solutions worldwide (pdf), highlights projects the STDF has implemented since 2004 to assist some of the poorest countries. These include projects aimed at helping women shrimp farmers in Bangladesh, ginger cooperatives in Nepal, cabbage producers in Senegal and flower sector workers in Uganda boost revenues and support their families. Other projects have helped farmers to use lower-risk pesticides on tropical crops across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia and access new markets. The 25 stories in the book show how STDF projects and project preparation grants work in practice in food safety, animal and plant health, and cross-cutting SPS areas, with significant results.

The impact of standards on developing country exports (pdf, K4D)

This ten-day rapid review provides an annotated bibliography of empirical literature on the relationship between standards and developing country trade. The review has two objectives: (i) to present the state of the evidence on sectors in which standards are net barriers to developing country exports and sectors in which standards are net catalysts to developing country exports; and (ii) to assess the strength of this evidence and identify gaps. The focus of the review is public, voluntary standards as specified in the Terms of Reference.

Today’s Quick Links:

Adesina urges America to support African agriculture as a business

Zambia will not import or allow any Genetically Modified foods

Kenya: Sugar imports drop 43% on huge stocks bought duty-free

Tanzania: Minister orders milk import reassessment

Ghana’s IMF bailout ends December 2018 says finance minister

Pathways to economic diversification in Central Africa: UNECA Issues Paper on operationalization of the Douala Consensus (pdf)

New growth models in a changing global landscape: Christine Lagarde speech

Nigeria: FG seeks Chinese bank’s support for infrastructure funding

UNCTAD: Keep an eye on China’s innovations in development finance


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