Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Discott | Wikimedia Commons

PIDA Week 2017 (held on 10-14 December 2017, Swakopmund): outcomes

Extract from the conference proceedings: Good practice for PIDA Corridor Implementation (pdf). Several recommendations and conclusions emerged from the rich discussions, for the proposed corridor guide, namely that it is important to: (i) Put more effort into setting up legal frameworks and instruments for corridor management, as MOUs are not really legal instruments that reassure parties, including the private sector; (ii) Take a commercial approach to corridor development while factoring in socio-economic development of the communities along the corridors. This should include rigorous analysis of the assets to be realised from corridor development, what benefits these assets would generate (e.g. how the corridors would support trade) and some form of performance indicators (KPIs); (iii) Develop data-driven decision-making models to prioritizing project selection and better inform corridor development; (iv) Ensure that corridor development includes funding plans that take into account analysis of funding models suitable for the different projects along the corridor (look into innovative funding mechanisms including the 5% agenda, recommendations in NEPAD-ECA domestic resource mobilisation report, establishment of listed SPVs as in China); (v) Designate champions to promote corridor projects, ensure that political commitments translate into tangible action and ensure that there is absolute commitment at all levels. [Final communique]

Egypt to take part in African trade ministers’ preparatory meeting in Rwanda (Egypt Today)

Minister of Industry and Trade, Tarek Kabil, said yesterday Egypt will take part in next week’s preparatory meeting of the African trade ministers in the Rwandan capital Kigali for talks on the establishment of an African free trade area. The minister’s statements were made after his meeting with Nigerian Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Aisha Abubakar, currently visiting Cairo, for talks on means of enhancing trade exchange and joint investments between the two countries in the coming period.

Kaushik Basu: The ABCs of Doing Business (Project Syndicate)

Every year when the World Bank publishes its report on the “ease of doing business” in 190 economies, countries that fall in the ranking are quick to cry foul or complain about methodological errors. But governments make a much bigger mistake when they view the Doing Business index as a measure of overall wellbeing.

WCO visits World Bank for discussions on “Doing Business”

As regards “Doing Business” in particular, the discussions addressed the quality and sources of data; the methodology, including how best to convey information on process changes; the measurement of the use of means of transport (land, sea and air); the treatment of commodities (agricultural and industrial); and the impact of intra-Member trade by Customs Unions. It was agreed to continue cooperating on and further discussing these matters and other areas. The WCO Secretariat and the World Bank’s “Doing Business” Unit will inform WCO Members, at a suitable opportunity, about the “Doing Business” process with a view to Customs taking a more active role in the process to ensure that sufficient account is taken of Customs’ point of view. [Nigeria: Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State inaugurates Ease of Doing Business Council]

India Responsible Business Index 2018: analysing inclusive policies, disclosures and mechanisms of Top 100 companies (pdf). Livemint: Social inclusion is not a priority for Indian businesses

Shoprite Holdings ramps up Africa expansion with Kenya entry

Non-RSA supermarkets, spread across 14 countries, had a challenging six months. Supermarket sales in Angola were down 9.5% in local currency (against prior year growth of 155.4%), reflecting last year’s exceptional performance; a drop in internal inflation of 17.3 percentage points across the Non-RSA operations and a more competitive landscape. Nigeria’s turnover growth in local currency was 9.3%, hampered by import restrictions and forex shortages in the country. Zambian operations, however, are starting to show positive growth, with sales up 4.5% in local currency. Expansion in Africa continues with a planned entry into Kenya before the end of 2018, where weakened competitor positions have opened a window of opportunity, to strengthen the Group’s presence in East Africa.

Namibia: 2017 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

Under current policies, staff estimates the fiscal deficit to narrow in FY17/18, but with SACU revenue declining, future deficits would remain large and public debt continue to rise. Despite higher revenue than projected by the authorities, staff expect rising wages and spending pressures from the previous year to bring the FY17/18 fiscal deficit to about 5% of GDP. While the projected deficit is lower than in the previous year (9.3% in FY16/17), the decline largely reflects temporarily higher SACU revenue and is not sustainable. Over the medium term, SACU revenues are expected to decline and, in the absence of additional actions, the fiscal deficit is projected to increase to around 9-10% of GDP. Against this background, public debt would continue rising and approach 70% of GDP by 2022, and government’s gross financing needs would average about 21% of GDP per year, creating financing pressures and possible funding risks. This fiscal outlook is subject to significant risks. The main risks arise from larger contingent liabilities as the government plans to boost public-private partnerships and extra-budgetary financing of large infrastructural projects (Box 1; Annex IV). [Note: Figure 3 - Persistent external vulnerabilities, pdf; IMF statement]

Inaugural COMESA Gender Statistics Bulletin is posted

COMESA has launched the inaugural Gender Statistics Bulletin which seeks to improve the availability of gender disaggregated data to Member States. COMESA Assistant Secretary General Dr. Kipyego Cheluget said the Bulletin was a fulfilment of the Council of Ministers’ decision in October 2016 at the COMESA Summit in Madagascar. Inaugural COMESA Gender Statistics Bulletin (pdf). The thematic areas covered in the report include: population and gender gaps; economic empowerment of women and youth; maternal, child and adolescent health, and HIV and AIDS, education, training, science and technology, human rights issues, leadership, politics and decision-making. Finally, the report highlights issues with data limitations and presents some recommendations for Member States and Secretariat.

Nigerian Annual Trade Report: launch speech by Dr Okechukwu E. Enelamah

The Trade Statistics Chapter is a first. The statistics shall be updated quarterly for careful monitoring, analysis and negotiating adjustments. But even now, there are key lessons that we are drawing. Nigeria must be more innovative, more enterprising and more aggressive in the use of trade, investment, technology and the abundant intellectual property of creative Nigerians to grow the economy, enhance welfare and diversify the Nigerian economy away from primary commodities. We must negotiate better than we have done so far, so that investors who seek market access in Nigeria, must link their investments to industrial activities to enable creation of regional and global value chains. We must be more creative in making trade and investment count for growth, diversification, modernization and job creation in the Nigerian economy. Going forward, access to Nigeria’s markets must no longer be for free. No free market access! Investors who seek market access in Nigeria to sell their goods and services, must invest and connect to our industrial and manufacturing activities.

Pakistan aims at $5bn annual trade with Africa in next five years (UrduPoint)

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerceand Industry in collaboration with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan/Ministry of Commerce organized a “Look Africa” Trade Forum that was aimed at exploring new avenues of promoting trade and exports with African countries. Ms Maria Kazi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce gave a detailed presentation on trade potential with Africa. She said Pakistan’s exports to Africa were confined to few products including rice, pharmaceuticals, cement, textiles, surgical and sports goods and urged that private sector should focus on exporting more products to Africa. About planned initiatives of the government for Africa, she said new commercial sections would be opened in Africa and Pakistan would offer PTAs/FTAs on bilateral basis and with African Trading Blocks to promote its trade and exports. She said local Trade Development Officers in African countries would be appointed in African countries where resident missions were not stationed. She said special incentives would be provided to Pakistani companies through new strategic trade policy framework for participating in trade fairs in Africa. [Thailand’s engagement with Africa]

Fifth German-African Economic Forum: selected updates

(i) Build value-added economies - President calls on African countries. The continent’s second priority, he said, should be to increase trade and investment co-operation, and not aid, as it was one of the ways healthy economic relations could be developed between Africa and Germany and, indeed, with the rest of the world. “With Africa’s population set to reach some two billion people in 20 years’ time, there are immense opportunities to bring prosperity to Africa, and to Germany too, with hard work, enterprise and creativity. I urge German organisations and companies present to take advantage of this and enhance their trade relations with Africa,” the President said. “The time to deepen German-African trade and investment is now. We must generate investments in agro-industry, the energy and power sectors and infrastructural development of Africa, capable of producing positive outcomes for the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, of Germany and Africa,” he added.

(ii) Ghana must review investment laws: Germany’s economic affairs and energy minister. Delivering one of two keynote addresses at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation’s German-Ghana Business Forum in Berlin, the Minister called on President Akufo Addo and his government to take a second look at the investment laws of Ghana if the new wave of German-Ghanaian Economic Relations is to see the full benefits of the business potential it presents. Zypries who has headed the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy since 27 January 2017said Ghana’s economic performance the last one year is quite impressive. President Akufo-Addo for his part indicated that he has taken notice of the suggestion by the Minister for a review of Ghana’s investment laws. The lawful processes the President assured, will be initiated for purposes of considering the investment laws of the country. Additionally, he told the gathering that his Government has taken specific measures which will lead the country and its economy into the new digital age.

(iii) Germany alone cannot afford a new “Marshall Plan” for development in Africa: Chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking at a joint news conference with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo in Berlin, Merkel called for other European partners to take more responsibility. “A Marshall Plan for Africa cannot be realised by Germany alone, it should be a European project,” she said. Merkel said Germany would host a meeting of the G20 and African countries this autumn to evaluate progress of the Compact with Africa program. [Note: The next German-African Business Summit will take place in Accra, 11-13 February 2019]

IGAD urges Uganda to prepare for borderless region (New Vision)

According to Lucy Daxbacher, a migration expert at IGAD, there are vast opportunities that await Uganda if member states agree to a borderless region. She says given Uganda’s agricultural potential and the high demand for food within member states, the country is bound benefit exponentially from food exports. The IGAD team fast-tracking the free movement of persons consultations have already visited Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. They are yet to visit Djibouti and Ethiopia. According to Daxbacher, the countries they visited have embraced the idea. However, she is quick to add that some member states want the eventual protocol to be tailor-made to suit the circumstances of member countries. The team visited Kenya last week and the response from the Kenyan team was very positive, according Daxbacher. The workshop also developed a roadmap for the negotiation and adoption of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in the IGAD Region.

International migration from sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically since 2010 (Pew Research Group)

The total number of emigrants worldwide from all sub-Saharan African countries combined grew by 31% between 2010 and 2017, outpacing the rate of increase from both the Asia-Pacific (15%) and Latin America-Caribbean (9%) regions. Only the Middle East-North Africa region saw a larger increase (39%) of people living outside of their birth country during the same span, driven largely by people fleeing conflict in Syria. Some 25 million sub-Saharan migrants lived outside their countries of birth in 2017. The number of international migrants from sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2017 has grown at a higher rate (31%) than in the 2000s (25%) and the 1990s (1%). [Aloysio Nunes Ferreira: A global refugee strategy]

Today’s Quick Links:

USTR: Trump Administration sends Annual Trade Agenda Report to Congress

Kenya-Tanzania trade row talks set to begin Monday

Mauritius, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa sign MoU for development projects in priority sectors

Burkina Faso Customs Administration prepares for its first Time Release Study

Andrew Sheng, Xiao Geng: Why there is no “Beijing Consensus”


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