Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Featured tweet, @Trade_Kenya: PS Trade Dr Kiptoo this morning conducted an induction seminar for 11 newly appointed ambassadors on foreign policy, negotiations and economic diplomacy

Underway, in Kampala: AERC’s Senior Policy Seminar on the theme Regional Integration in Africa. For tweeted updates: @AERCAFRICA, #AfricaIntegration

Starting tomorrow, in Nairobi: EAC experts meeting on trade in services

Diarise: The inaugural AfCFTA Business Summit (20 March, Kigali) on the theme leveraging the power of business to drive Africa’s integration. The draft abridged programme (pdf)

African trade ministers adopt legal instruments to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (UNECA)

Strong interest has been expressed by some member states to host the AfCFTA Secretariat that will oversee the implementation of the agreements. Commenting on the outcome of the AMOT meeting, David Luke, coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre who led ECA’s delegation said: “The sceptics have been proved wrong. What has been achieved in the conclusion of the first phase of the AfCFTA negotiations is remarkable. A continent-wide market is being opened for trade and investment. This is a massive game-changer. There will be far-reaching impacts on the business environment, the development and consolidation of supply chains, and the potential to lift millions out of poverty. The AfCFTA will further ensure policy coherence in Africa’s trade relations with international partners”.

The second phase of the AfCFTA negotiations, which will focus on investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights, is slated to commence later this year.

Fake processed food is becoming an epidemic in African urban life (Quartz)

A number of issues are driving the rise of food fraud in Africa. First, the increasing complexity of food systems, ingredients with long supply chains and varying levels of scrutiny and standards, makes it very difficult to trace the origins of food products. Second, local manufacturers face increased competition from cheaper imports, which often have lower standards for African destinations, and so they may use inferior or even unregulated ingredients in their products to reduce their production costs. Third, weak regulatory standards, systems and tracking mechanisms create loop holes in which counterfeiters can thrive.

What needs to be done: African governments must set high regulatory standards for food content and labeling, track and prevent counterfeit imported and local produced food. Like the global war waged against counterfeit drugs, actions against food fraudsters must be bold, swift and unrelenting. The African Union should establish a Food Fraud Network, similar to that of the European Union, to detect cross-border fraud, and train food inspectors, police, customs officers and others. The African Regional Economic Communities must sign formal trade agreements with their counterparts in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Americas focused on food safety and food fraud standards. [The author, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, is Director of AACE Food Processing & Distribution Ltd, Founder of LEAP Africa and a 2018 Aspen Institute New Voices fellow]

Namibia: Budget Speech, 2018-2019 (MoF)

For FY2018/19, total revenue is estimated at N$56.70bn, about 1.3% decline from the estimated outturn for 2017/18, due to the decline in SACU revenue and the slowdown in diamond corporate tax and related income as a result of operational factors. Over the MTEF, revenue growth is projected to average 3.4%, at N$57.7bn in FY2019/20 to reach N$61.3bn by FY2020/21. As a proportion of GDP, total revenue is estimated to moderate to 30.7% in FY2018/19 from 33.0% in FY2017/18 and average around 30.0% over the MTEF mainly on account of the expected decline in SACU receipts. The most significant downside risks to revenue regards SACU receipts, which are projected to decline sharply by a cumulative of 18% during the next two years. As such, domestic replacement revenue, combined with increased tax administration effort is necessary to mitigate revenue volatility and support the budget implementation.

Other macroeconomic fundamentals have recorded improvements since 2016. The merchandise trade balance has reduced by 51.6% from N$17.6bn during the second half of 2016 to N$8.5 billion during the second half of 2017, thanks to increased exports. Similarly, the current account deficit has narrowed to about 1% of GDP, and international reserves have firmed up to 4.7 months of import cover by the end of 2017. [Download related Budget documentation, here; Namibia to scrap preferential tax; Deloitte’s Namibian Budget 2018/2019 commentary]

Zimbabwe part of Kazungula Bridge project (ZNBC)

Zambia and Botswana have agreed to allow Zimbabwe to join the Kazungula bridge project across the Zambezi river, in phase two of the works. And the three countries have further agreed to set up a one-stop border post at Kazungula in Southern province. The decision was made on Saturday, after President Edgar Lungu held talks with Botswana’s President, Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama and Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. [Zimbabwe, Botswana in multi-million dollar rail talks]

Mozambique: Bulk ore must go by rail and not road – Minister of Transport (Club of Mozambique)

Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita is pushing for the speedy implementation of measures to move road freight to the rail system, with a view to mitigating the impact of heavy goods traffic on National Highway Number Four (EN4) – including road degradation, congestion, accidents, increased operational costs for the transport of goods and passengers and environmental problems. Among the measures identified are the creation of a dry port to function as a buffer zone for better traffic management, the extension of the Ressano Garcia and the Quilómetro Quatro border posts, and improved handling of rail freight at the Port of Maputo. Mesquita was speaking at the opening of a transport forum on congestion organised by Maputo Port Development Company.

Presentations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry by Dr Rob Davies (SA Minister of Trade and Industry): pdf Minister response to SONA 2018 (1022 KB) ; pdf Outcome of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (289 KB)

Anzetse Were: Hurdles facing Africa innovation (Business Daily)

Last week, I attended the Innovation Summit organised by The Economist magazine. The event focused on digital transformation for accelerated growth in Africa. There are several points I want to share concerning the interface between the public and private sector, and innovation. [FT Africa Payments Innovation Summit: Africa’s banks lag behind on innovation in financial services]

International Solar Summit helps India take on leadership role (Economic Times)

Consider the presence of Western African leaders in this Summit besides the participation of leaders from Seychelles, Mauritius, Djibouti, Somalia and Comoros (Eastern Africa). While India has significant footprints in Eastern and Southern Africa, Delhi is keen to raise its profile in Western and Central Africa - Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, DRC (Central Africa), Gabon, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.

Top leaders of all these countries were present at the Summit which India put together after months of painstaking efforts. Interestingly, all these nations except Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana were French colonies, and Paris still maintains strong ties with these countries. Modi made it a point to hold separate meetings with leaders of each of these nations over this weekend. While India is partnering with Japan in its quest to expand development and infrastructure initiatives in Eastern Africa, France is being considered as India’s partner in Western Africa or largely Francophone Africa. [Modi presents 10-point Action Plan at Solar Summit with French President Macron]

Enhancing cross-border coordination and cooperation in the Horn of Africa (UNDP)

The $10m three-year project for the Support for Effective Cooperation and Coordination of Cross Border Initiatives in South West Ethiopia – North West Kenya, Marsabit – Borana and Dawa, and Kenya – Somalia – Ethiopia, will be implemented by the UNDP in collaboration with UNEP, in partnership with IGAD. The objectives of the programme include strengthening regional policy frameworks, structures, and protocols for cross border cooperation between national and local governments; capacities of communities, local governments and civil society to fully engage in processes for development planning and results are built; and to ensure effective cooperation and coordination, monitoring and evaluation of cross-border initiatives including involvement of relevant national and regional actors in these processes.

Tanzania-Kenya: Unified Namanga border post set for a launch (The Citizen)

Finally, the unified Namanga one stop border post will be officially launched on 20 April this year. Unveiling of the facility, to be jointly operated by Kenya and Tanzania, has been delayed due failure to install the electronic equipment in time. Sources close to the EAC secretariat said preparation for the launch of one of the busiest border posts in the region were in high gear. The facility at Namanga is one of the dozen upgraded structures at the key border areas across the region.

Today’s Quick Links:

Pradeep S. Mehta: Trade in an increasingly protectionist world

South Africa to make tariffs submission as Trump leaves door open for exclusions

South Africa’s Sanlam looks for more African deals after $1.1bn investment in Morocco’s Saham

Zimbabwe: Minister to tackle border chaos

Kinshasa’s informal economy is trapped by a corrupt “tax” system for powerful public officials

Carter Centre’s 46-page final report on 2017 Kenyan elections

AUC-Russia joint communique


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010