Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith | Oxfam International

Profiled trade and development events:

Yesterday, in Kigali: 18th Executive Council Meeting of the Extraordinary Summit on AfCFTA

Yesterday, in Addis: coordination meeting to prepare for 2019 edition of the Economic Report on Africa: Financing sustainable development – the role of the private sector

Yesterday, in Accra: ECOWAS regional border management workshop

Yesterday, in Delhi: Seven trade ministers participate in India’s WTO mini-ministerial

In Kampala: Launch of Uganda’s first Baseline Assessment and Value Chain Analysis of the development minerals sector

The Government of Botswana and the UNDP, this week host the international conference Leave no one behind in the fight against poverty, exclusion and inequality. The keynote address will be presented by Stephen Devereux (University of Sussex).

AfCFTA Business Forum: “Leveraging the Power of Business to Drive Africa’s Integration” (AU)

Keynote Address by President Paul Kagame, Chairperson of the African Union: Tomorrow, we will sign a historic agreement creating a Continental Free Trade Area. The road to this point has been long indeed. It can be measured in decades. And we still have a few more steps to take. But we are persisting, and a new chapter in the story of African unity is set to begin.... The stakes are enormous for Africa, but also for the entire global economy, to which Africa will contribute an ever-greater share in the decades ahead.

The creation of one African market necessarily entails a metamorphosis in how we think and act. The full involvement of the private sector is needed more than ever before. The purpose of today’s forum is to discuss how to make the most of the new opportunities we are creating for ourselves.

Profiled AfCFTA analysis, by Andrew Mold: Much to gain as an African economic single market (The East African)

The conventional wisdom is that Africa trades too little with the global economy, and too little with itself. Neither is quite accurate. First, in comparison with the size of their economies, African economies are fairly open traders. EAC member states typically trade around 40 to 50%of their GDP (around the same as the average for upper income countries and almost double the amount of the US). The second conventional wisdom - that Africa trades too little with itself - is true up to a point, but is also the logical outcome of the fact that many countries are principally exporting commodities like oil and minerals, and agricultural commodities, like tea and coffee, to high income countries. The true challenge for African countries is that too many countries are import-dependent, exporting excessive amounts of unprocessed commodities, and as a consequence running up large trade deficits. This slows down the pace of economic growth and development.

The AfCFTA represents an opportunity for African countries to rapidly increase the share of industrial goods in both production and exports. Within the EAC, for instance, only 20% of exports are manufactured goods, and the rest are primary commodities. But for intra-EAC trade, over 60%is manufactured goods. If we wish to pursue a faster route to industrialisation and the diversification of our economies, then promoting greater intra-regional — and intra-African — trade, is the way forward.

Nigeria and the AfCFTA: Buhari bows to pressure, defers decision on Africa’s free trade deal; Discordant tunes over CFTA agreement; How Continental Free Area will stifle Nigeria’s economy

AU will enhance Free Movement and Single Air Transport Market (AU)

The Extraordinary Summit on the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) held from 17-21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, will serve as a platform for the African Union to sign into existence another flagship project that will boost intra-Africa trade: The Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Right of Establishment.

The MoUs are as a follow up of the endorsement at January’s AU Summit of the single market and liberalization of air transport in Africa through the adoption of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The launch of the single air transport market is expected to bring about greater connectivity across the continent, a key step towards development of the aviation and tourism industry in Africa.

From last week’s AERC Senior Policy Seminar: Regional integration in Africa

(i) Declaration: Rethinking Regional Integration in Africa. Recognize that many well-meaning declarations and strategies have largely not been fully executed, in part owing to the absence of mechanisms and institutions to address the varying and differing interests, costs and benefits, call for immediate action, and a sense of urgency in deepening African integration; Further recognize that financial integration is essential for regional integration, thus the need for consolidation of disparate financial markets, including stock exchanges to finance major integration projects, and recognition of the central and enhanced role and leadership of regional development banks; Commit to undertake policy dialogue and consultations within our own governments, private sector institutions and civil society organizations to identify and address all barriers to intra-Africa trade (including trade in services), improve trade logistics, and ease movement of persons to scale up intra-African cooperation and boost regional industrialization and trade, and thus improve the welfare of our people.

(ii) Central banks asked to stick to growth friendly policies. Central bank governors drawn from 20 African countries have urged governments across the continent to improve economic management in order to achieve sustained growth. This was during a two-day meeting held in Kampala last week. Speaking at the meeting the Bank of Uganda deputy governor, Dr Louis Kasekende, urged Africa Union to be at the centre of having governments accountable, particularly when we [central bank governors] don’t agree with what we sign”. [African Central Bank Governors want AU to regulate members’ revenue management policies; East Africa’s varsities meet to take role in industrialisation]

UNCTAD’s new project to measure illicit financial flows in Africa (UNCTAD)

UN estimates put the annual loss at around $50bn. To put this amount in perspective, it’s roughly double the official development assistance that Africa receives. Yet the estimate may well fall short of reality because accurate data doesn’t exist for all transactions and for all African countries. Angela Me, chief of UNODC’s research and trend analysis branch, provided details on the project’s context, noting that UNODC and UNCTAD are the joint custodians of the indicator for the Sustainable Development Goal dealing with illicit financial flows. Enrico Bisogno, chief of UNODC’s data development and dissemination section, explained the the differences between illicit and illegal flows and outlined some of the statistical challenges. Steve MacFeely, head of UNCTAD’s statistics and information branch, described the project’s broad objectives and key components, the respective institutional roles, and spoke further about the anticipated challenges. [Angela Me: Tools to measure corruption and monitor SDG 16.5, pdf]

Digitalisation and the future of manufacturing in Africa (ODI)

This paper presents new empirical analysis (pdf) of the potential impact of growing digitalisation in manufacturing on Africa, and discusses what policymakers can do to exploit their current window of opportunity, address constraints in traditional manufacturing and prepare for the ‘digital wave’, which will bring with it a whole host of new opportunities and challenges. [The authors: Karishma Banga, Dirk Willem te Velde]

Namibia: !Naruseb offers hope for struggling dairy industry (New Era)

Newly-appointed agricultural minister Alpheus !Naruseb last week promised a concerned delegation from the dairy industry that he would expedite amendments to the Dairy Act so that the necessary support can be given to the crippled local dairy sector, as soon as possible. !Naruseb’s promised lifeline comes just days after New Era reported that if the long-awaited bill to regulate the importation and export of milk and dairy products – due to be tabled in parliament soon – is not given the green light, it could spell disaster for Namibia’s small dairy producers. [Nambia’s EPZ regime: relief for manufacturers]

COMESA Virtual University programme begins in two months (COMESA)

Admission of the pioneer students of the COMESA Virtual University will commence in May 2018 at the Kenyatta University in Kenya. The admission was planned to kick off in September 2017 but was delayed to allow the conclusion of administrative procedures of the university education regulatory authority in Kenya. The teaching modules for 30 courses have been developed with financial support from the African Capacity Building Foundation. The review process was done by academic experts across the world to ensure good quality of the material and knowledge to be passed to the students. To obtain the degree, students will be required to take and pass 10 core courses and five electives, and complete a dissertation and an internship, over a two-year period. Last week, a COMESA Secretariat team led by the Director of Trade and Customs, Dr Francis Mangeni met stakeholders in Kenya to fast-track the remaining steps towards kickstarting the first semester.

Namibia: Geingob urges lawmakers to expedite Africa visa process (New Era)

President Hage Geingob has urged lawmakers to honour a cabinet resolution and AU Agenda 2063 by speeding up the process of abolishing travel restrictions for all African officials and diplomat passport holders. The Namibia Cabinet endorsed the resolution on 24 May 2016, and tasked the Ministry of Home Affairs to spearhead the process but this has been happening at a snail’s pace.

President Kenyatta calls for direct engagement amongst ACP countries (HIVISASA)

President Uhuru Kenyatta today called for direct engagement amongst African-Caribbean and Pacific countries to achieve common historical aspirations. The President who is on a State visit to Cuba said despite the impact of ACP and EU nations cooperation, the three regions can forge a more direct platform among themselves for the benefit of their citizens. He said despite the ACP countries having a long common history; they have always depended on the platform of the European Union nations to interact with each other.

A framework for currency unions and IMF lending (IMF)

In a new paper, Program Design in Currency Unions, we review our experience in supporting the economic adjustment of countries that belong to currency unions and, for the first time, propose guidance on how this support should be designed and managed. The guidance clarifies when and how the IMF will seek supportive policy actions from union-level institutions. It does not confer any new authority on the Fund—rather, it simply articulates more clearly how that authority should be exercised in practice.

Today’s Quick Links:

Crans Montana Forum: Africa and South-South cooperation

Botswana turns power exporter after a decade of imports

Port of Mombasa: report for week ending 7 March

EFTA, Egypt hold trade promotion seminar

LNG2Africa update: Using African gas for Africa first

IGAD workshop to validate HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Strategic Plan, 2018-2025

FOCAC 2018: Ex minister bemoans policy inconsistency in Nigeria

Forty-five US trade groups urge Trump to avoid tariffs against China


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