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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Joseph Maynard

28 Mar 2018

AfCFTA updates:

(i) Posted by the AU: pdf Decision on the draft agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (138 KB)

(ii) Kenya’s Cabinet has approved the Africa Continental Free Trade Area treaty and the Tripartite FTA for ratification by parliament

(iii) Dr Francis Mangeni: Africa’s free trade bloc – challenges, road ahead

Forty-four countries signed the agreement, establishing ACFTA. Eleven countries did not, including Nigeria and South Africa, which was a setback, but the two big economies are expected to sign in due course. The 44 countries, who include Kenya and Egypt, account for 38% of intra-Africa exports and 47.2% of intra-Africa imports, according to current figures from the COMTRADE data base. South Africa accounts for 34% and Nigeria 9%. Of Africa’s total GDP at purchasing power parity in dollar terms of $6.7 trillion (nominal GDP is $3.3 trillion), the 44 countries that signed the ACFTA account for 65.1%, of which Egypt accounts for 18.9%. South Africa and Nigeria account for 11.9% and 17.6% respectively.

Evidently then, the absence of Nigeria and South Africa from ACFTA, together accounting for 43% of intra-Africa imports and 29.5% of Africa’s GDP, remains a matter of some concern. A first challenge for the ACFTA then is to get Nigeria and South Africa to sign the Agreement. Nigeria is undertaking internal consultations among stakeholders. What might be important is to clearly explain the flexibilities in the agreement and the 10% list of excluded and sensitive products, amounting to about 600 products, as adequate to protect domestic industries; as well as the vast export and investment opportunities in Africa to follow up and utilise.

(iv) Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Agency: The AfCFTA is another significant milestone towards Africa’s integration

(v) Former President Olusegun Obasanjo comments on the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the AfCFTA agreement. “That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he signs it before it is too late. Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”

(vi) Tope Babalola on Nigeria and the AfCFTA: An epic tale of developing cold feet

(vii) Peter Sinkamba, president of Zambia’s Green Party asks of the AfCFTA summit: Is the PF government participating legally or illegally?

Next Einstein Forum in Kigali: Circular economy will spur Africa’s transformation – experts (New Times)

At a panel discussion at the ongoing Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, experts reiterated the need for African economy to build industrial synergy that facilitates efficient resource use. The panel explored Africa’s low carbon circular economy. “Circular economy is not only about job and economic growth, it’s also about our environment and our health,” said Ana Therese Ndong-Jatta, Regional Director of the UNESCO Eastern Africa. Rocio Diaz-Chavez, Deputy Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute Africa Centre, noted that there are many assessment tools, such as life cycle analysis, which can support Africa’s wide scale transition to the circular economy, which should be utilised more. Rwanda, South Africa, and Nigeria - along with the World Economic Forum - are the pioneers of the African Circular Economy Alliance, which was launched on the sideline of Climate Change conference in Bonn last year. [Related: African leaders push for knowledge-based economy; The Scientific African launched to increase research output; African governments accused of underestimating continent’s tech capability]

Quantum Global Research Lab posts its Africa investment Index 2018 (pdf). An African Business interview with Mthuli Ncube.

Gridlock at Kasumbalesa: COMESA steps in

In the past two weeks, cross border trade at the busy Kasumbalesa border crossing between Zambia and the DRC has been slowly heading to a standstill. This follows delays in transit clearance procedures at both sides of the border causing a massive congestion of trucks including those carrying hazardous cargo. By Friday, 23 March, when COMESA intervened to unlock the impasse, queues at Kisanga on the DRC side stretched for about 70km from the border to the outskirts of Lubumbashi, a situation exacerbated by heavy rains and poor state of the road. Traffic flow had reduced from 1,500 trucks to as low as 350 trucks daily, a situation the COMESA Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya described as detrimental to the development of the economies for both countries and the region. “The problem we have here, is simply nonexistence of integration of Customs systems. Once you integrate your systems, these problems will be a thing of the past,” he assured as he constituted a team of experts from the COMESA Secretariat to work with the respective authorities to resolve the current crisis which has caused huge loss of revenue to business people and governments. [East Africa: an overview of recent UNCTAD support to the Central and Northern corridors]

Zambia reviews its trade policy (ZHC, Pretoria)

Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Christopher Yaluma says his ministry has finished a review of the trade policy, which has now been submitted to ministries for consultations. He said government was developing the revised and stand alone trade policy in order to bring it into tandem with among others, the aspirations of the AfCFTA which Zambia is expected to sign once consultation processes were finished. Once the revised trade policy was approved, it would prevent the dumping of goods and services onto the Zambian market from other countries but enable Zambia become an equal trade partner both at regional and continental level.

Zambia, Senegal’s services sector: case studies in a new UNCTAD report Effective market access for LDC services exports – is the LDC services waiver being implemented?

Why preferential treatment matters: The services sector is a central component of the development aspirations of LDCs, accounting for major contributions to output and export value added. The share of services in direct exports is lower than that of goods, yet the sector remains a key avenue for diversification, as direct exports of services have been more dynamic and resilient than direct exports of goods. In LDCs, between 2008 and 2016, the share of services in total exports rose from 11 to 19%. However, the share of LDC services exports in global exports remains at less than 1%. Extract from the executive summary (pdf): Zambian accountants generally find their neighbouring target markets relatively open, their qualifications recognized. Zambia’s flagship training institution for accountancy (and now many other fields), ZCAS, has a long history of not only training Zambian but also many foreign students, who obtain ACCA-certified qualifications that are widely recognized. However, relevant exceptions apply, not least in one of the most important markets in the region – South Africa. [Note: the Zambia case study begins on p81 of the report]

Growth, safety nets and poverty: assessing progress in Ethiopia from 1996 to 2011 (World Bank)

This paper exploits variation in sectoral growth and public goods provision across zones and time, to examine whether poverty reduction was driven by growth and provision of public goods and what type of growth - growth in agriculture, manufacturing, or services - was more effective at reducing poverty.

Kenya: SGR extension to cover 10 berths at the Mombasa port (Business Daily)

Chinese contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation is set to extend the standard gauge railway line deeper to cover its 10 berths at the Mombasa port. The move is aimed at facilitating easier movement of bulky and heavy goods such as clinker, steel, iron and cement into the SGR. The Kenya Port Authority have been offloading goods via cranes once they land at various berths at the Port of Mombasa and transporting them via trucks to the SGR line. [Container freighters’ plan to ride on SGR to remain in business]

Kenya: Governors cement regional economic bloc agreement (The Standard)

Fourteen governors in the western region have launched an economic bloc to help spur growth. Ten governors who attended the Lake Region Economic bloc meeting on Monday signed draft legal instruments and county assembly bills in Kakamega. The bills and legal documents will be tabled before a summit made up of the 14 governors, awaiting eventual adoption in the respective county assemblies. The British ambassador to Kenya, Nic Hailey, welcomed the initiative as did representatives from the United Bank of Africa and Africa Health and Development International (Ahadi). [George Wachira: Rural counties can spur growth of new industries]

A Nigerian debate on Nigeria, ECOWAS and Morocco: a commentary by Reuben Abati; responses by Okponyia Onyedikachi and Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

Groundswell: Preparing for internal climate migration (World Bank)

This report, which focuses on three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America that together represent 55% of the developing world’s population) finds that climate change will push tens of millions of people to migrate within their countries by 2050. It projects that without concrete climate and development action, just over 143 million people - or around 2.8% of the population of these three regions - could be forced to move within their own countries to escape the slow-onset impacts of climate change. [UN forum examines role partnerships play in tackling global migration challenge]

Agro-food, tourism and creative industries: an integrated cluster approach (UNIDO)

The relationship between tourism and food as well as the relationship between tourism and the creative economy is well known and has been widely analysed in economic literature. What is less studied is the huge potential of linkages and synergies among agro-food, tourism and the creative industries and how to develop a cohesive policy approach in order to enable integration and convergence among these sectors to take place. The aim of this report (pdf) is to define a theoretical framework to support an ‘integrated cluster’ approach involving agri-food, tourism and the creative industries, which could be replicated in different geographical contexts. [Executive summary, pdf]

Today’s Quick Links:

Namibia and the SADC Trade Related Facility project: launch update

Angola has ended its two-year currency peg to the US Dollar: an Afreximbank briefing note of the new currency regime (pdf)

PIDA Steering Committee meeting was held last week in Nouakchott: an update

The GDI annual meeting was held last week in Addis: some of the presentations on the theme, infrastructure development, have been posted

A regional dialogue on curbing illicit financial flows from Africa was held last week in Kigali: Financial flows cost Uganda Shs2 trillion

SEATINI Uganda workshop to review the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool

UNCTAD’s Daniel Poon discusses the AIIB’s experiments in scaling-up development finance

IMF Note on Global Prospects and Policy Challenges: prepared for the recent G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meetings in Buenos Aires