tralac’s Daily News Selection
The IMF will has posted the analytical papers for the World Economic Outlook 2018. They cover: Labour force participation in advanced economies, Shifts in global manufacturing activity, Is productivity growth shared in a globalized economy?
Nigeria: Presidential Committee on CFTA asks Buhari for two-week extension (ThisDay)
The presidential committee to widen consultation on the framework establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to extend its mandate by two weeks. The request, ThisDay gathered exclusively, is to allow it firm up consultations with major stakeholders and determine how Nigeria will benefit sector by sector from the CFTA. The committee’s deadline to submit it report to the president expired Thursday. DG of the Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations, Chiedu Osakwe said: ”Last week, we had a meeting with the Nigeria Poultry Association, and we are hoping to meet with Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. NLC still requires transitional period- they still insist on protection. We have also received a list from MAN, but it does not exceed the 10% we have negotiated within the framework of protection. We also got a demand from trade group for Nigeria to be aggressive on our negotiation. Similarly, we have explained to them the contents of the 250-page document which some of them had not read, we also asking from them concerns that they want to protect.”
SACU to discuss regional integration and industrialisation (Business Day)
Cabinet ministers and officials of the five-member countries of SACU will meet in Namibia this week to discuss a funding mechanism for regional integration, development and industrialisation. This would include the financing of cross-border programmes such as infrastructure projects that support industrial development in the union. The discussions will form part of the review of the revenue-sharing formula that splits customs revenue between Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, SA and Swaziland. The Department of Trade and Industry’s deputy director-general for international trade and economic development, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, said on Sunday the first objective of the discussions was to transform SACU into a “development integration arrangement”.
The EAC Monetary Institute Bill, 2017 and the EAC Statistics Bureau Bill, 2017, are two key pieces of draft legislation on the agenda as the East Africa Legislative Assembly moves its sitting to Dodoma, Tanzania starting today. The regional House’s first ever sitting in Tanzania’s designate capital – which starts today Monday and ends on 28 April – is to be presided over by Speaker, Martin Ngoga, with Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli expected to address the Assembly at a special sitting sometime next week. The two pieces of legislation are critical in the eventual set up of the East African Monetary Union, the EAC’s third pillar of integration preceding the ultimate phase – the EAC Political Federation. Partner States negotiated a Protocol for establishment of the EAMU which was signed by regional leaders in November 2013.
73 firms join plan for fast EAC trade (Business Daily)
Some 73 companies are on track for expedited payment of refunds and reduced customs security checks after they enrolled in an EAC programme to promote regulatory compliance, enhance trade and improve border security. The firms will reap other benefits of the programme, named Authorised Economic Operators, including automatic passing of their declarations and will undergo no physical examination of goods except where risks are high, among others. The incentives apply to multinationals as well as small and medium enterprises that have joined the programme. “The EAC targets to enrol over 500 companies in the next five years,” said Duncan Karari, Communications Manager at German international development organisation GIZ which provides technical support for the initiative. [Kenya has 14 companies enrolled in the programme; Rwanda has the highest number, at 25; Tanzania has the least, 2; Burundi has 9; Uganda has 25 companies]
Foreign direct investment in Mauritius grew by 4.2% in 2017 to 14.22 billion rupees ($425.11m), driven by inflows into real estate and financial and insurance activities, official data showed on Friday. Foreign investment in real estate led with 8.79 billion rupees followed by financial and insurance activities with 3.32 billion rupees, the central bank said. “Together, France and Luxembourg accounted for over 50% of total gross direct investment inflows,” Bank of Mauritius said in a statement.
Egypt’s current account deficit fell sharply to $3.4bn in H1 2017/18, which runs between July 2017 and December 2017, from $9.4bn in the same period the year before, preliminary estimates show. The CBE said the contraction is largely due to “significant improvement in main sources of gross national income,” as real GDP growth reached 5% in 2017, according to the Ministry of Planning preliminary estimates, “the highest full-year growth rate recorded since 2010.” As for net merchandise imports, they contracted by $268.5m in H1 2017/18 to $18.7bn, compared with the same period the year before. It is worth noting that non-oil merchandise exports grew by 9.7% year-on-year to $8.2bn in H1 2017/18. “The increase in non-oil merchandise exports was mainly driven by exports of finished products, including household electrical appliances, phosphate fertilisers, glass, textiles, carpets, and pharmaceutical products,” the CBE statement read.
South African government representatives met last week with the IRU to establish a concrete roadmap for implementing TIR to boost the efficiency of international road transport in Southern Africa, and to put in place modern frameworks for regulating access to the regional transport market. There has been steady momentum towards implementing TIR in South Africa and in the wider Southern African Customs Union, as well as along the key North South Corridor (from South Africa through Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia to DRC).
Economic operators, as well as relevant government ministries and agencies responsible for trade in Niger, have called on Ghana’s Port Authority and key trade facilitators to position the Ghanaian corridor to attract more traffic from Niger in view of unfair trade practices implemented on competing francophone corridors used by economic operators from Niger. Niger and the two other neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso are the three main land-locked countries in the West Africa sub-region who are traditionally aligned in using the seaports of fellow Francophone countries in Dakar, Guinea, Abidjan, Lome and Cotonou to participate in international trade. However, due to inefficiencies, high cost of operations, poor transportation networks, delays and political instability in these countries, economic operators in the LLC’s have realized the need to diversify their use of seaports in the sub-region to impact positively in the lives of their citizenry.
Sustainable Mobility for All: bringing the vision to life (World Bank Blogs)
The issue of mobility and sustainability resonates well with countries’ concerns. The recent UN Resolution focusing on the role of transport and transit corridors in sustainable development demonstrates the continuing importance attached to the issue of transport and mobility by national governments around the world. A series of recent international agreements provide useful benchmarks, including the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, the Rio+20 Outcomes, the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, the Vienna Programme of Actions on Landlocked Countries, and the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transport. To maximize the impact of these efforts, the time has come to bring all these pieces together into a coherent, detailed, and action-oriented strategy. The SuM4All partnership has set out to develop an Action Framework for Sustainable Mobility that will do just that. [The author, Dr Nancy Vandycke leads the WB’s group of transport economists and heads the SuM4All Partnership]
It’s time to tackle shipping emissions on the high seas: a call for South African leadership (Daily Maverick)
This week, from 9-13 April, the 72nd session of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee will meet in London to discuss the problem of shipping emissions and the way forward. This meeting affords South Africa the opportunity to position itself as a leading voice in the negotiations. South Africa became a full member of the IMO in 1995 and will be participating as a member state in the April meetings. South Africa’s role in climate negotiations has been viewed by the international community as being vital and we are often seen as a deal-maker in these negotiations. In contrast, in this case South Africa is seen to be non-committal in tackling GHGs at the IMO and its position tends to be wavering and often inconsistent with its positions taken at the UNFCCC. The April meetings provide South Africa an opportunity to rectify this perception by addressing three goals: [The author, Saliem Fakir, heads the Policy & Futures Unit at the World Wild Fund for Nature South Africa; Bloomberg View: Shipping is part of the climate problem]
Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables exceeded $200bn – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources. Overall, China was by far the world’s largest investing country in renewables, at a record $126.6bn, up 31% on 2016. There were also sharp increases in investment in Australia, up 147% to $8.5bn; Mexico, up 810% to $6bn; and Sweden, up 127% to $3.7bn. [See Figure 20: Renewable energy investment in Middle East and Africa by country, 2017, $bn, and change on 2016; The biggest obstacle to deploying solar energy in Africa is scepticism in high places]
Today’s Quick Links:
Pradeep Mehta: The role of competition policy for development
Nigeria’s ICT market loses billions as foreign firms control 80% share
South Africa: US senators eye local investment
Tanzania: New tanzanite location discovered
FAO Food Price Index rises for the second consecutive month
Nigeria to begin electricity trading with neighbouring countries