tralac’s Daily News Selection
Taking place tomorrow in Harare, ZEPARU inception workshop: Assessing Zimbabwe’s trade performance within the context of SADC, TFTA and the CFTA
Indonesia-Africa Forum: updates
(i) Indonesia to boost connectivity with Africa through Ethiopia. The Indonesia government seeks to increase connectivity between Indonesia and African countries through Ethiopia, one of them being by agreeing to the procurement of the Jakarta-Addis Ababa flight route. “I think there is still a lack of connectivity between Indonesia and Africa, including air connectivity. Hence, the agreement to operate direct flights from Jakarta to Addis Ababa is a new breakthrough,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi noted after a meeting with the Ethiopian Airlines CEO in the company of representatives from Garuda Indonesia in Bali on Wednesday. “We want to also make Addis Ababa a center for strengthening connectivity between Indonesia and other African regions, especially in the sub-Sahara African area,” she noted. In addition, Minister Marsudi noted that the governments of several African countries had provided information on the possibility of making Addis Ababa a center for visa services for African countries. [First Indonesia-Africa direct flight expected to commence in May]
(ii) Trade value worth $500m recorded during Indonesia-Africa Forum. The Indonesia-Africa Forum managed to record additional trade transactions worth nearly $500m, with the total potential of trade agreements within two days of the meeting reaching $2.3bn. “This is a remarkable (achievement) that has been recorded in a short period of time,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita noted in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Wednesday. The business agreements were signed by Indonesia Eximbank and African Exim Bank; Indonesia Eximbank and Standard Chartered; Indonesia Eximbank and Commercebank; state aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia and A.D. Trade Belgium; as well as state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL and A.D. Trade Belgium. The IAF also concluded the announcement of business plans from 11 Indonesian companies, with a potential trade value reaching Rp1.3 billion, such as PT Wika in Algeria, Nigeria, and Mozambique; PT PAL Indonesia in Gabon, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal; state energy company Pertamina in Nigeria; as well as state-owned train manufacturer PT INKA in Zambia.
(iii) Indonesia to hold Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue 2019. One form of Indonesia`s efforts to strengthen the cooperation is through the establishment of Indonesian Task Force Infrastructure to Africa. According to Pandjaitan, the government, through the Coordinating Ministry, has initiated the establishment of the task force. “The Indonesian government will form a task force and will visit some potential African countries. I think it will be realized soon. PT INKA will have a railway project in Africa, as well as PT WIKA and other state-owned construction companies,” Pandjaitan noted. The African countries which have the potential for infrastructure projects include Senegal, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, and Algeria.
(iv) Afreximbank signs $100m partnership agreement with Indonesia Eximbank. Under the terms of the agreement, Afreximbank will work with Indonesia Eximbank in supporting import of capital equipment and services from Indonesia by African private sector entities through an overseas financing arrangement, with Indonesia Eximbank providing direct financing to African buyers of Indonesian goods and services on the back of a guarantee provided by Afreximbank. Indonesia Eximbank will also provide financing support to Indonesian buyers of African goods, with Afreximbank acting as the Bank of the African exporters. In addition, Indonesia Eximbank will support short-term trade transactions emanating from African buyers of Indonesian products, including through provision of confirmation lines to the African Banks on the back of a trade confirmation guarantee facility provided by Afreximbank.
EACJ challenged to bring business disputes to end (The Citizen)
The East African Court of Justice has been implored to resolve business disputes because they are counter-productive to regional trade. “Business enterprises want disputes resolved as quickly as possible,” stated the Kenyan Chief Justice, Mr David Maraga in Nairobi last week. He told judges of the court that businesses in the region often suffered from lingering commercial disputes hence impacting on cross border trade. ”As an economic bloc trading with each other, chances to have disputes are there. We have to put in place legal framework to resolve them,” he said when he spoke at court’s validation workshop and bi-annual retreat. He added that alternative resolution mechanisms such as arbitration were equally critical to limit commercial disputes among enterprises doing regional trade.
Morocco’s difficult path to ECOWAS membership (Cairo Review)
The impression is therefore that Morocco is purposefully avoiding giving any firm answer to these questions so it can expand its room to manoeuvre and obtain an ad hoc ECOWAS membership at the expense of the other states. [The author, Riccardo Fabiani, is a Senior North Africa Analyst at Eurasia Group]
Egypt: CEC’s first trade mission to West Africa kicks off Wednesday (Egypt Today)
The Chemicals and Fertilizers Export Council’s first trade mission to Ghana kicked off on Wednesday with the participation of 13 companies from the council’s different industrial sectors. Executive Director of CEC Waleed Azab said in a statement that bilateral meetings with more than 100 Ghanaian companies have been organized, projecting making contracts worth LE 8.8 billion. The mission comes in light of the CEC’s plan to double exports to Africa. The Trade Ministry has identified 10 countries, out of 52, as a first phase for the plan to double exports. The focus will be on five main sectors, namely engineering, building materials, chemical industries and textiles.
Angola: EU, UNCTAD kick-start project to help Angola diversify its trade (UNCTAD)
Speaking at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Commerce, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said the project EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme for Angola: Train for Trade II marked “an important step for Angola” in its efforts to restructure the economy. “The objective of the EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme for Angola is to improve human and institutional capacities to foster appropriate economic diversification policies in Angola. We aim to help Angola build a more, diverse, inclusive and resilient economy capable of eradicating poverty. Together with our European Union partners, UNCTAD is drawing on its wealth of expertise to provide targeted assistance and address development challenges from multiple angles. Support will focus on 6 strategic components: commercial diplomacy, trade facilitation, trade logistics, small business development, investment, scoping of non-oil sector opportunities. For each component, UNCTAD will conduct studies and develop training courses and workshops for public and private sector actors.
Uganda, DRC sign pact to ease trade (Xinhua)
The agreement was reached during a Wednesday meeting attended by Uganda’s trade minister Amelia Kyambadde and DRC’s external trade minister Jean-Lucien Bussa Tongba in Uganda’s Kasese. Kasese hosts one of the major border trade points between Uganda and DRC called Mpondwe. A joint communique signed by the two ministers said the meeting had reached an agreement to also enhance management and control of standards and quality as well as exchange of information and statistics. “The two ministers considered and approved the list of products for the Simplified Trade Regime,” the communique said.
Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, reporting on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, urged the Council to remain united in its support for the implementation of the 31 December 2016 political agreement among Congolese political leaders under which elections would be held on 23 December 2018 for a successor to President Joseph Kabila. The Great Lakes was among Africa’s most volatile and complex regions, but it was also one that could make a meaningful contribution to the continent’s stability and development, he said. Equatorial Guinea’s delegate said the Great Lakes region had strategic importance for the stability of all Africa. The enormous potential of the region’s natural resources — once peace was achieved — would allow the region to flourish. As things stood now, conflicts were “bleeding its countries dry”. Emphasizing that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was central to overall regional stability, he said the upcoming elections could help open a new chapter, and that Kinshasa must work closely with its regional and international partners to ensure that voting was carried out smoothly. [Great Lakes Region: Security Council press statement]
African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative: Annual Report 2017 (pdf, NEPAD)
Following endorsement of the AU Model Law on Medical Products Regulation by the AU Heads of State and Government Summit in January 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12 out of 55 countries have either reviewed or are in the process of reviewing their national laws, in line with the AU Model Law. These countries are: Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, the Gambia, United Republic of Tanzania (Zanzibar), Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique. Terms of reference for a network of legal experts have been developed for discussion with relevant stakeholders in the spirit of domestication of the AU Model Law. NEPAD shared a framework for domestication of the AU Model Law for benchmarking exercise and national multi-stakeholder consultation on review, updating and harmonization of national medicines laws undertaken by the EAC Partner States NMRAs in June 2017.
COMESA Committee of Governors of Central Banks: summary of outcomes
Djibouti’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Hassan Houmed Kamil, emphasized the importance of sustaining a conducive environment for stability, investment and growth. He called on Member States to ensure predictability, transparency and accountability to achieve sustainable economic growth. He also called for speedy implementation of the Regional Payment and Settlement System in order to achieve significant increases in intra-COMESA trade.
United Cities and Local Governments of Africa: schedule of regional strategic meetings
The East Africa regional strategy meeting (9-10 April, Nairobi) will be followed by the regional strategic meeting for the Central Africa Region (16-17 April, Libreville); for the Southern Africa Region (7-8 May, Walvis Bay); for the West Africa Region (28-29 May, Accra); for the North Africa Region (18-19 June, Rabat). The 8th edition of the Africities Summit will be hosted in Marrakesh (20-24 November).
The services sector has emerged as the largest segment in and driving force of the economy, contributing a growing share to GDP, trade and employment. Opportunities for structural transformation created by the rising services economy are huge, notably derived from rapid technological developments and the digital economy. This is the third survey by UNCTAD to take stock of the regulatory environment in key infrastructure services, with the goal of ascertaining regulatory and institutional best practices, and challenges faced by regulators in developed, developing and least developed countries.
Today’s Quick Links:
The SADC Energy Thematic Group met today in Gaborone: this was the first meeting co-chaired by USAID since it assumed the role of Lead ICP for the SADC energy sector.
6th Annual Africa Power Roundtable: speech by Mr Thabane Zulu (South Africa)
Regional Centre for Mapping of Resource for Development: call for abstracts (15-17 August, Nairobi)