tralac’s Daily News Selection
Profiled trade policy events:
(i) Underway, in Harare: Trade Law Centre, in collaboration with Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and Zimbabwe Network of Customs and Excise Experts, are hosting a AfCFTA awareness workshop in Harare (16-17 April).
(iii) Underway, in Durban: BRICS Customs Cooperation Meeting (16-19 April)
(iv) Starting tomorrow, in Kampala: EAC meeting to develop a OSBP performance measurement tool
(v) Diarise: India-South Africa Business Summit (29-30 April, Sandton)
Rwanda: AfCFTA bill headed for Lower House (New Times)
Following Wednesday’s cabinet approval of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the first major domestic step toward ratification of the trade framework, the instrument is now ready to be tabled before the Lower House, officials have said. The Director of External Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Alice Twizeye, told this newspaper that all the ministry was waiting for now is for parliament to set the date when the Executive will introduce the bill on the floor of the House.
Kenya in all-out bid to host crucial global trade forum (Daily Nation)
Kenya is planning to roll out a massive diplomatic offensive in a bid to host over 3000 international delegates for the 12th World Chambers Congress. A delegation of top officials from the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry was in Beijing to bid for the global forum slated for July 2021.
Egypt’s exports to South Africa increased by 69% in 2017 (Egypt Independent)
Egyptian commodity exports to South Africa in 2017 increased by 69%, reaching about $99m, compared to $58.5m in 2016, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Qabil announced. Egyptian imports from South Africa declined in 2017 by 14% to $181m, compared with $210m in 2016. The minister said the coming period will witness further growth in the trade size between Egypt and various African countries, especially in light of the launching of the African Free Trade Zone in March in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
A delegation of Nigerian businessmen under the aegis of Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce was in South Africa recently on a mission to help stimulate trade between the two biggest economies in Africa. The Lagos-based chamber was inaugurated 18 years ago to encourage trade between both countries and this particular visit was just one of many over the years. However, there was added significance considering it was the first trade mission by the chamber since the leadership change in South Africa with a new President Cyril Ramaphosa - himself a renowned businessman and former Chairman of MTN - at the helm of affairs.
Senegal economic update: recent growth drivers, the role of agriculture in developing a resilient and inclusive economy (World Bank)
Senegal’s economy maintained its wide‐based, strong growth in 2016 and the first half of 2017. GDP growth accelerated from 6.5% in 2015 to 6.7% in 2016, positioning Senegal among the fastest growing economies in the African continent. All sectors of the economy contributed significantly to growth in 2016 with services being the sector that contributed the most due to its large size as a share of GDP. Until mid‐2017, growth maintained its strong performance, though at a slightly slower pace (from 6.4% in H1‐2016 to 5.6% in H1‐2017) mainly due to a deceleration in the agriculture sector. Exports remained the main driver of growth from the demand side, as it continued its rapid expansion due to recent reforms and a robust external demand. The solid performance of exports, which grew on average by 10.5% in 2015‐2016, resulted from stronger foreign demand in addition to structural and sector reforms implemented over the past years. Other demand components performed well, but their role as growth drivers were not as strong as exports.
Liberia: Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessment (UNCTAD)
The governments of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Liberia – among the world’s least developed – are looking to new horizons and e-commerce to boost trade and create jobs. Each country asked UNCTAD to carry out a Rapid e-Trade Readiness Assessment to guide them in building the right “e-commerce ecosystems” and provide their policymakers with a blueprint for harnessing the economic and developmental potential offered by online trade. The reports were showcased on the first day of e-Commerce Week on 16 April. Mr Tarpeh highlighted the importance of this assessment for Liberia – the first of its kind that UNCTAD has carried out in Africa. “When shaping the right framework for e-commerce in Liberia, at stake lies not only our innovation capacity, but also the need to repair the broken linkages between our local industries and across our country. E-commerce is as much about widening our frontiers as creating much needed jobs, particularly for our youths and women-led small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said. [Data privacy: new global survey reveals growing internet anxiety]
Central Corridor Transport Observatory: funding update (Africa Business Communities)
TradeMark East Africa and the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency have signed a financing agreement geared towards strengthening and enhancing the Central Corridor Transport Observatory. The financing will specifically improve monitoring of the Central Corridor performance in order to support evidence-based advocacy and decision making to remove trade barriers. To that effect, TMEA will provide a total of $1.3m over a three-year period from 2018 to 2021.
WCO’s Working Group on E-Commerce finalises the Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce
Through the course of 4 days, delegates were intensely engaged in constructive and robust discussions that led to the finalisation of a draft Framework of Standards. This draft Framework of Standards will be submitted to the April 2018 Permanent Technical Committee and the June 2018 Policy Commission and Council for their consideration and adoption. This Framework of Standards is expected to be a comprehensive instrument for assisting WCO Members in developing E-Commerce strategic and operational frameworks, working in close cooperation with E-Commerce stakeholders. It will be equally useful for Members who are seeking to enhance existing frameworks in order to effectively meet the requirements of new and evolving business models.
Africa Climate Week: Africa crafts message of sustainability for international climate negotiations (UN Climate Change)
“Africa can, should and will be the leader of ambitious climate change action in the world,” said David On’are, a Director at Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority, citing a key message coming out of regional ministerial discussions that took place this week in Nairobi. “There is the need to raise ambition, interest, innovation and mobilize the necessary means of implementation to address climate change.”
Today’s Quick Links:
India’s trade deficit with China up twofold in a decade to 2016-17: can India benefit from US-China trade war?
Mozambique thermal coal to compete with South Africa for MENA market
South Africa’s wheat import tariff revised downward by 45%
South Asia Economic Focus: jobless growth?
East Asia and Pacific Economic Update: enhancing potential