Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie | World Bank

Underway in Cape Town: tralac’s first training workshop for journalists who write on trade and integration matters.

The workshop includes practical exercises, reviewing case studies (including reports on the AfCFTA and SACU), the use of data, infographics/visualisation and the use of different channels of information dissemination (including social media). Download the draft programme (pdf).

AfCFTA updates

Namibia to sign N$50 trillion Africa trade deal (New Era)

President Hage Geingob yesterday confirmed that Namibia will soon sign up to the AfCFTA, which will give the country easier access to the African market currently valued at nearly N$50 trillion. Namibia has always been pro-AfCFTA but delayed signing the actual agreement to first ensure all its bases were covered through an inclusive consultative process, said Geingob during a meeting with AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. “Africa’s advancement remains first and foremost a matter for Africans. Namibia reiterates her commitment to the AfCFTA and the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment, and will expedite internal processes to sign and ratify these instruments. We might have sent missing or confusing signals but we are committed to the reform. We will be part and parcel of that reform. We would like things to be done in a consultative and inclusive way so we follow all the steps, so there is no way to say I was not part of it once it is implemented. We will implement Agenda 2063 and its first 10-year implementation plan in order to achieve the Africa we want.”

David Luke, a CFTA architect: No way Nigeria will abandon trade pact (African Business Magazine)

Similarly, Luke believes that Nigeria’s withdrawal is due to domestic pressures, but, like the Wallonia region, eventually, Nigeria will sign up to the agreement. “There is no way Nigeria will walk away from this deal,” he says. “ATPC analysis shows that Nigeria will be one of the major beneficiaries of the CFTA and the government knows that. So, they will have to bring the different groups together and allay their fears, which is what they are currently doing. The agreement gives larger economies access to a market of 1.2bn people with no added duty.”

From RECs to a CFTA: strategic tools to assist negotiators and agricultural policy design in Africa (UNCTAD)

Despite farming being the primary source of food and income in the region and providing up to 60 per cent of all jobs on the continent, the share of agricultural commodities in intra-regional trade is less than 30%. Meeting the standards required for integrating into global value chains will be a gradual process. In the interim, gains can be made from integration of regional value chains. Since agriculture accounts for 25% of African GDP, developing regional value chains for strategic agricultural commodities is essential to CFTA’s success, as they can help exploit economies of scale, lower production and marketing costs. Better agriculture directly correlates to improved livelihoods, given the sectors importance as a job-creator in Africa.

To maximize the opportunities offered by RECs in agriculture, it is necessary to deal with the overlapping memberships that hinder harmonization and standardization, as well as the enforcement of rules of origin. Looking exclusively at the strategic commodities 32% of all traded volumes flow through channels in which trade partners present two or three overlapping memberships. Unless a good dispute settlement mechanism exists, some disputes can threaten the continued operation of RECs and hinder the CFTA’s success.

The establishment of the CFTA will require all African countries to further develop their internal capacity to refine their regional trade policies and ensure that they are able to benefit from these various trade opportunities. To do this, they will need to strengthen their internal negotiations with key stakeholders to ensure that national policies and trade negotiation strategies reflect their interests. This will require regional trade policies that are inclusive, gender sensitive and well-articulated by their national trade negotiators. In this context, strategic tools (e.g. network analysis and value chain assessment) can assist these trade negotiations and be used to benchmark integration process of RECs into CFTA. [Note: This report (pdf) was prepared as part of the project, Strengthening capacities of African countries in boosting intra-Africa trade] [Public Private Partnerships pertinent to transforming agriculture, says AUC]

Gender and trade in the EAC: two new reports from UNCTAD, TradeMark East Africa

The report East African Community Regional Integration: trade and gender implications (pdf) – analyses the impact of EAC regional integration on women’s wellbeing in five of the six EAC countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda. UNCTAD also released an advocacy document called Advocating for gender-sensitive trade policymaking in the East African Community (pdf), which makes concrete recommendations to better guide trade policies to the benefit of women across the bloc, based on the findings of the report. Embedded with specific objectives and monitoring indicators, UNCTAD’s recommendations target eight areas:

Tariff liberalization in the EAC export markets led to an increase in women’s employment share in manufacturing firms in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, while women workers in Burundi were negatively affected. Production workers – those performing simple tasks such as maintenance and assembly line work – benefited the most, with little improvement for women in white-collar jobs. There has been a shift in economic activity away from agriculture towards services, and to a lesser extent, to industry. The shift in employment structure was relatively weak, however, especially for women: 96% of women in Burundi, 76% in Kenya, 84% in Rwanda, 71% in Tanzania, and 77% in Uganda are still employed in agriculture. In the EAC, women are predominantly self-employed or are contributing family workers, the two forms of vulnerable employment: this applies to 97% of women in Burundi, 73% in Kenya, 84% in Rwanda, 80% in Tanzania, and 83% in Uganda. Women also account for a higher share of informal employment. “Gender equality is not a natural outcome of the development process and there is a need to proactively promote gender equality policies,” Dr. Kituyi said.

Uganda: Company perspectives on non-tariff measures (ITC)

The results presented in this report (pdf) are based on a business survey implemented by ITC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives of Uganda. The survey was conducted from August 2015 to August 2016. The survey found that 226 of the 493 interviewed companies (46%) struggle with regulations imposed by Uganda and partner countries, with agricultural exporters facing more difficulties than exporters from the manufacturing sector. Companies that export coffee and processed foods are among the most affected.

Almost one-third of exporters’ difficulties are due to regulations imposed by members of the EAC, which is also Uganda’s top export market (buying 49% of its exports). This means the share of NTMs applied by EAC countries is proportionally lower than their export share. Conformity assessment and rules of origin are the toughest NTMs applied by EAC countries. Rwanda and Kenya imposed the greatest percentage of these regulations. EU countries impose a proportionally higher share of NTMs than their share of Ugandan exports. EU countries buy 21% of Ugandan exports but apply more than 27% of the reported NTMs. The United Kingdom and Belgium apply the most NTMs among EU countries, with technical requirements and conformity assessment being the biggest challenges for Ugandan exporters. Sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and technical barriers to trade together comprise 46% of the difficult cases reported by Ugandan exporters. A quarter of the cases involve problems with technical requirements and 21% concern difficulties with conformity assessment.

UNCTAD has posted two reports on key statistics and trends in international trade:

The status of world trade. This report is structured into two parts. The first part presents an overview of the status of international trade using statistics up to 2017. The second part provides illustrative statistics on international trade in goods and services covering the last decade. The second part is divided into two sections. Section 1 provides trade statistics at various levels of aggregation illustrating the evolution of trade across economic sectors and geographic regions. Section 2 presents some of the most commonly used trade indicators at the country level, so as to illustrate trade performance across countries.

Trade imbalances. This report is structured in two parts. The first part presents a discussion on trade balances. The second part discusses trends in selected trade policy instruments including illustrative statistics. The second part is divided into five chapters: tariffs, trade agreements, non-tariff measures, trade defence measures, and exchange rates. Trade trends and statistics are provided at various levels of aggregation illustrating the use of the trade policy measures across economic sectors and geographic regions.

Water and sanitation, energy and food-related logistics services. More presentations from UNCTAD’s Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development (which ended yesterday in Geneva):

(i) Note by the UNCTAD secretariat (pdf). Evidence suggests that liberalization alone is not sufficient to promote trade flows in energy services among partners. The liberalization of trade in electricity in the Andean Community has not led to an expansion of such trade, owing to a lack of interconnection; differing pricing practices associated with cross-border distribution and differing environmental, accounting and tax regulations. These factors can only be addressed through regulatory harmonization or cooperation among the parties concerned.

The logistics services category does not exist in the WTO classification. However, there is a category for transport services classified by modes – maritime, air, rail, road and other modes (pipeline, space and internal waterway transport). Within each of these groups are services such as equipment rental, pushing and towing services and generic supporting services, There is also a separate category called services auxiliary to all modes of transport (cargo-handling services, storage and warehouse services, freight transport agency services and others). The dispersion of logistics services throughout the sectoral classification list may be due to changes in business practices.

As experiences in some regions have demonstrated, it is necessary to address both market access issues and regulatory divergences. Regulatory divergences can be tackled, for example, through regulatory cooperation or convergence. Furthermore, data on water and sanitation, energy and logistics services, as well as trade data in these sectors, are difficult to collect. Better data remains critical for the development of these sectors. More steps should be taken to improve data collection in these sectors, as better data remains essential for evidence-based policymaking.

(ii) Trade in logistics services and food losses reduction: enhancing trade in food-related logistics and exporting opportunities in Africa (Donat Bagula, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communications, DRC)

(iii) Energy trade in Africa and achievements of SDG7: an African perspective (Mosad Elmissiry, Head of Energy Programmes, NEPAD)

Featured commentaries:

Ujal Singh Bhatia (Chair, WTO Appellate Body): address at the 11th Annual Update on WTO Dispute Settlement

Mukhisa Kituyi: The ‘fourth industrial revolution’ can power sustainable development, if we get it right

Arancha González Laya: It’s time to ditch our obsession with trade deficits. Here’s why.

Christine Lagarde: There’s a reason for the lack of trust in government and business: corruption

Lyal White, Liezl Rees: Africa is NOT rising or falling

Jacques Berthelot: The EU caught in the trap of Nigeria’s refusal to sign the West Africa EPA and the CFTA

Today’s Quick Links:

ECOWAS seeks to increase women’s participation in regional peace processes

Ethiopia, Kenya communiqué on cross-border infrastructure development and economic cooperation

Uganda, Egypt sign energy, agriculture pact

UN forum to coordinate global efforts to address worsening water shortages

The Lighthouse India Platform: an interview with Junaid Ahmad

India flays US at WTO for escalating trade tensions

Reuters: China ramps up checks on US pork imports in potentially costly slowdown

Dairy 101: The Canada-US milk spat explained

Wharton: The politics of data privacy in a post-Cambridge Analytica world


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