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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Focus on Land in Africa

11 May 2018

Starting today, in Addis: Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Pointers: Agenda and programme, Side events, Documents.

Highlighted document: A note by the Executive Secretary on new strategic directions for the Economic Commission for Africa – putting ideas into action for an empowered and transformed Africa

The last restructuring exercise, undertaken in 2013, refocused the Commission’s programmes to make them more responsive to the transformative agenda of Africa. Since 2013, however, there have been significant developments at the global and regional levels that warrant further reforms by ECA to ensure that it can effectively implement its mandate and respond to the evolving needs of its member States. In the light of the above aspirations, the ECA sub-programmes will accordingly be recalibrated, taking due account of the Commission’s comparative advantages and programmatic priorities. The overall ECA programme of work will, therefore, be organized around the following nine interdependent and complementary sub-programmes...:

The following programme-related changes will be instituted: Sub-programme 1: The previous focus on macroeconomic policy is to be broadened to include economic governance matters; Sub-programme 3: The focus on innovations, technologies and the management of natural resources will be shifted to climate change, environment and natural resources management and repositioned as sub-programme 5. The focus on innovations and technologies as facilitators of development will be recalibrated to support all programmatic areas;

A new sub-programme 3 on private sector development and finance is to be introduced; The sub-programme on social development will be redesigned as sub-programme 9, with a special focus on poverty, gender and social policy; The capacity development work of the Commission will be mainstreamed as a core function across all sub-programmes, delivering knowledge through policy dialogue, advisory services and technical assistance; The five components of sub-programme 7 on sub-regional activities for development will cover selected thematic areas in line with sub-regional priorities.

On the AfCFTA ratification process: The AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga, hopes that the threshold of 22 ratifications can be reached in 9-12 months.

Highlighted extract from the latest AU Department of Trade and Industry newsletter: The AUC is organising the 3rd AU Customs Experts meeting on the Development of a Trade Facilitation Strategy for African countries, from 9-11 May, in Antananarivo.

Countering IFFs and money laundering in Africa: updates

Defining, estimating and disseminating statistics on illicit financial flows in Africa (UNCTAD)

This project (2018-2021) to be implemented by UNCTAD and ECA in collaboration with UNODC and ECLAC, will focus on developing a statistical methodology to estimate IFFs with an aim to: Gain knowledge on the size of IFFs and their origins; Provide evidence for a targeted and effective policy response; Improve the participating countries’ capacity to measure IFFs over time, and monitor the impact of policies put in place to reduce these flows. The statistical methodology and the insights from its pilot testing in nine African countries will be published as part of the project. The pilot testing will provide feedback to the development of a globally-agreed methodology to measure IFFs and the related SDG indicator 16.4.1, for which UNCTAD and UNODC are custodian agencies. [Maya Forstater: Why illicit financial flows and multinational tax avoidance are not the same thing]

From this week’s HLM on the Consortium to Stem Illicit Financial Flows from Africa: statement by AUC Deputy Chairperson Kwesi Quartey (AU)

Indeed, as we can all agree, the AU continent is taking tangible steps towards a coherent approach to curb IFFs. Non-African governments are doing the same which calls for a collaboration anchored on voicing common but differentiated responses – a coordinated collaboration underpinning the necessity to make the global financial architecture more transparent and to strengthen accountability towards improved government, societal and corporate responsibilities, further paving the path for an inclusive and sustainable development. The key task is to dismantle the system extracting wealth from Africa. This requires action by African civil society organisations to press for change in their countries, and action by civil society organisations in the countries that are enabling this wealth extraction to take place, such as the UK. Global elites have no intrinsic interest in changing a system that benefits them. It is critical for civil society organisations to expose the role of multinational corporations and Northern governments in impoverishing Africa and to step up their work in building coalitions to end tax dodging and other unfair resource transfers out of Africa. Recommendations of way forward:

Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa29th Technical Commission, Plenary Meeting ends today in Senegal. During the Plenary’s preliminary meetings, the follow-up reports on the mutual evaluation of Sao Tome & Principe, Benin, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, The Union of the Comoros and Guinea-Bissau, will be considered by the Evaluation and Compliance Group. GIABA meets twice a year with its officials and experts to analyze, monitor and identify strategies for the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures in Member States.

Tanzania records sharp decline in exports in 2017: trade minister (Xinhua)

Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage told the National Assembly on Thursday that exports of goods to China dropped to $142.3m in 2017, from $355.9m in 2016. Tabling his ministry’s budget estimates for the 2018/19 financial year, Mwijage said Tanzania’s exports to EAC countries also declined to $349.6m in 2017, from $437.7m in 2016. “Exports to the United States dropped from $139.2m in 2016 to $75.7m in 2017.” He added that exports of goods to SADC member states fell from $1,017.9m in 2016 to $877.8m in 2017.

Nigeria exports N29.146bn worth of agricultural produce, Jan-March 2018 (ThisDay)

The federal government’s initiative on export, especially agricultural commodities, is yielding results as a total of 45, 462 metric tons with free on board (FOB) value of N29.146 billion of agricultural produce were exported out of Nigeria between January and March 2018. Nigeria Customs Service official, Musa Abdulahi, said agriculture products export was responsible for 38, 517 metric tons with FOB value of N22.435 billion while processed and manufactured goods exported was 6,945 metric tons valued at N6.711 billion. This, he stated, represents an appreciable improvement of 558.46% in terms of volume and 402.24% in terms of FOB value when compared with the 8,140 metric tons valued at N7.246 billion recorded between January and March 2017.

Nigeria: Manufacturers canvass protection for products (The Nation)

Despite the ECOWAS trade liberalisation policy and other conventions to ensure free trade in the sub-region, there is a need for Nigeria to protect products. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria President Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs canvassed this position at the unveiling of Oxytocin injection manufactured by an indigenous pharmaceutical firm, Juhel Nigeria Limited, which he described as the first of its kind in Africa. He said the country owed it to itself to protect exclusive industries producing products that have intrinsic quality, irrespective of ECOWAS conventions, such as the Common External Tariff and the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. He said this was necessary to protect jobs and grow the economy.

Egypt: More local car components (Ahram Weekly)

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil issued a decree on 30 April increasing the local-component requirement for local car manufacturing to 46%. It also increased assembly-line contributions to local manufacturing to 28% from 17%, reducing it by one per cent each year. The decision gives companies a year to comply with the new criteria and adjust their operations accordingly. Kabil said the decision aimed to deepen the car-manufacturing industry in Egypt in line with fair and transparent criteria, adding that the previous target for local components had not reflected reality and had not helped achieve the ministry’s objective of establishing a car industry based on manufacturing and not just assembly in the country.

South Africa: Economic Development Department Budget Vote 2018/19 – speech by Minister Ebrahim Patel

Key aspects for a multilateral outcome on investment facilitation: a Brazilian perspective (ICTSD)

One possible element of a future multilateral outcome regarding investment facilitation could be a single electronic window (SEW). Before elaborating on the usefulness of a SEW, one has to place the issue into a wider perspective and identify what problems a future Investment Facilitation Agreement within the WTO would address. As a starting point, it might be useful to depict a common scenario faced by investors when investing abroad. Some of the practical challenges that the investor will most likely be confronted with are the following.

Banks and cryptocurrencies global evaluation: Africa (Cointelegraph)

Anticipation of a tech-revolution in Africa has been escalating since late 2017. Governments have shown little uniformity in their approach and attitude toward the booming crypto markets on the continent, but the underlying sentiment toward cryptocurrencies and decentralization is that it can provide humanitarian relief and transform the lives of underserved populations. The following assessment of cryptocurrency regulation in Africa is a part of a larger series of pieces evaluating regulation of the flourishing global fintech industry.

Boosting trade and development by tackling Africa’s supply chain challenges: policy recommendations and options (Wilson Center)

This brief (pdf) draws on the discussion to highlight key recommendations for addressing supply chain challenges. The discussion unpacked Africa’s supply chain development and integration at both the regional and global levels, described key structural issues impeding Africa’s role in international trade and intra-African trade, and emphasized a need to prioritize and improve infrastructure development to better support Africa’s supply chains. [Background paper: What are supply chains and why do they matter to Africa?]

7th Tana Forum: documentation on AU reform and 2017/8 responses to complex security challenges

This collection of policy briefs (pdf) seeks to contribute to achieving a homogeneous understanding and to influence ongoing dialogue on the AU’s institutional reforms. The scope covered in this collection ranges from the elements of the institutional reform process to actors, partnerships, financing peace and security and compliance to the reforms. The State of Peace and Security in Africa, a background paper for the 2018 Tana Forum, provides contextual information that should, hopefully, inform the nature, quality and direction of debate on peace and security issues on the continent.

Africa Regional Forum Agrees on over 50 messages for HLPF (IISD)

The fourth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development agreed on key messages to the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (9-18 July, New York). The meeting report includes over 50 key messages pertaining to SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 15 (life on land) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). The ARFSD convened in Dakar, from 3-4 May.

Today’s Quick Links:

Zambia raises concern to South Africa over attacks on truck drivers

Angola looks to services trade for more sustainable growth

ECOWAS parliament speaker, deputy differ on Morocco’s membership bid

19 of 35 Nigerian lawmakers absent as ECOWAS Parliament opens

China ready to work with African countries on aviation – Ambassador

US Congress needs notice of Nafta deal by next week, Ryan says

Brookings experts’ trade reading list

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