Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Kenyan Daily Post

Nigeria and the AfCFTA: National stakeholders’ sensitization and consultations, conducted by the NOTN, continue this week. Today’s consultation will be held in Calabar (South-South zone) while Wednesday’s consultation will be held in Lagos (South-West zone).

Rwanda deposits its AfCFTA ratification instruments – and becomes the first state to ratify the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport

Launching on Thursday: Migration and Structural Transformation in Africa. The Economic Development in Africa Report 2018 will highlight how intra-African migration is of relevance for regional and continental integration and offer new insights for African governments as well as for migration stakeholders outside the continent. By tracing patterns of intra-African migration and channels through which they affect socio-economic development outcomes in Africa, it adopts an innovative human-centered narrative in identifying opportunities for absorption of extra labour in different sectors across the continent.

Ghana: Introduction of Cargo Tracking Notes policy set for 1 June (GhanaWeb)

Starting this Friday – 1 June – all exporters to Ghana will be required to comply with the Cargo Tracking Notes policy before they can be allowed entry into Ghana and subsequent clearing of consignment of goods. The CTN requires that any exporter to Ghana, uploads details of the consignment onto a provided platform to allow the GRA reconcile duties paid with its locally generated data. It comes after an initial suspension in February 2018. The Cargo Tracking Notes is to allow the GRA fix loopholes in cargo under-declaration and under valuation at the ports. Initially, the importers and freight forwarders strongly opposed it; they explained the move will add unto their cost of operation. But after three months of suspending the program, a Tax Advisor to the Commissioner of Customs, Christian Sottie tells Citi Business News the cost will now be borne by the GRA. [Ghana: Textile workers laud government for fight against pirated textiles]

Liberia: President Weah gives Revenue Authority three days to reduce tariffs (Front Page Africa)

The Liberia Revenue Authority has three days, by directive of President George Manneh Weah, to ensure that tariffs on basic commodities are reduced. This, according to President Weah, would alleviate hardship in the country, which is being caused by high tariffs resulting to high prices of goods and services. “The President has observed that the current tariffs regime including the ECOWAS Common External Tariff is causing a serious hike in the cost of basic commodities in the country, thus adversely affecting the Liberian people, especially the poor. The President deems this as unacceptable and further expressed that it contravenes the premise of the pro-poor agenda,” noted a statement from the office the presidential press secretary. The CET was introduced to the Legislature in 2017 by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and called for its adoption. The introduction of the CET enabled Liberia to join other ECOWAS countries in establishing a common customs union, making trade and commerce easier within the ECOWAS sub-region.

Kenya risks missing Comesa deadline for sugar sector reforms (Business Daily)

Kenya is likely to miss the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa deadline for liberalising the sugar industry due to wrangles between governors and the Privatisation Commission over sale of mills. The Council of Governors has rejected the sale in its entirety, saying it will not solve problems facing farmers, instead demanding the assets revert to the counties. Previously, the governors were only opposed to the sale formula saying it was not in the interest of the growers. Chair of the agriculture committee at the CoG Okoth Obado says counties are able to run the mills efficiently on behalf of farmers. “We are not allowing the sale of these factories, we want them to be given to counties, which can operate them efficiently,” he said. In March, the Commission said it was targeting to complete the sale to private millers by August before the safeguards come to an end.

EAC trade policy updates: URA clarification on the ‘suspension’ of Single Customs Territory; The EAC’s Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry and Finance is meeting in Arusha

South African company to supply 110 coaches to Ghana railway (GhanaWeb)

Ghana’s Minister of Railway, Mr Joe Ghartey has revealed that South Africa’s leading railway and ports company, Transnet International Holdings will be supplying 110 wagons to the Ghana Railway Company Limited by end of this year. It also includes the supply of 22 coaches, two locomotives for the passenger service, and two power vans with first class kitchen to render first class services to passengers. Mr Ghartey says he is upbeat about the renaissance of the railway sector of the country with the coming on board of this partnership and is thus encouraging Ghanaians to be optimistic about government’s efforts at revamping the sector. He says with the coming on board of Transnet, the dream of revamping the ailing rail sector of Ghana will become a reality. He said the South Africans have shown an unflinching interest in the development of the rail network of the country, and are eager to roll out action plans quickly. [Kenya orders South Africa buses as Dar buys in Nairobi]

Afreximbank, China Eximbank to expand collaboration

The President of the African Export-Import Bank, Dr Benedict Oramah, met with Liu Liange, President of China Eximbank, for discussions on progress regarding joint initiatives being implemented by the two institutions and to identify new areas of collaboration. The two institutions also agreed to expand collaboration in trade finance to facilitate increased two-way trade between Africa and China.

Ghana: MoFA seeks Chinese assistance to revamp cotton industry (GhanaWeb)

A thirteen-member delegation, led by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, was in China to explore the possibilities of entering into the Chinese market with Ghanaian products. It also explored partnership in the cotton, cocoa products, the shea nut processing and fertiliser production as well as other areas of common interest. During a meeting with the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export Textile and Apparel, Mr Zhang Xi-An, Dr Akoto explained that he was liaising with the chamber to get Chinese companies interested in the cotton industry to consider investing in the production, processing and marketing of the cotton both locally and into the Chinese and other African markets. Dr Akoto said the government of Ghana had set aside 100,000 hectares of land for cotton production in the northern part of Ghana as a way of revamping the cotton industry. He invited the Chinese investors, especially those in the cotton industry, to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in the sector from the farm to garments, to feed the local market and the international market as well.


Selected new trade and economy reports from Statistics Mauritius

  1. External Merchandise Trade Statistics – March 2018 (pdf): The balance of visible trade showed a deficit of Rs 7,011 million in March 2018, higher by 7.8% compared to the previous month and lower by 4.3% when compared to the corresponding month of 2017. In March 2018, total imports increased by 14.9% compared to February 2018 and decreased by 5.2% compared to March 2017. In March 2018, total exports increased by 22.5% compared to the previous month and decreased by 6.1% compared to March 2017. The United Kingdom (13.4%), South Africa (12.6%), France (12.0%) and USA (7.7%) were the major exports destinations in March 2018 while imports were mainly from India (21.3%), China (10.8%), South Africa (10.8%) and France (8.9%).

  2. Economic and Social Indicators highlights (pdf): This ninth issue of the Economic and Social Indicators presents a set of estimates of labour force, employment and unemployment for the year 2017, based on the results of the Continuous Multi-Purpose Household Survey (CMPHS). The estimates refer to the Mauritian population aged 16 years and above in the Republic of Mauritius; foreign workers are not included. The Mauritian workforce is moving up the occupation ladder: The share of employment in the higher occupational groups (ISCO 1-3) comprising legislators, senior officials and managers; professionals; technicians and associate professionals increased from 15.7% in 2007 to 23.9% in 2017. On the other hand, the share of employment in the lowest occupational group (ISCO 9) representing elementary jobs decreased from 20.5% to 15.6%.

  3. International travel and tourism – 1st Quarter 2018 (pdf). The number of tourist arrivals for the first Quarter of 2018 increased by 4.9%, from 339,682 in the first quarter of 2017, to reach 356,415. The performance of our main markets, which accounted for 69% of total tourist arrivals for the first Quarter of 2018, is given in Table 1. Among the emerging markets, India, Russian Federation and People’s Rep. of China posted decreases of 0.2%, 3.0% and 17.3% respectively. Based on recent data on tourist arrivals and information gathered from stakeholders, the forecast of 1,410,000 tourist arrivals for the year 2018 is maintained. This results in an increase of 5.1% over the figure of 1,341,860 in 2017.

  4. Productivity and competitiveness indicators (2007-2017) (pdf): This issue of the Economic and Social Indicators presents indicators for the years 2007 to 2017 for the total economy, the manufacturing sector and Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE). Output, as measured by the Gross Value Added (GVA), is the total value of goods and services (exclusive of taxes) produced within a country. From 2007 to 2017, GVA at basic prices, in real terms, grew on average by 3.8% per annum. The contribution of different factors to economic growth is determined by the growth accounting technique. From 2007 to 2017, the contribution of labour to the 3.8% average annual growth in GVA worked out to 13% and that of capital to 61%. The remaining 26% represents qualitative factors such as training, management and technology.

Wheels of fortune: how Morocco plans to overtake SA motor industry (Business Day)

SA may be about to surrender its status as the home of Africa’s biggest motor industry. New investments in Morocco are forecast to push up the North African country’s automotive production. South African motor companies built 601,178 vehicles in 2017, compared with Morocco’s 376,826. Morocco, however, has set an annual production target of 1-million vehicles within 10 years while SA is targeting 1.2-million by 2035. Biggest is not necessarily best, but the challenge to SA’s long-standing supremacy on the continent underlines the need for industry and the government to protect the competitiveness of the motor industry when designing a successor to the 2013-20 Automotive Production and Development Programme.

South Africa: Why don’t investors flock to our special zones? (IOL)

South Africa has spent 10 years setting up our SEZs to attract investors, but now that the parks are ready, investors are not coming. We need to urgently address why this is the case if we want to court investment to facilitate job creation, which is the president’s top priority. It is not good enough to have merely built the nests, now we need to attract the birds. The government is gearing up for two major investment summits, the success of which is critical for our economy. We need to take a hard look at the fact that we have as many as 10 SEZs, and while there are investors, there are not enough. There are hardly even enough investors to sustain four SEZs, which means economies of scale are not there. So what exactly are these challenges? [SA trade delegation arrives in China for special economic zones investment roadshow]

Botswana: Trade and investment updates from President Masisi (GoB)

Allow me to reiterate here that Government will also expedite the implementation of the Special Economic Zones initiative which is expected to contribute immensely to the socio economic development of this country. This will be done through providing a hassle-free business environment as well as offering investors a competitive edge in world markets. We also wish to build on the recent success of the Botswana One Stop Service Centre and provide it with the requisite resources including all the seconded staff required from relevant Ministries so that it may service investors with high levels of effectiveness and efficiency. The Government of Botswana intends to establish a consolidated Board of Investment which will ensure that all requirements of investors are met effectively going forward. In the meanwhile, I expect all the agencies such as the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, the Botswana Development Corporation, the Special Economic Zones Authority, the Selebi-Phikwe Enterprise Development Unit and the Botswana Innovation Hub to work together and complement each other’s efforts to provide seamless service to investors who come to Botswana, as well as to facilitate expansion of existing investment. [Extracts from remarks from President Masisi at 44th meeting of the High Level Consultative Council, 24 May]

Today’s Quick Links:

Ethiopia to allow all Africans to visit without visas “very soon” PM Abiy Ahmed says

Kagame: No obstacle to African Union reforms is insurmountable

Negotiations on the post-Cotonou Agreement stumble on migration

SWAC OECD have launched their new online maps library: 400 maps of the Sahel and West Africa are available for download

Ghana imports $99.5m worth of tomatoes annually from Burkina Faso

TOR: Regional Assessment of hazards, vulnerabilities and risks in ECCAS countries (pdf)

Empowering producers in commercial agriculture: Malawi component to a new three-year IIED study, Zimbabwe update  

Wanted: Honorary Consuls for ‘cash-strapped’ African nations


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010