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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo Credit: UNCTAD

19 Jul 2018

A preview: SADC Industrialisation Week (30 July - 1 August, Windhoek) on the theme of Promoting infrastructure and youth empowerment for sustainable development.  Register here.

The 20th COMESA Summit concludes today in Lusaka(i)  Statement by Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, outgoing COMESA SG(ii)  COMESA's new Secretary General is Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe:  a brief profile(iii) COMESA's membership grows to 21 following the admission of Tunisia, Somalia(iv) COMESA Annual Report 2016-17 (pdf)   

SADC-PF gravitates towards regional parliament (New Era)

Conspicuous efforts are being made to transform the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament. One of those efforts was the recent convergence of SADC national speakers in Angola, who lobbied that country’s president Joao Manuel Lourenço to become one of champions for the transformation of the forum and influence his peers in the region. Speakers were gathered for the 43rd plenary assembly of the SADC-PF. At the meeting, President Lourenço affirmed his support and added that all the necessary preparatory processes should be put in place and communicated at the next SADC summit slated for Windhoek, Namibia, next month. SADC-PF parliamentarians were in agreement that a regional parliament was necessary to harmonise legislation such as the eradication of child marriage and protection of those already in marriage, development of standards for elections in SADC region, regional integration and issues related to gender equality and 50/50 regional gender parity target for parliaments.

First Cape to Cairo fibre network: update (Liquid Telecoms)

Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt, Egypt's integrated telecom operator, have signed an MOU that will enable Liquid Telecom to shortly complete Africa's terrestrial fibre network, stretching from Cape Town to Cairo. The announcement was during Afreximbank's 2018 Annual Meetings.  In terms of the MOU, Liquid Telecom will link its network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt's network via a new cross-border interconnection, bringing together a 60 000km network that runs from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central and Eastern African countries, and has now reached the border between Sudan and Egypt.

Shoprite and Angola: operational update (pdf, Shoprite Holdings)

In spite of difficult trading conditions, the Shoprite Group increased total turnover by 3.3% to approximately R145.6bn in the 12 months to June 2018. Excluding the impact of the Angolan hyperinflation accounting adjustment, the Group’s turnover increased 3.6%. The Group turnover growth in this operational update has been prepared taking into account the effect of hyperinflation in Angola for the first time in accordance with IAS 29: Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies, effective from 3 July 2017.  The Group’s core business, Supermarkets RSA performed well, achieving 5.7% sales growth for the year with internal inflation dropping to only 0.3% from 5.9% last year.  Supermarkets Non-RSA recorded negative turnover growth of 7.0% in Rand terms which impacted overall Group sales performance. The slower Non-RSA sales is mainly attributed to the normalised performance of the Angolan operation following the 65.9% compound growth in turnover over the prior two years and the 50.2% devaluation of the Angolan Kwanza since January 2018. Excluding Angola, Supermarkets Non-RSA managed to achieve a positive sales growth of 3.0%. [Shoprite shares fall on poor sales outside SA]

2nd Somalia Partnership Forum: communiqué  (Mareeg)

We commend the FGS and FMS for recently reaching historical Petroleum and Mining Revenue Sharing Agreements and an interim Fisheries Revenue Sharing Agreement. We encourage the full implementation of these agreements, including the passing of necessary legislation. These undertakings will enable Somalia’s economy to generate significant revenue, particularly domestic revenue, and we encourage the FGS and FMS to engage in transparent, accountable, and sustainable management of Somalia’s natural resources for the benefit of all Somalis.  We support the Central Bank of Somalia’s currency reform initiative, which is a high priority for the FGS. We agree that a successful launch of the new national currency will constitute tangible reform progress on the monetary side, uniform the payment system in the country, and reinforce national unity. We commend the renewed commitment by the FGS and private sector to build on the successes to date of the public-private dialogue, in particular to develop shared visions for key sectors (energy, financial and telecommunications) and expanding international markets.

Ghana's economy seen up to 40% bigger after data overhaul - officials  (Reuters)

“The indication is that this year’s rebasing will add 30% or more to the size of the economy. It could be up to 40%,” a senior official close to the government’s economic management team told Reuters. Ghana’s $47bn economy ranks eleventh in Africa after Tanzania, according to IMF estimates for 2017. A 30% expansion will move it up one spot. The statistics office plans to announce the new data in September, together with second quarter GDP growth. This year’s rebasing would automatically make the government’s deficit and debt levels appear more benign. But it also means Ghana’s already low tax revenue as a ratio of GDP would further slide below the regional average, analysts said.

Ethiopia says reforms "to unleash private sector" (Reuters)

Ethiopia is open to selling off a host of state-owned firms, either partially or entirely, as part of a major economic reform drive designed to “unleash the potential of the private sector”, its information minister said on Wednesday. In an interview with Reuters, Ahmed Shide said the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed - which has announced a stream of reforms since coming into office in April - would retain majority holdings in the state-run airline, logistics, telecoms and energy companies. However, everything else from hotels to sugar farming to cement production could be up for sale, with the sole exception of the tightly controlled financial services sector whose fate was yet to be decided, he said. [Related resource: tralac's Ethopian intra-Africa trade and tariff profile]

Nigeria:  ABC survey shows US companies contributed over N111 billion to Nigeria in 2017 (Nairametrics)

A survey conducted by the American Business Council in collaboration with Accenture, KPMG, and PwC to assess the overall economic impact of US firms in Nigeria, has shown that the contribution of 74 US companies reinforce the role of the US play in Nigeria’s economy, in areas of job creation, investments training and development, tax, corporate social responsibility (CSR), agriculture, amongst others. The survey sampled over 100 US companies operating in Nigeria.  The survey result made available to Nairametrics, suggests that though ease of doing business in Nigeria has improved, businesses still face dire challenges. Inspite of the challenges, US companies operating in Nigeria have showed renewed focus, committed in human capacity as well as financial investment. 

Profiled AfDB EOIs:

(i)  Intra-African Food Market Integration: challenges and policy options. The study also aims to critically assess the ongoing initiatives and other continent-wide efforts to remove policy-related barriers to food trade and discuss lessons learned from the success stories in food market integrations from other regions of the world. Specifically, the study will clearly define outcomes and implementable recommendations, focusing on specific African sub-regions and food commodities. Accordingly, the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department of the AfDB  is seeking to hire highly qualified three Consultants who will join a team of Bank staff to draft chapters of the Report.

(ii)  The contribution of South African state owned enterprises to economic transformation and inclusive growth (in support of the National Planning Commission). The SOEs considered will include: ESKOM, Transnet/PRASA/SANRAL), Telkom/BroadBandInfraco/SITA with an eye to public sector roll out in the three spheres of government. The study will look at these sectors and identify any common factors which seem to drive under- or over-performance at given SOEs.

World of Work in the 4th Industrial Revolution: inclusive and structural transformation for a better Africa (T20)

Numerous opportunities present themselves to African countries as they grapple with the potentially destructive effects of the 4th industrial revolution and the need to transform their economies for sustainable and inclusive development. These include:

Social policies for a changing population in Southern Africa (World Bank)

This report studies how demographic change is likely to affect demand for social services in Southern Africa and how today’s policies can be shaped to reap potential benefits from demographic dynamics and address the population’s evolving needs. The authors define the social sectors as education, health, and social assistance and social policies as policies related to these three sectors. The study illustrates how social policies designed to fit with evolving demographic structures are likely to lead to wealthier and more productive future generations, fostering growth and equity. But the reverse also holds: ill-tailored social policies can hold back countries’ development and heighten intergenerational tensions.   Extract (pdf): 

Southern Africa’s task now is to avoid this trap. The cold fact is that if the current social and economic environment does not change, it may be caught in it. Yet this picture could change dramatically with the help of strategic “inclusive policies” tailored to the education and labor market success of the new population structure (Figure IV). Simulations find that improving educational attainment could raise GDP per capita in 2050 in Swaziland and Lesotho by as much as 18% more than if current policies continue. Raising employment ratios up to OECD levels could make South Africa’s GDP per capita quadruple rather than triple in that time period. In Botswana, policies that stimulate higher productivity through better-quality education and technology could increase per capita income 14% more than in the business-as-usual scenario. Simulations also suggest that inclusive growth policies complement each other: simultaneous implementation could lead to greater impacts than the contribution of each policy alone. If all policies went into effect at once, South Africa’s GDP per capita would almost quintuple rather than triple by 2050. It would more than triple in Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, and almost triple in Namibia.

EU, Japan sign Economic Partnership Agreement (EU)

The agreement will remove the vast majority of the €1bn of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan, and has led to the removal of a number of long-standing regulatory barriers, for example on cars. It will also open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural exports and will increase EU export opportunities in a range of other sectors. With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:

Thursday's Quick Links:

South Africa seeks to strike trade balance at BRICS Summit says dti official

International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds has just posted its Annual Review 2017

Christine Lagarde: Policy challenges and opportunities for the G20

IMF's G20 Surveillance Note

Europe has just hit Google with a record $5bn fine: expect fireworks

A new report from the ICC Commission on the Digital economy: ICT, policy and sustainable economic development. Download here (pdf)

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