tralac’s Daily News Selection
10th BRICS Summit Johannesburg Declaration
Extracts from Section IV: BRICS partnership for global economic recovery, reform of financial and economic global governance institutions, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
64. We recall that the WTO Dispute Settlement System is a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system and is designed to enhance security and predictability in international trade. We note with concern the impasse in the selection process for new Appellate Body Members that can paralyse the dispute settlement system and undermine the rights and obligations of all Members. We, therefore, urge all Members to engage constructively to address this challenge as a matter of priority.
65. We acknowledge the need to upkeep WTO’s negotiating function. We, therefore, agree to constructively engage in further developing the current legal framework of the multilateral trading system within the WTO, taking into consideration the concerns and interests of all WTO members, including in particular the developing members.
66. We note the steps undertaken on strengthening and ensuring the operational readiness of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement and welcome the completion of a successful test run of the de-linked portion of the CRA mechanism. We encourage cooperation between the CRA and the IMF.
73. We welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology in the Context of the Development of the Digital Economy. We believe that this work will contribute to our cooperation in adapting to the evolving internet economy.
Brand South Africa: The BRICS brand – from economic concept to institution of global governance (pdf)
This study demonstrates how intra-African free movement of persons can bring enormous socioeconomic benefits to the continent. It also explores some real challenges and costs in pursuing such free movement, but finds that, if managed well as part of the overall African integration and development strategy, the benefits of free movement of persons in Africa by far outweigh the costs. African States are invested in advancing and developing their economies by fostering greater intra-continental and global trade. The African people are part of that trade – ranging from small border traders, farmers, migrant workers to tourists, students or investors – and form a natural link or bridge between free movement and free trade. Free movement of persons is shown to be an integral part of the African free trade area strategy. Profiled recommendation:
The African Union and RECs have a pivotal role in coordinating synergy, cooperation and harmonization of regional norms and standards, and as such should further enable the phased implementation of free movement of persons by the following actions: In Phase I: Develop, adopt and promote a continental legal instrument to facilitate free movement of persons in Africa (i.e. the Protocol to Facilitate Free Movement of Persons in Africa, Right of Residence and Establishment for consideration by the African Union Assembly in January 2018); Prepare individual REC positions on how to implement free movement of persons in Africa in relation to the ongoing implementation process for REC free movement; Harmonize continental regional standards and norms on free movement of persons in Africa that include the CFTA and migration frameworks; Develop a common mechanism/dashboard/scorecard to monitor compliance and implementation of continental and regional legal and policy frameworks on free movement of persons in Africa.
The Africa Infrastructure Development Index: July 2018 (AfBD)
In general, AIDI scores (pdf) improved for virtually all countries between 2016 and 2018. The global index imputed for the entire continent has risen from 27.12 to 28.44. The range of performance for the top 10 countries, including Seychelles, Egypt, Libya, South Africa, Mauritius, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Cabo Verde and Botswana improved from 35.63-93.92 in 2016 to 36.79-94.32 in 2018 (Table I.1 and Figure 1). Generally, the bottom 10 performing countries made very marginal gains in their performance - less than one percent point on the average, except Ethiopia and Madagascar. It is important to note that most of the countries in this category are fragile states or/and emerging from conflict. Some countries recorded a decline in the overall performance index. They include Cabo Verde, 1.49; South Sudan, 0.34; and São Tomé and Príncipe, 0.24. In terms of ranking, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Rwanda and Uganda saw the biggest drop, falling two positions.
ICT emerges as the main driver of AIDI improvements: The ICT sector has driven the most improvements in the AIDI ratings over the past decade, compared to all other sectors. Sub-regional rankings remain stable: The ranking of the five regions remain unchanged, with North Africa remaining in the first position, followed by Southern Africa, West Africa, East Africa and Central Africa. The best performing sub-region to emerge is Southern Africa, with an average of 2.0 points, followed by West Africa - 1.55 points. The West African region recorded only 0.36 points - the lowest average in improvement.
Angola and the SADC Trade Protocol: update (dti)
South Africa's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe, and Angola's Secretary of Commerce, Dr Anadeu Leitao Nunes, agreed that it would be significant for Angola to be part of the SADC Trade Protocol as it would contribute to regional integration efforts. Both agreed during a bilateral meeting in Luanda last week. The meeting took place on the sidelines of a five-day trade and investment mission to Angola. Nunes concurred with Magwanishe and was pleased to pronounce that Angola would accede to the SADC Trade Protocol and that the roadmap was referred to the secretary of SADC. He said it ought to be discussed at the next meeting of ministers. He further said there was no turning back for Angola, as this was an instruction from President João Lourenço.
This paper recommends four key capacity-building initiatives that regional infrastructure financing should support. First, technical support should be given to member state-identified institutions that can serve as early stage champions for potential projects. Second, capacity building should support project championing and stakeholder engagement. This entails ensuring that SADC projects secure a dedicated project sponsor/manager (from a DFI or SOE, or a private consultant) and support meetings required to secure buy-in from necessary actors such as governments and SOEs. Third, capacity-building efforts should not neglect ‘soft’ issues such as regulatory and legislative harmonisation and supporting infrastructure (such as ICT connectivity along a transport route). Fourth, as an ongoing effort alongside support for specific projects, financing should also support continuing reviews and restructuring of the RIDMP, to remove unfeasible projects that were either ill-conceived or purely politically motivated, and support the refinement and de-risking of projects with real potential. [The authors: Lesley Wentworth, Chelsea Markowitz, Zinhle Ngidi, Tulo Makwati, Neuma Grobbelaar]
Africa’s continental free trade deal: What did Namibia sign up for? (New Era)
“Will Namibia benefit from the AfCFTA? The answer for the short term is probably no,” opines Wallie Roux, a local researcher and trade analyst. In his assessment, the main reason why Namibia signed the agreement is because the country is part of SACU and SADC. As such, countries with a larger manufacturing base and enabling physical and industrial infrastructure like South Africa are in a better position to gain from the expected benefits of the AfCFTA. “Namibia’s benefits in this regard would most probably be indirectly, except for a few potential export markets for some of our products, like beer for instance. However, Namibia’s logistics sector could benefit immensely due to the country’s strategic location and its already developed corridors to neighbouring countries.”
Nigeria: African free trade agreement splits private sector groups (Vanguard)
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, yesterday, dissociated the Organised Private Sector from the call by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture for the federal government to sign the AfCFTA. President of MAN, Dr Frank Jacobs, said at a news conference, that the position of NACCIMA does not reflect the position of the majority of the members of OPS, urging the government not to bow to pressure into signing the deal without addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders. “The position of NACCIMA is understandable, because it is an organisation of traders as opposed to those of us that are involved in manufacturing. A trader with a billion naira run a business employing less than 10 people but a manufacturer that has a billion naira plant will definitely employ more than 100 people. So, the difference is clear and government realises that. MAN believes that Nigeria may become a big player and key driver of improved volume of intra-African trade in an African Free Trade Area with the right market offer mix, rules of origin, countervailing measures, dispute settlement mechanism, non-tariff and technical barriers provisions, amongst other protocols and annexures. The only way to guarantee this positive proposition is to ensure that our negotiating team is guided by a credible and strategic country specific study. There is no wisdom in signing-on upfront only to end up struggling to find space in the accompanying Protocols and Annexures.” [Related: "MAN added that it has since commissioned a study and expects to have the report in one-month’s time"]
DHL Global Forwarding and Ethiopian Airlines have entered a joint venture, “DHL-Ethiopian Airlines Logistics Services Ltd.,” that will serve the entire continent of Africa based from Ethiopia – with Ethiopian Airlines holding a majority stake in the venture. “With its GDP growth, Africa is stepping into the spotlight as production hub,” CEO of DHL Global Forwarding for the Middle East and African regions, Amadou Diallo said. “Recent moves to open up the economy will continue to boost Ethiopia’s position as the fastest-growing economy in Africa.”
DP World to build and operate new logistics hub in Mali (pdf, DP World)
DP World has signed a 20-year concession with an automatic 20-year extension with the Republic of Mali to build and operate a 1000-hectare modern logistics hub outside of Bamako, the capital and largest city of Mali. The multimodal logistics platform, Mali Logistics Hub, will have inland container depots and container freight stations that will facilitate the import and export of goods. The Mali Logistics Hub will be located on the main road corridor from Dakar, Senegal to Bamako and close to the Dakar - Bamako rail line and will be capable of handling 300,000 TEU (twentyfoot equivalent unit), 4 million tons of bulk and general cargo. The first phase of the project, with an estimated initial investment of $50, will include an inland container depot and container freight station facility that will support the growth of the Malian economy by streamlining the import and export of goods. Construction is expected to start in 2019 and is to take approximately 18 months to complete.
Trade impacts of joining the Commonwealth: evidence from Rwanda (Commonwealth Secretariat)
Small–scale farmers of Africa and Denmark reject free trade agreements
ICTSD: EU, US leaders pledge to negotiate "zero industrial tariffs"; set up working group on WTO reform