Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Profiled African REC, trade and development events starting today:  

  1. In Lomé: Joint ECOWAS, ECCAS Summit of Heads of State and Government

  2. In Kigali: African Tax Authorities Forum

  3. In Durban: IORA's 8th Bi-annual Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials.  It will be followed by the 5th Indian Ocean Dialogue (1-2 August), and the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (3 August)

  4. In Nairobi: 2nd Kenya Trade Week, on the theme Powering Kenya Big 4 Agenda through Trade

A profile of the new ECOWAS Commission President, Cote d’Ivoire’s Jean-Claude Kassi Brou

Trade in services and employment (Unctad)

In this study we examine the link between employment and trade in services by using the WTO-OECD TiVA database on trade in value added statistics. We explore the employment potential of trade in services in comparison with merchandise trade and quantify the employment elasticity of services exports. Extracts (pdf):

Among developing countries, only a few countries have managed to become global suppliers in services: China and India are the leading services exporters among developing countries followed by Singapore and Hong Kong (China). More importantly, the gap between the few successful cases and the rest of the group has been widening. Just ten countries produced about 70% of developing countries’ services exports in 2015, which corresponds to 21.2% of the global total. The gap was much smaller a few years ago: the top 10 accounted for about 61.9% of developing countries’ services exports in 2005.

Developing countries’ rising share in services trade has been asymmetric across product categories. While they account for around 30% of world services exports (figure 2) the share rises up to around 45% in construction and travel services, in which developing countries gained a significant rise in market share during the last decade, falling to 5% in charges for intellectual property and 14.5% in financial services. There are noticeable increases in developing countries’ share in telecommunications, computer, and information services as well as in financial services over the last ten years. Yet, out of a 10 percentage point increase in the telecommunications, computer, and information services exports share, about 8 percentage points is due to rising shares of Chinese and Indian services exports.

Despite this progress, many developing countries are still facing challenges in establishing internationally competitive productive capacities in the services sector. In many developing countries, services imports are increasing faster than exports leading to persistent, and for some countries widening, trade deficits in services trade (figure 3). From 1990 to 2015, the gap between world services imports and exports shares of developing countries widened from about 4 percentage points to 8.2 percentage points. There is also stark contrast between developed and developing countries in services trade balance over the 2010-2015 period (figure 4). While most developed countries compensate their trade deficits in merchandise trade with surpluses in services trade, the opposite is the case in developing countries. Although the persistence of trade deficits in services is present across all regions of the developing world, it is particularly visible in LDCs.

Nigeria launches Coalition of Services Industries (NOTN)

The Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations has launched the Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries with the strong support of private sector market operators, regulators and competent authorities. The NCSI will function as a lobby group to support trade in services; validate services priorities for Nigeria; and, formulate inputs and advice on positions for Nigeria in domestic, regional, continental and multilateral trade negotiations. The NCIS will identify measures for improving Nigeria’s competitiveness for trade in services. The Director General of NOTN, Ambassador Osakwe said: “The Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries was an overdue necessity to re-balance the national dialogue and exchange of views on trade and economic policy matters relevant to diversification, and accelerating recovery and growth”. He told the meeting that even “at the regional level, in ECOWAS there was no Schedule for Specific Commitments on Trade in Services”. This was a gap that required urgent filling, more so because services accounted for approximately 54% of the Nigerian economy”. [Related: AITCR statement on its AfCFTA research agenda, collaborative relations with NOTN]

ECOWAS establishes regional product certification mark (Leadership)

The ECOWAS Commission has adopted the draft documents for the establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Product Certification Scheme (ECOMark) within the framework of the West Africa Quality System Programme implemented by UNIDO, with 12m Euro funding from the European Union.

Ghana: ‘Don’t sack us from retail markets; we will pay taxes’ - Nigerian traders (GhanaWeb)

Nigerian traders in Ghana have lauded the government for suspending its directive to sack foreign retailers from the various markets in the country. The Trade Ministry last month issued a directive to foreign traders operating in the market to move out by 27 July. But the ministry later suspended the directive, citing low education and inadequate consultations. The Ghana Union of Traders Association has expressed its disappointment over the current development and has asked members to defend their businesses. The Association has accused the foreigners of selling fake and substandard goods to the Ghanaian consumers.

Ghana’s footwear manufacturing industry collapsing - Association (GhanaWeb)

“We have been neglected for far too long as one of the nation’s most lucrative industries which employs more than 300,000 people along the value chain,” Mr Addo Kuffour, spokesperson and an executive member of the Association, said.  Addressing a meeting of the Association at the Jubilee Park, Kumasi, he explained that the local footwear industry, which served the needs of countries in the West African sub-Region, including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Cameroun, had taken a considerable nosedive. “We are no longer able to compete with the influx of imported and inferior products on the Ghanaian market, and this is a worry to all stakeholders,” he noted, adding that this called for prompt intervention on the part of government to save the situation. The Association, amongst others, is advocating the promulgation of comprehensive policies and regulations to revamp the industry.

Mauritius: Greenhouse Gas emissions increase by 3% from 2016 to 2017 (GoM)

Greenhouse gas emissions went up by about 3% from 2016 to 2017, gross emissions increased from 5,403 to 5,572 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent, and net emissions, after absorption by forest and land use practices, increased from 5,040 to 5,207 thousand tonnes CO2 equivalent, according to a press communiqué released by Statistics Mauritius on Environment Statistics 2017 (pdf). In 2017, the energy sector accounted for the largest share of emissions (76%) followed by the waste sector (20%). [Mozambique: AfDB, IFAD help build knowledge on climate finance, natural capital]

Seychelles: World Bank's country partnership framework, FY18-FY23 (World Bank)

The first focus area, Sustainable Growth for Shared Prosperity, seeks the retooling of tourism and fisheries, the core sectors of the economy, to open opportunities for local business to generate higher value-added and better paying employment opportunities, especially, among the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution. The second focus area, Fostering Inclusion and Public Sector Performance, supports the government’s efforts to reorient its significant investment in social assistance towards investment in human capital, especially the bottom 40%.

Farmers’ Organizations in Africa (IFAD)

The Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme: Main phase (2013 - 2018) is a continental programme which strengthens the institutional capacities, policy engagement and engagement of value chains of African farmers’ organizations. This publication (pdf) highlights the main results achieved with SFOAP, focusing on (i) enhanced institutional capacity; (ii) benefits at farm level; (iii) improved FOs market linkages; and (iv) stronger policy influence. The publication also includes five brief stories on the results achieved in Madagascar, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, and the East African Community.

Japan mulls asking China to jointly develop infrastructure in Africa (Mainichi)

Tokyo is leaning toward Japan-China joint development in Africa, hoping to add impetus to improving bilateral ties ahead of a visit to China by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which Tokyo aims to realize in October. Japan intends to hold a meeting with China on Beijing's participation in a project to build roads across several West African countries before Abe's trip to China, the sources said. Tokyo has pledged more than 35 billion yen ($315 million) in loans and grants for the project, which would construct several roads connecting countries including Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The roads will total 4,000 kilometers in length.

WCO publishes 2018 edition of SAFE Framework of Standards

The 2018 version of the SAFE Framework (pdf) augments the objectives of the SAFE Framework with respect to strengthening co-operation between and among Customs administrations, for example through the exchange of information, mutual recognition of controls, mutual recognition of AEOs, and mutual administrative assistance. In addition, it calls for enhanced cooperation with government agencies entrusted with regulatory authorities over certain goods (e.g. weapons, hazardous materials) and passengers, as well as entities responsible for postal issues. The Framework now also includes certain minimum tangible benefits to AEOs, while providing a comprehensive list of AEO benefits.

Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development 2018: Asia-Pacific (pdf, IFAD)

One out of every 10 people (senders and receivers) in Asia-Pacific are directly affected by remittances. These private financial flows contribute to the region more than 10 times net official development assistance from all sources combined. Remittances to Asia-Pacific remain the highest in the world, at $256bn for 2017 (53% of worldwide flows).

New IMB report shows persistent piracy risk in Gulf of Guinea (ICC)

The second quarterly report from the ICC International Maritime Bureau shows that all 2018 crew kidnappings have so far occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in six separate incidents. The number of crew members taken hostage increased from 63 to 102 compared to the same time period in 2017. The number of crew kidnappings decreased from 41 by the second quarter in 2017 to 25 so far in 2018. However, all 25 crew kidnappings reported this year have occurred over six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, highlighting the higher risks in this area. Moreover, the true number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea is believed to be “significantly higher” than what is reported to the IMB PRC, says the report.

Monday's Quick Links:

Sweden adopts new development strategy with Zambia

Zimbabwe engages SADC over market access

ECOWAS moves to integrate gender into its peace and security architecture

New "smart city" offers glimpse into booming Mauritius-China cooperation

AfDB: Tunisia launches pilot project to use drones for data collection in agricultural sector

IMF on CEMAC: Economic outlook improving, but faster progress needed

Rand Corporation: The US-China trade war - different messages

IMF: Twin deficits in developing economies

OECD: Digital technology diffusion - a matter of capabilities, incentives or both? (pdf)

OECD: Globalisation, intellectual property products and measurement of GDP - issues and proposals (pdf)


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