Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Sebastian Liste | NOOR for FAO

Diarise: High Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region (3-4 September, Berlin)

Featured tweet from @ChilesheKCOMESA (COMESA’s new SG): COMESA will set up stakeholder outreach to enhance the visibility of our programs in Member States. We will also set up monitoring and evaluation to understand why Member States are not domesticating decisions that they have agreed on.

IDEV 2017 Annual Report (AfDB)

The Independent Development Evaluation has presented its 2017 Annual Report to the AfDB Group Committee on Operations and Development Effectiveness. The report highlights key findings, lessons learned and recommendations drawn from eight evaluations, one comparative study and two knowledge events on private sector development completed by IDEV in 2017. It also describes some of the key challenges faced by IDEV and its strategic priorities and plans for 2018, notably in the area of learning and partnerships. “Overall, IDEV’s 2017 evaluations found that the effectiveness of Bank-funded operations is satisfactory. Frequently observed weaknesses were in the areas of sustainability, efficiency and inclusiveness,” said Rakesh Nangia, Evaluator General at the Bank. Extract (pdf):

Central Africa is the least integrated region of the continent. It is also a region struggling with multiple development challenges that have to be addressed through a combination of efforts at national and regional levels. In 2017 IDEV undertook an evaluation of the Bank’s regional integration strategy and operations in Central Africa for the period 2011-2016. In general, the evaluation found that the Bank Regional Integration Strategy in Central Africa was relevant but unrealistic and not well known by development partners. Furthermore, it found no visible influence of the strategy on the design, the portfolio, the implementation and the effectiveness of multinational operations in Central Africa, compared to the period when the strategy did not exist. [IDEV’s Ongoing evaluations; Recent evaluations]

Rwanda: Investor Perceptions Survey 2018 (World Bank)

The current Rwanda Investment Climate Reform Program focuses on addressing macro level constraints in the business environment in Rwanda, including improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government to business services, and developing selected priority competitive sectors. As part of this collaboration, the WBG and RDB agreed to collaborate in undertaking an in-depth study of investment perceptions and specific investment constraints faced by exporting firms in eight priority economic sectors - tea, horticulture, agro-processing, minerals, manufacturing, tourism and ICT and healthcare. Key findings for Rwanda-based investors include:

Key location drivers: Rwanda-based investors emphasise stability and regulatory environment when deciding locations on their investment. This is an indication of Rwanda’s sustained performance in these areas in the eyes of investors; 56% of existing investing cited “Political/Economic stability” among their top three drivers for investment, followed by 52% having “Security” among top three drivers for investment. Comparative location rankings: Existing investors have quite similar perceptions about Africa in general, but considerably better perceptions about Rwanda as 91% find Rwanda “Attractive” or “Very attractive” which is significantly more than for Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. Rwanda challenges: 79% of investors with operations in Rwanda mentioned that Rwanda’s market poses a big challenge mainly because of its small size followed by the fact that it is hard to access quality labour in Rwanda. 52% of investors based in Rwanda noted that high production costs resulting from high airfreight, financing and electric costs are the next big challenge especially in the manufacturing oriented sectors.

Creating markets in Ghana:  pdf Country private sector diagnostic (835 KB)  (World Bank)

The objective of the Ghana Country Private Sector Diagnostic is to identify the main opportunities for the private sector that will have a strong development impact in Ghana and to highlight the key constraints (both cross-cutting and sector-specific) hampering private sector growth. The CPSD consists of a systematic assessment of all of Ghana’s economic sectors along two dimensions: (i) desirability: how private investments in these sectors could help Ghana to address its development challenges; (ii) expected feasibility: how the constraints standing in the way could be removed. This sector scan led to identification seven priority sectors, of which, three were selected to conduct deep dive studies: namely agribusiness, ICT and education. Four main opportunities exist for the private sector to make a major contribution by creating markets in Ghana. [Ghana’s Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone: update]

South Africa asks US to ‘back away’ from punitive tariffs (Bloomberg)

South Africa has asked the US to not implement punitive tariffs that could make its economy collateral damage in the trade war with China, according to the nation’s Trade Minister Rob Davies. South Africa has been hit by steel and aluminum tariffs and the detrimental effect could be exacerbated if they are extended to the automotive industry, which the minister said accounts for about 7% of South Africa’s economy. “If you take out autos, iron and steel and you take out aluminum, what is the remaining value for us of AGOA. This is not just a one-way street and our constituents will respond and who knows where that will take us.” [Multimedia: interview with Rob Davies]

Agriculture-related updates

Ghana: Banana exports surge to 70,000 tonnes (GhanaWeb)

Banana exports from Ghana have grown from about 3,000 tonnes per year in 2007 to over 70,000 tonnes in 2017, positioning the commodity as second to cocoa and oil palm in agricultural produce exports. Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in Charge of Horticulture, George Oduro: “I am reliably informed that 20% of the country’s banana exports go to fellow West African countries of Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin. This is significant, given that the achievements give great impetus to the efforts and objective of promoting regional trade in line with the goals of ECOWAS.” Production and exports of bananas from Ghana wwas started by Volta River Estates in 1994. The industry was faced with huge challenges under the EU country-specific quota agreement – the tariff regime for banana exports from ACP countries into the EU – making it unattractive for newcomers to venture into the industry - until some significant changes took place in the EU Banana Tariff Regime in 2005. [African banana farms fear being wiped out by Brexit if UK favours Latin American trade]

Opportunities for digital financial services in the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire: insights from new data (World Bank)

Côte d’Ivoire has the world’s largest cocoa sector, producing over 1.4 million metric tons of raw cocoa per year, accounting for 32% of world production. Harvest payments often arrive late due to the complex logistics of cash-based payments and, it is not uncommon for the amount farmers receive to be somewhat below market value due to high commissions taken by chains of intermediary middlemen. Cognizant of these costs and inefficiencies, many actors in the cocoa value chain are exploring alternatives. This research focuses specifically on mobile money accounts and discusses (i) how these have already expanded financial inclusion in Côte d’Ivoire and (ii) how mobile money could help deliver products to cocoa farmers that meet their needs. The study is a knowledge product of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa: Minister Davies endorses ITAC recommendation for an increase of import duties for sugar (DTI)

Extract from lengthy DTI statement: The Minister of Trade & Industry, Dr Rob Davies has endorsed the ITAC recommendation for an increase of import duties on sugar to $680/ton. This follows an application launched by SASA to ITAC in February 2018 for an increase of dollar based duty from $566/ton to $856/ton and intensive investigation by ITAC. While the level is not at the maximum bound rate as initially requested by the industry in the application, the $680/ton will provide the immediate relief urgently required by the industry and sufficient trade protection against the surge of imports. The tariff forms part of a set of measures considered by government, in collaboration with the industry in order to improve the sustainability of the industry and future growth prospects.

Kenya overtakes South Africa, becomes biggest exporter of avocados in Africa (Selina Wamucii)

Kenya avocados’ impressive volumetric growth rate per year and access to new markets has helped it overtake South Africa as the number one exporter of avocados from Africa. According to trade statistics from the International Trade Centre, Kenya became the 11th largest exporter avocados in the world in 2017, exporting a record volume of 51, 507 tons. South Africa, traditionally the lead exporter of avocados from the continent, relinquished the position and trailed Kenya for the first time in five years with 43, 492 tons. Even though these two countries’ figures are a far cry from the 48.4% market share of Mexico, they are nonetheless impressive for each country. While Kenya boasts new markets like the Russian Federation and South-East Asia, South Africa has over 90% of its exports going to EU countries.

Evan Girvetz: De-risking agricultural investment in Africa (Financial Times)

Agricultural lending interest rates in Africa are frequently in double digits, reaching as high as 47% in some countries. According to the AfDB, less than 3% of total bank lending in Africa goes to a sector that accounts for about 70% of all employment and more than 40% of gross domestic product. Originally designed to inform a $250m World Bank Climate-Smart Agriculture Project, so-called CSA profiles have been produced for 14 African countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For the first time, we have a detailed snapshot of the diverse climate risks each of these countries is facing, and an analysis of the factors that are driving or hindering the adoption of climate-smart practices. Take Kenya, for example, where agriculture generates 28% of GDP and annual exports worth more than $2.5bn: [The author is a senior scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture]

Crucial agreement with China could save Mozambique’s forests (IIED)

Mozambique exports 93% of its timber to China, so the country has a pivotal role in ensuring that Mozambique’s forests have a future. In June, the two countries signed a MOU in which they agreed to work together to stop forest destruction and enable Mozambicans to share the benefits from forest production with Chinese investors. This move is a crucial opportunity to help save these forests. Through it, Mozambique can become an influential example to other countries in how to develop practical systems for processing forest products based on sustainable sourcing. [Download: China in Mozambique’s forests: a review of issues and progress for livelihoods and sustainability]

Zim aquaculture export volumes down 12% (The Herald)

Zimbabwe’s fish exports volumes declined 12% between February and April 2018 from the prior comparable period due to high business costs, official figures from the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council show. “The persistent increases in the cost of doing business have decreased the country’s competitiveness in export markets with cost of fish feed often cited as a major cost driver in farmed fish,” said the Council. [Egypt: Fishing for opportunities]

Wednesday’s Quick Links:

New postings from ECOWAS: ECOWAS-ECCAS peace and stability summit (28 July, Lomé); ECOWAS Council of Ministers: final report of the 80th ordinary session (7-8 July, Lomé)

Degol Hailu, Tsegaye Lemma: Can the diaspora resolve the foreign exchange crunch in Ethiopia?

Lesotho: AfDB posts EOI for individual consultant for a value chain analysis for potato sector

IFC: What we learned about corporate governance and code development in Sub-Saharan Africa

NEPAD-JICA annual dialogue: update

Reuters: China says US solar tariffs violate trade rules, lodges WTO complaint

Chinese oil importers shun US crude despite tariff reversal

Report of the UN Secretary-General on the work of the organization for 2018


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