tralac’s Daily News Selection
Diarise: Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum (25 October, Lagos). The Forum will also see the launch of TEFConnect, the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs, dedicated to connecting African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem. TEF entrepreneur-ship programme: abridged impact report (pdf)
SADC Summit updates:
Briefings by SADC Directorates
SADC moves towards multi-currency regional payment settlement system. “Settlement in US Dollars on the current platform is expected to go live in October 2018, while the whole multi-currency platform is expected to be fully operational by December 2019,” Dr Tax said during the official opening of SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia.
Implement visa exemptions. Namibia’s International relations and cooperation minister and new chairperson of the SADC council of ministers, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, made the call during a pre-SADC summit briefing in Windhoek yesterday, following the conclusion of the meeting of the council of ministers. Nandi-Ndaitwah said member states which have not yet implemented the visa exemptions have until August 2019 to “expedite the negotiations and report on progress” at next year’s meeting. Nandi-Ndaitwah further urged member states to operationalise the regional gas committee to develop the regional gas master plan and commit to the regional priority power projects aimed at enhancing the security of energy supply, and to “take the necessary measures to enhance the packaging of projects and creating an enabling environment for energy sector reforms to attract investors”.
East Africa states seek to unlock stalemate over ATM link (Business Daily)
East Africa’s banking customers could soon gain access to cheaper ATM withdrawal charges after regional governments moved to review financial laws to enable an integrated regional banking switch. The switch connecting Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania banking systems, which was expected to go live in 2015, has been held back due to failure by the regional finance ministers to agree on how to review and align banking legislations in their respective countries. On Tuesday, however representatives of EAC regional member states kicked off a meeting in Mombasa to unlock the stalemate that will see the implementation of study recommendations for interoperability of card switches and cross-border payments. [CGAP presentation: Interoperability in East Africa (pdf)]
Tanzania: Kigoma traders seek govt aid to ease cross-border business (The East African)
Kigoma’s regional business community has called for the waiving of visa requirements for businesspeople from neighbouring countries that are not members of the EAC, so as to boost small-scale trade with those countries. Speaking in a meeting with deputy minister for finance and planning Dr Ashatu Kijaji yesterday, members of the business community described the visa requirement as a major hindrance to cross-border trade with countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. The current visa fee alone stands at $50, plus a $10 vaccination fee for businesspeople from non-EAC member countries. The secretary of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture branch in Kigoma, Prosper Guga, cited the lack of international banks in countries like both the DRC and Kigali as another obstacle since it forces people to travel with bulks of cash for business transactions.
Featured tweet by @fitsumaregaa (chief of staff to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister): Addressing the poor export performance and weak trade balance is an urgent priority for Ethiopia. PM Abiy today met with key industry actors and regulators of the coffee sector to address the binding constraints in order to improve productivity, value addition and export earnings.
Ghana and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation: update (GhanaWeb)
Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, Director of Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry has disclosed that government has developed a roadmap for implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to ease the cost of doing business. Ghana became the 104th country to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in January, 2017. Announcing the details of the roadmap in Accra, at a business forum of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, Nyame-Baafi said cross border trade will be increased by 40%. He said the country will also witness a 40% reduction in clearance cost for imports, exports and transit goods. Nyame-Baafi, added, the number of documents required for imports and exports will also be reduced by 2022. “As much as possible, only five or less documents will be needed to clear exports and five to clear imports and these will be paperless.” Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in July this year, announced reforms to reduce the number of agencies undertaking joint inspections to three from a current 16.
Rwanda: Construction works of inland cargo handling facility near completion (New Times)
Rwanda’s efforts of becoming a regional trade logistics hub have gained impetus after Dubai Ports World group said it is set to operationalise the country’s largest inland cargo handling facility following completion of the first phase of construction works. The United Arab Emirates firm signed a 25-year concession agreement with government in 2016 to construct and manage the facility dubbed ‘Kigali Logistics Platform’. Construction works on the Masaka based facility are currently on the verge of completion and installation of machinery and equipment is underway. Built on 969,000 sq. ft, the cargo handling facility has features such as container yard and bonded warehouse, among others. The facility is supposed to have 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and 640,000 tonnes of warehousing space. [Investors taking notice of Africa’s unexploited transport and logistics opportunities]
Kenya: KRA cracks down on bulk imports by small traders (Business Daily)
Julius Musyoki, Commissioner for Customs and Border Control, told Parliament that traders who have been importing goods in groups using one container under one person’s name will be required to file the certificate of conformity separately. “We will require consolidators importing goods under one container to submit individual pin numbers, identity card numbers and mobile phone numbers. Even if they declare the cargo under one name, each of the consolidators will file individual records to claim their goods. This will see them included into the tax base,” Mr Musyoki told the Senate Committee on Tourism and Trade chaired by Charles Kibiru. The traders had petitioned Parliament against the taxman’s decision to destroy all goods in a container found with a few contraband items, arguing that only the illicit goods should be have been seized.
Kenyan manufacturers seek COMESA’s support to stop counterfeits (COMESA)
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has urged COMESA to consider establishing a institution to deal with counterfeits and dumping in the regional market. At a meeting between COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe and the KAM team, led by Acting CEO of KAM Mr Tobias Alando, they expressed concern that counterfeits and dumping constituted up to 40% of manufactured goods in the region. They cited the establishment of COMESA Competition Commission as a successful initiative that could be emulated in the fight against counterfeits and dumping. The resolution of a longstanding non tariff barrier whereby Kenya milk and edible oils are barred from entering the Zambian market was also discussed.
Nigeria: NEPC, UNIDO move to curb rejection of exported dried beans (The Guardian)
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has partnered with UNIDO to end the high level of rejection of Nigerian produce in the global market. The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Olusegun Awolowo, explained that the partnership had become imperative to address European Union’s suspension on the export of Nigerian dried beans due to high level of pesticide residue which he said was far above the Maximum Residual Level.
Nigeria: NIRSAL projects $4.4bn revenue from agricultural exports in 2018 (The Guardian)
Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending has projected the country’s agricultural exports revenue to reach $4.4bn by the end of this year. Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, who disclosed this to Bloomberg, said that NIRSAL has disbursed $373m to farmers in the past year to help increase production of export crops.
South Africa: SA close to tax deal to lure VW, Ford, BMW investment (Bloomberg/Fin24)
The government is close to agreeing to new tax breaks for international carmakers including Toyota, Ford and BMW in return for initiatives to boost jobs and exports, according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. A deal on a 15-year incentive programme to replace one that expires in 2020 should be reached this year, Davies said in an interview on Tuesday. While work is still to be done, failing to reach a compromise could lead to companies closing plants and building vehicles elsewhere, he said. “We will be spending probably R2bn or R3bn a year on support for the auto programme,” the minister said at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. “This is it. You either do it or you don’t have a motor industry.”
Visa-free travel for Angola, Zambia citizens begins (The East African)
Angolan and Zambian citizens no longer need visas to travel between the two countries after the visa waiver came to effect on Thursday. “We have abolished visa requirements for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders in the two countries,” Angola’s ambassador to Zambia, Balbina da Silva, told journalists in Lusaka. Citizens of the two neighbouring countries can travel without a visa restrictions for a period of 30 days. However, to reside, work, study or seek medical care in any of the countries, the citizens will need to apply for a permit.
Thursday’s Quick Links:
The State of African Cities 2018: the geography of African investment
Bank of Namibia governor Ipumbu Shiimi: Import productive goods only
Zambia seeks $22m in tax on internet calls
Nigeria-Benin Seme border post is commissioned
CGAP Blog: Super platforms in Africa – not if, but when
Australia and Morocco: opportunity for trade and dialogue
India’s investment in Nigeria hits $10bn