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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Simon Dawson | Bloomberg

27 Aug 2018

Underway, in Arusha: Meeting of EAC-SACU technical officials on an exchange of tariff offers

Starting today, in Nairobi: EAC meeting to develop a harmonised framework for a data management system for cross-border financial flows

Featured story map, from FEWSNET: Southern Africa Regional Outlook, June 2018 - January 2019. Download: print version (pdf)

Profiled commentaries on today’s Kenyatta, Trump meeting in Washington:

(i) The Standard: Trade ties top the list in Uhuru date with Trump

(ii) Daily Nation: Trump’s ‘America First’ seen in trade deals with EAC

(iii) Financial Times: Africa looks for something new out of Trump

Theresa May to lead ambitious three-nation trip to Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya (Downing Street)

The Prime Minister will use a speech on the opening day of the visit in Cape Town, Tuesday, to set out how we can build this partnership side by side with Africa, particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16% of the world’s people but just 3% of FDI and 3% of global goods trade. The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations.

Response to IIPA comments to USTR regarding South Africa’s Copyright Amendments Bill and AGOA eligibility (Infojustice)

The American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property is an academic research program that promotes the public interest in intellectual property policy. We coordinate the Global Expert Network on Copyright User Rights, a group of leading copyright academics from around the world that publishes research and provides technical assistance to explain how adopting more open, flexible and general user rights can promote social and economic interests. We write in reference to the August 1, 2018, filing of the IIPA, in respect of South Africa’s proposed copyright amendments. IIPA claims that adoption of the South Africa copyright amendment bill “would place South Africa out of compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria regarding intellectual property.” We find this claim wholly unsupported (pdf). [Commentary by Professors Sean Flynn and Peter Jaszi] [Additional commentary: Mike Palmedo

India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee: outcomes (DoC)

The 8th meeting of India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee was held in Nairobi (22–25 August). The meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu and Mr Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Government of Kenya. The discussions during the meetings covered India’s contribution in implementation of Kenya’s Big Four Agenda – food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing - expansion and diversification of bilateral trade, Kenya’s readiness to join the International Solar Alliance, implementation of Lines of Credit, of over $220m, extended by Government of India in power transmission, SMEs development, revival of the Rivatex factory and agricultural mechanization, implementation of decisions taken during the high level exchanges, cooperation in health, blue economy, agro-processing sectors and WTO related issues; and training and capacity building programmes offered by India. Related: The joint trade meeting took place against the backdrop of India’s exports to Kenya dropping to $1.97bn in 2017-18 from $4.11bn in 2014-15. India’s imports from Kenya too slowed down from $117.42m to $72.57m during the same period. [Bank of Baroda looks to sell subsidiaries in Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago]

African trade updates

Assessing the short-term impact of the AfCFTA on the Zambian economy (COMESA)

Stakeholders from the public and private sector in Zambia have been trained in using the World Banks’ Tariff Reform Impact Simulation Tool (TRIST) model to assess the impact of the AfCFTA on the Zambian Economy. The two-day training was organised by the Statistics Unit at COMESA Secretariat after a request for technical assistance from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Participants were given chance to interpret simulation results of the short-term impacts on customs revenue, industry protection, trade diversion as well as identifying any sensitive products in the envisaged intra-African trade agreement. [Dr Mukhisa Kituyi: Africa has phenomenal potential for intra-continental trade]

North-South Corridor: Transit trucks increase at Beitbridge (The Chronicle)

The volume of transit haulage trucks passing through Beitbridge Border Post and destined for countries north of the Zambezi River has increased by 47,5% in the last six months, compared to the same period last year. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s acting head of communications, Mr Taungana Ndoro, confirmed the developments yesterday. He said they had processed a total of 103 351 bill of entries for transit cargo between January and June this year in comparison to 54 244 during the same period last year. These include both incoming and outgoing trucks. According to Mr Ndoro, the turnaround time on bill of entry processing for correctly lodged entry is between two to five hours. “During the period under review we processed a total of 46 438 local trucks on the exports section and 69 564 were handled on imports section (in 2018). You will note that we processed 44 005 and 63 910 on exports and imports (local trucks) last year between January and June,” said Mr Ndoro. Our Harare Bureau is reliably informed that a total of 15 000 people (inclusive of arrivals and departures), 60 buses and 2000 light vehicles use the border post daily. [Mozambique: Zimbabwean inefficiency hits Limpopo line]

Zimbabwe: CZI projects up to 6% jump in capacity utilisation (NewsDay)

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has projected average manufacturing capacity utilisation to grow between 4,5% and 6% this year, a significant recovery from last year’s dip. CZI president Sifelani Jabangwe told journalists in Bulawayo that he was optimistic that average capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector would surpass last year’s level. “Before SI64 was put in place in 2015, we were basically on our knees, closing a lot of the companies. With the implementation of SI64, we have seen growth in capacity utilisation. In 2016, the growth was 0,6%. We had also stagnated. Then after the implementation of SI64, growth jumped to 3,7% in 2017.” Industrial capacity utilisation peaked at 57,2% in 2011, before sliding to 44,2% in 2012; 39,6% in 2013; 36,3 % in 2014 and 34,3% in 2015. [Related: Business calls for adoption new Zimbabwe currency]

Mauritius: Tourism earnings for 2018 estimated at Rs 64 billion (GoM)

The forecast of tourism earnings for 2018 has been revised from Rs 62.5bn to Rs 64bn by the Bank of Mauritius, according to a press communiqué(pdf) issued by Statistics Mauritius. This figure represents an increase of 6.2% compared to Rs 60.3bn recorded in 2017. Tourist arrivals for the first semester 2018 reached 646,865, up by 3.4% compared to the first semester 2017. The performance of the country’s top 10 markets for the period January to June 2018 was: France (+6.8%), Reunion Island (-9.1%), United Kingdom (+2.9%), Germany (+11.9%), South Africa (+16.2%), India (+2.9%), People’s Republic of China (-13.5%), Switzerland (+6.2%), Italy (-2.1%) and Austria (+0.3%).

Nigeria: GDP grew by 1.50% YoY in real terms in Q2 2018

Broadly speaking, growth in Q2 2018 was driven by developments in the non-oil sector as the services sector recorded its strongest positive growth since 2016. However, the relatively slower growth when compared to Q1 2018 and Q2 2017 could be attributed to developments in both the oil and non-oil sectors. [Download:  pdf Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report Q2 2018 (4.49 MB) ]

Nigeria: Cocoa exporters say 30,000 tons stuck on port roads (Bloomberg)

Travel to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports that previously took hours, now takes as much as four weeks as trucks struggle through cratered and water-logged roads to get there, Pius Ayodele, president of the Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria, said. The affected cargoes are either in traffic jams or stored in transit warehouses in Lagos. “A greater part of this travel time is spent at the epicenter of the congestion which is just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the ports,” Ayodele said by phone from the southwestern cocoa-trading center of Akure. Haulage costs have gone up “about 400 percent because of the turnaround time to get to the ports, to get loaded and get out of the ports,” Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in an interview in Lagos. This will either erode the profit margins of companies or get passed on to consumers, Yusuf said.

Newly posted Enterprise Surveys: Chad Country Profile 2018, The Gambia Country Profile 2018 (pdf), Sierra Leone Country Profile 2017, Liberia Country Profile 2017

The race is on to secure the world’s biggest trading bloc: China is leading the way (WEF)

This potential force is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) comprising China, ASEAN countries, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand as well as Korea. At the end of August trade ministers representing the 16 potential members of the block are set to meet to discuss further steps towards solidifying the trade union in an effort to reach strike a deal by the end of this year after nearly six years of negotiations. The new mega-block is set to aggregate several large-scale FTAs, including the free trade agreements between ASEAN countries and China as well as India. If concluded the agreement would give rise to the largest mega-block and the first veritable mega-regional integration arrangement, which accounts for nearly 3.4 billion people and close to 40% of the world’s GDP on a PPP basis. [Analysis by the Valdai Discussion Club] 

Monday’s Quick Links:

Luke Patey: The Chinese model is failing Africa

Anzetse Were: Secret behind rise in Sino-Africa relations as Western grip wanes

Mombasa port: Crisis as agencies and traders clash over cargo

New Zealand: $4.44b annual trade balance highest in nine years

Reuters: China’s July industrial profit growth cools for third straight month

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