Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Xinhua | Pan Siwei

Profiled call for papers: Fourth African Interna-tional Economic Law Network Biennial Conference:

The AfIELN 4th Biennial Conference (18-20 July 2019, Strathmore University, Nairobi) invites academics, practitioners, and government officials to submit papers that examine the recent crop of African trade, investment and economic partnership agreements as well as the AfCFTA and their impacts on Africa’s economic development. The conference committee invites submissions that address Africa’s participation in international economic law in the 21st Century in the following 21 areas (pdf):

2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit: selected speeches, commentaries

(i) President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony. To build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, China will, on the basis of the ten cooperation plans already adopted, launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond. Extracts:

First, China will launch an industrial promotion initiative. We have decided to open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China; we encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa, and will build and upgrade a number of economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. We will support Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, work with Africa to formulate and implement a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation on agricultural modernization.

Second, China will launch an infrastructure connectivity initiative. We have decided to jointly formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan with the African Union. On the basis of following multilateral rules and procedures, we will support African countries in making better use of financing resources of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, and the Silk Road Fund.

Third, China will launch a trade facilitation initiative. We have decided to increase imports, particularly non-resource products, from Africa. We support the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area and will continue to hold free trade negotiations with interested African countries and regions. And we will set up relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation with Africa.

Fourth, we will launch a green development initiative. We have decided to undertake 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa to expand exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection. A China-Africa environmental cooperation center will be set up, and more policy dialogue and joint research on environmental issues will be conducted.

(ii) Remarks by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. There has been rapid growth in Sino-African trade, with China now being Africa’s largest trade partner. Much of what is exported from Africa are raw materials and primary products; much of what is imported from China are finished goods. We export to China what we extract from the earth; China exports to us what it makes in its factories. This obviously limits the ability of African countries to extract the full value for their abundant natural resources and to create work for their people. It is through platforms like FOCAC that we should work to balance the structure of trade between Africa and China. We welcome the fact that, in addition to trade, China has become a major investor in the continent. As we look to expand Chinese investment in Africa, we need to encourage more local partnerships between Chinese and African entrepreneurs. Through the transfer of knowledge and technology, such partnerships can contribute to the development and sustainability of African businesses. [Ramaphosa: International trading order must be upheld]

(iii) Remarks by Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. Somalia’s coastline has historically been key to facilitating trade between China, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Now, with the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and our reserves of untapped resources, Somalia has the potential of becoming a driving force for regional connectivity and prosperity. By seizing these potential economic opportunities, Somalia can contribute to regional and global stability and prosperity.

(iv) Remarks by UN SG, António Guterres. Fourth, promoting sustainable fiscal policies. UN country teams are fully committed to supporting African nations to seize their full potential of their cooperation with China. At the same time, we all need to work together to guarantee the financial sustainability of African development. Sound fiscal policies are an essential pillar for sustainable development. It is imperative that we support Africa to both preserve and create fiscal space for investments. That includes a concerted global effort to combat tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows allowing to contribute to the success to the strong African commitment to fight corruption as agreed at the African Union Summit in early January 2018.

(v) CARI’s Deborah Brautigam: China’s FOCAC financial package for Africa 2018 - my quick analysis in “four facts”

(vi) Atlantic Center’s Aubrey Hruby: Dispelling the dominant myths of China in Africa

South Africa: Economy shrinks by 0,7% in Q2: 2018 (Stats SA)

The South African economy slipped into recession during the second quarter of 2018, shrinking by 0,7% quarter-on-quarter (seasonally adjusted and annualised). This followed a revised 2,6% contraction in the first quarter of 2018. The widely recognised indicator of recession is two (or more) consecutive quarters of negative growth (real GDP quarter-on-quarter). South Africa experienced its last recession during the 2008–2009 global financial crisis with three consecutive quarters of economic decline. The 0,7% downturn in the second quarter of 2018 was a result of a fall-off in activity in the agriculture, transport, trade, government and manufacturing industries. [Downloads: latest GDP report, data, media presentation]

Mauritius: Second Quarter trade deficit (Statistics Mauritius)

The trade deficit for the second quarter of 2018 works out to Rs 27,789m, 15.8% higher than the deficit of Rs 23,999m for the corresponding quarter of 2017. Compared to the previous quarter, the deficit was higher by 32.0%. Total exports for the second quarter of 2018 amounted to Rs 20,238m, 0.5% lower compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017. Total imports increased by 8.3% from Rs 44,347m in the second quarter of 2017 to Rs 48,027m in the second quarter of 2018. Forecast 2018 (pdf): Based on recent past trends and information from various sources, the forecast of total exports and imports for the year 2018 is maintained at around Rs 84,000m and Rs 193,000m respectively. Trade deficit for 2018 is therefore expected to remain at Rs 109,000m.

Egypt: Africa Forum 2018 dates confirmed

The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency today confirmed dates for the Africa 2018 forum (8-9 December, Sharm El Sheikh). This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Egypt taking over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, making it a platform to help shape private sector priorities for the coming year. The theme for this year, ‘Bold leadership and collective commitment: advancing intra-African investments’, reflects the need for policy makers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take tough decisions to advance and fast-track development across the continent. The organisers have confirmed that five African heads of state have already confirmed their participation, including the newly-elected Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who has been leading the drive to get commitment from other African heads of State to sign the AfCFTA. This year, the Forum will have a day focusing on the role of women in helping them define the continental priorities in a gathering called Women Empowering Africa.

Afreximbank presents trade facilitation programme to Egyptian banks

The Afreximbank Trade Finance Facilitation Programme, which compromises a Trade Confirmation Programme and a Trade Confirmation Guarantee Programme, is being offered in response to the increasingly stringent compliance and regulatory requirements being imposed by international banks on African banks for trade confirmation lines. Those requirements have resulted in the international banks reducing or withdrawing trade lines to African banks and in confirming banks having risk capital and capacity constraints to support trade finance transactions. Participating in the session, which took place on 27 August, were executives from 24 banks. The participants were informed that Afreximbank will be undertaking a roadshow to 10 African countries (Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Cameroon, DRC, Mali and Burkina Faso) to promote the programme.

Related: An interview with Egypt’s Industry Minister. Egypt’s exports to Africa represent 0.007% of Egypt’s total non-oil exports annually and account for only 1% of Africa’s imports from the world. Consequently, through our export plan, we seek to increase Egypt’s exports to Africa to 2% of its imports from the world. The ministry focuses on a number of export industries that are most popular and capable of doubling exports and have added value, namely engineering, food, chemical, pharmaceutical, building materials, and ready-made garments.

Mozambique: Chinese partner invests $3bn in Chongoene port, railway system (Club of Mozambique)

Just over $3bn could be invested in establishing a cabotage port at Chongoene and rail links to the Limpopo Corridor in Macarretane, together with extensions to projects such as Chibuto’s heavy sands industry areas in Gaza and Jangamo in Inhambane. Taking part in the China-Mozambique Business Forum in Beijing, Muyaque chairman Leonardo Simão said that there was already a partnership with China Railways International Group to materialise the project. After a preliminary assessment, parties were discussing how to move forward to detailed studies to determine costs, the time required for implementation and the return on investment. The idea is that, in addition to the port, a railway line and branch lines linking Inharrime and Chibuto will be built for the heavy sands projects, which on their own make the initiative viable.

Dar, Kampala now strike deal over sugar row (Business Daily)

Tanzania and Uganda have reached an agreement on how to conduct cross-border sugar trading between the two EAC partner states. This comes after Tanzania recently slapped a 25% import duty on 12,000 bags (600 tonnes) of Ugandan sugar. The permanent secretary in the ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Prof Joseph Buchweishaija, told The Citizen that, following their recent meeting in Kampala, the two countries agreed to sort out their differences on how Tanzania should import sugar from Uganda. “We agreed that when there is a sugar deficit in Tanzania, our Ugandan colleagues will fill the gap, and that will happen only when there’s a surplus there.”

According to Prof Buchweishaija, sugar was just one of the many subjects that the top leaders from the two countries deliberated upon during their Second Session of the Joint Permanent Commission meeting in Kampala last week. Prof Buchweishaija’s Ugandan counterpart, Mr Julius Onen, said in Kampala that Uganda plans to propose a quota system that would allow the EAC member countries to enjoy “first option” status in the event that there is commodity scarcity within the community. With the quota system in place, he said, the EAC member states would automatically be given the first shot in case of scarcity.

High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region (3-4 September, Berlin): Opening statement by UNDP’s Achim Steiner

Needs identified by governments to strengthen resilience in the region amount to $2.3bn for a medium timeframe of three years. While the number might seem high at first, I recall that we are addressing root causes of a large-scale crisis with a need to tackle multiple issues simultaneously. To reduce the dependence on humanitarian assistance and to put the region on the path of sustainable development, humanitarian, stabilization and development agents must work in sync. Scaling-up development interventions in the Lake Chad Basin Region while humanitarian assistance continues will be key to reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen resilience with a long-term perspective. We are convinced that despite operational challenges, it is possible to invest now to strengthen the resilience of individuals, communities and institutions and make the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda a reality for them. Relevant frameworks for action do exist, nationally and regionally: [Remarks by Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, pdf]

Tuesday’s Quick Links:

Zimbabwe: Manufacturing Firm Survey 2015-2016 data is available for download from the DataFirst Open Data Portal

Lesotho’s textile and apparel sector: This week’s African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor contains a special feature on the implications of the new minimum wage increase in Lesotho.

South Africa’s coal exports slump to 1-year low


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