Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Reuters | Akintunde Akinleye

PIDA Week 2018: Realising Africa’s integration through smart infrastructure and good governance (Nepad)

The 2018 PIDA Week (29 October – 2 November, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe) will focus on five sub-themes (pdf): Project preparation, resource mobilisation and financing mechanisms; Capacity development, job creation and empowerment; Smart and integrated infrastructure development; Technology, innovation and industrialisation; Policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. As part of the strategy of cross-linkages with PIDA stakeholders, PIDA Week 2018 will incorporate the Africa Forum for Utility Regulators AGM and annual conference.

Strengthening the EU’s partnership with Africa: a new Africa-Europe alliance for sustainable investment and jobs (European Commission)

The European Commission, has today, proposed a new ‘Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ to substantially boost investment in Africa, strengthen trade, create jobs, and invest in education and skills. The package builds on the commitments taken during the AU-EU Summit which took place in November last year in Abidjan. Today’s proposal outlines a series of key actions that include (pdf):

  1. Boosting strategic investment and strengthening the role of the private sector, notably through increased de-risking of investment projects via blending grants and loans, and guarantees;

  2. Investing in people by investing in education and skills, at continental and national level to strengthen employability and match skills and jobs, also including scholarships and exchange programmes, in particular through Erasmus+;

  3. Strengthening business environment and investment climate, in particular by strengthening the dialogue with African partners and supporting their reforms in this field;

  4. Tapping the full potential of economic integration and trade: building on the AfCFTA implementation, the long-term perspective is to create a comprehensive continent-to-continent free trade agreement between the EU and Africa. To prepare this, Economic Partnership Agreements, Free Trade Agreements including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas on offer to the countries of North Africa, and other trade regimes with the EU should be exploited to the greatest extent, as building blocks to the benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Area;

  5. Mobilising an important package of financial resources, as reflected in particular in the ambitious proposal for the future Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the EU on external funding, where Africa is highlighted as a priority region. [Various downloads are available]

Compact with Africa: linking policy reforms with private investment (World Bank)

Over the past year, many of my colleagues in international development have been asking about the G20 Compact with Africa: What exactly is it? What’s in it for African countries? How is it different from what we’re already doing? How does it complement or further the World Bank Group’s ongoing work? Their curiosity reflects a growing awareness of the role the private sector must play in helping Africa achieve its development goals. During the Spring Meetings, the Bank Group presented the first Compact Monitoring Report to the G20 finance ministers. Three significant features of the Compact separate it from past practice..: Extracts (pdf):

From the introduction: Ten African countries - Benin, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia - have prepared reform matrices that set out commitments to maintain macroeconomic stability and undertake relevant business and financing reforms needed to enhance private investment. Implementation of these reforms is supported by their key development partners. This report, representing the first round of monitoring for the period ended February 28, 2018, is being conducted under the auspices of the G20 African Advisory Group co-chaired by Germany and South Africa. It includes self -assessments by Compact countries, the three IOs and relevant AAG members. It also provides an independent review by the African Center for Economic Transformation.

From the ACET independent review, on AAG Member Self Assessments. There was variability between the AAG reports with some of the assessments providing significant detail and others providing less. There was also variability between the number of activities indicated under public sector “reform support” versus the activities indicated under “private sector”. There were 52 private sector engagements or activities identified (out of 125 total activities indicated by AAG members), some of which may have been initiated prior to the launch of CWA. With a few exceptions, the AAG reports often focus on the activities of development agencies, rather than a “whole of Government” approach, that could in the future include development finance institutions, trade and investment support bodies, etc. [Blog author: Omowunmi Ladipo]

UNGA adopts three resolutions: including text on New Partnership for Africa’s Development (UN)

The General Assembly (Monday) adopted three resolutions, including one on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development , which it passed by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 2 against, (Dominican Republic, United States) with no abstentions. By that text, the Assembly notes with concern Africa’s disproportionately low share of the volume of international trade, which stands at approximately 2.65% for 2016, and expresses concern at the increased debt burden of some African countries. It calls upon developing countries and countries with economies in transition to continue their efforts to create a domestic environment conducive to encouraging entrepreneurship, promoting the formalization of informal sector activities in Africa, and attracting investments by, inter alia, achieving a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate with proper contract enforcement and respect for property rights, embedded in sound macroeconomic policies and institutions.

Presenting the draft resolution “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support” (document A/72/L.57/Rev.1) on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Sheyam Hamed Abdelhamied Elgarf (Egypt), said 2018 has seen greater openness in the drafting of the text. However, there was too much emphasis on shortening the text, which could significantly weaken the resolution. She said the draft seeks to emphasize the coherence and coordination of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa Agenda 2063. The fundamental importance of foreign direct investment is well outlined in the text, as well, she noted, adding that it speaks to international trade as an engine of international growth. It also calls for capacity-building, she said, while expressing the Group’s regret that it does not say more about Africa’s progress in agriculture. She expressed grave concern that a text on Africa’s progress is being put up for a recorded vote in the General Assembly.

African Regional Intellectual Property Organization launches regional IP database (ARIPO)

The centralized database with published IP titles from ARIPO and its member states is free and easy to access. It is designed to efficiently serve multiple purposes, including on-line provision of published IP data, encouragement of regional trade, IP scientific research, IP rights protection and enforcement in the ARIPO region, as well as sustainable development of IP. The database has information from ARIPO, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

India dethrones South Africa to emerge as Mozambique’s top export destination (Club of Mozambique)

India has dethroned South Africa as the main destination for Mozambique’s exports, according to the new [bilingual] 2017 yearbook (pdf) from the Mozambican National Institute of Statistics. India is the destination of 34.3% of the total value of exports, worth $1.6bn, almost double the sales to South Africa, which was first in the 2016 yearbook but slipped to second in the 2017 list, with only 18.7% of total Mozambican exports last year. On the other side of the trade balance, South Africa remains the country Mozambique imports most from, with a value of $1.6bn, equivalent to about a third of the total. The United Arab Emirates (9.5%), China (8.5%), The Netherlands (8.5$), India (7.8%), France (4.4 %), Portugal (4.2%), Thailand (2.3%), Japan (2.2%) and USA (1.9%) follow behind. [For the export and import data, see, 4.2.2 - Values of exports by country of destination, 2017 and 4.2.4 - Values of imports by country of origin, 2017, pages 96, 100, respectively] [Recession in South Africa means risks but also opportunities for Mozambique]

Tanzania and the AfDB: an EOI and an appraisal report

(i) Analyzing the macro-economic impact of oil and natural gas: EOI. The scope includes (pdf) : To analyze natural gas contribution in economic growth; To analyze the implications of natural gas on country’s fiscal policy; To analyze the impact of natural gas business on the rate of foreign exchange; To study the estimated oil and natural gas industry’s total impact on labor income; and study jobs directly or indirectly in the industry supported by those in the industry; To study its impact in services, wholesale and retail trade, finance/insurance/real estate/ leasing, manufacturing and transportation; To analyze the domestic and regional social-economic impacts of natural gas business (current and future projections).

(ii) Good governance and private sector development programme: appraisal report. Tanzania’s private sector development has continued to be hampered by several challenges including: infrastructure gaps especially in transport and energy, low access to finance, skills gaps and mismatch, and lack of business development support services. In order to address these constraints and challenges in the business enabling environment, GoT is embarking on a comprehensive program aimed at enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and predictability of the regulatory environment. The proposed operation (pdf) will focus on supporting improvements to enhance the enabling environment for the private sector as well as contribute to efficiency in the use of scarce public resources thereby creating fiscal space for Government investments in other priority areas, such as education and health.

Services globalization in an age of insecurity: rethinking trade cooperation (World Bank)

This paper makes the following arguments: Services trade negotiations have not led to much liberalization; Current trade disciplines are a useful but inadequate restraint on regulatory protection; Proposed trade disciplines on domestic regulation add value but do not solve existing problems and can create a new hold back problem; Insulating domestic consumers from international market failure is a precondition for further liberalization in many services sectors, and the relevant international bargain needs to be an exchange of regulatory commitments by exporters in return for market access commitments by importers; Such bargains are already being made or could plausibly be made in the areas of data privacy, financial services, labor mobility, and competition policy; But such bargains create a risk of exclusion for non-participants that can and should be addressed. [The author: Aaditya Mattoo]

Wednesday’s Quick Links:

ICTSD’s Shuaihua Cheng: 3 things the G20 can do to save the WTO

Casablanca to host Afreximbank’s annual meeting on ‘structured trade finance’

Tanzania’s SGR: update

Politics interfering with trade in East African Community

Sukuk – a new avenue for funding African infrastructure

African Union Day: statement by The Gambia foreign affairs minister

The digital economy: unlocking its full potential to drive Malaysia’s development

India: A logistics powerhouse in the making?


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