tralac’s Daily News Selection
Women and African trade:
A set of postings, complementing tralac’s recent newsletter on the same theme
i) Why do gender issues matter in trade relations? How do trade policies affect women differently? How do we create trade policy that improves women’s lives? Find out more in tralac’s pdf Women in Trade FAQ (389 KB)
ii) UNCTAD online course on trade and gender devoted to SADC: registration details. This course (15 October - 9 December) targets academics (from universities and research centres), policymakers and representatives of civil society involved in research, teaching, policy formulation and implementation, advocacy or field work in the area of trade and gender. Qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in Economics, Statistics, Agriculture Economics, Law, Political Science or related area, as well as working knowledge of English. The deadline for applications is 30 September 2018.
iii) Women in trade in East Africa: TradeMark East Africa posts an RFP. The RFP is for a needs assessment study to determine the information needs of women in trade across East Africa and how these challenges can be addressed using different options, including ICT.
iv) The launch of the West African Cross-Border Women Traders Association. The Nigeria chapter of the New Faces New Voices, an initiative of the Graca Machel Trust, in partnership with the United Parcel Service, the US-headquartered global logistics company, has commenced the implementation of the second of NFNV Nigeria’s “Raising Voices for Cross Border Traders in West Africa” project. The implementation began with a two-day regional roundtable with stakeholders on women cross-border trade in Dakar last week. Aishatu Debola Aminu said the project would develop a high level advocacy tool for presentation to the ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments on the need to formally mainstream women cross border traders into the economies of the sub-region.
Korkor Cudjoe: “During the first year of the project, we will identify viable products and markets to produce and market; we will then pilot a train-the-trainer model for 30 women who will subsequently train and mentor women cross border traders over a period of 9 months. We will then replicate the model in two other countries of the region during the second year and then conduct a Pan African expo to strengthen trade linkages and access new markets.”
Binta Ibrahim: “There is very minimal investment in the collection of informal cross-border trade in the ECOWAS region except for Ghana and Liberia. ICBT data is collected through various methods: border observation or monitoring, tracking and stock taking techniques. Therefore, we need to find a way to gather data to monitor relevant information towards achieving our objective.”
v) World Bank Africa Region: pdf Gender Action Plan FY18-22 (328 KB) This RGAP replaces the previous RGAP for FY13-17 and is especially timely given the launch of a new WBG gender strategy in FY16, the recent shift in how the WBG identifies country level priorities with the introduction of Systematic Country Diagnostics, and the change in the system that the Bank uses for monitoring gender integration in Bank operations. The new RGAP is also timely given the recent release of the Global GBV Task Force Report and associated Action Plan for Implementation, outlining recommendations to strengthen institutional tools, systems, and processes to prevent and mitigate the risks of sexual exploitation and abuse and other forms of gender-based violence in Bank-supported projects.
This RGAP starts from a discussion of five-well established priority thematic areas (section 2). While these areas provide a clear operational focus, there are emerging issues in the region for which there is a need to further strengthen the knowledge base. Section 3 discusses these frontier issues and how developing evidence can help lead to effective and scalable interventions. Section 4 provides the channels for implementing the plan and section 5 provides key indicators to monitor progress. The five thematic areas that have been identified as encompassing the most pressing gender issues in sub-Saharan Africa are: reproductive health and demographics; gender gaps in schooling and issues around adolescence; gender gaps in agricultural productivity; gender gaps in entrepreneurship and access to jobs; and gender constraints related to fragility, conflict, and violence. Frontier issues, where efforts will be focused on developing emerging evidence to fill knowledge gaps, include:
vi) EAC launches Gender Policy. The EAC Gender Policy, which was launched at the EAC Headquarters this week, has been developed to provide guidance on institutionalizing gender strategies in the EAC integration process, in addition to ensuring that the rights of women and men, boys and girls are promoted, protected and realised on an equal basis. The policy further aims at strengthening the mainstreaming of gender concerns in the planning and budgetary processes of all sectors in the EAC Organs, Institutions and Partner States. The Director of Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Ms Mary Makoffu, said there was still misleading data and contradictions between targeted programme interventions and those incorporating gender perspectives across different sectors.
vii) African Women: Economic Futures. The African Women’s Development Fund convened a workshop (13-15 September, Accra) of a select group of activists, scholars, researchers and policy shapers to help build and think through a thoughtful, progressive and transformative vision for the future of women in African economies. The workshop forms part of a larger movement-building process and ongoing conversation and activism around African women’s economic transformation. Some of the questions that will anchor the conversations and creative construction are: [Download: pdf Futures Africa: trends for women by 2030 (768 KB) ]
viii) The raising voices for women cross-border traders in West Africa project: an interview with Korkor Cudjoe, women’s rights programme manager at the Graça Machel Trust
South African cities see improvements in ease of doing business: but pace of reforms is slow (World Bank)
pdf Doing Business in South Africa 2018 (11.90 MB) , the second in the subnational series on South Africa, analyzes business regulations for domestic small and medium enterprises in nine cities – Buffalo City, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Msunduzi, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane. They are assessed on five Doing Business areas: Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, Registering Property, Enforcing Contracts and Trading Across Borders. In the area of Trading Across Borders, the report measures four of South Africa’s maritime ports – Cape Town, Durban, Ngqura, and Port Elizabeth. The report finds that in the three years since the last study, Cape Town, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung and Nelson Mandela Bay implemented reforms. Four of the reforms improved the conditions for businesses to obtain electricity, and one made it easier to transfer property. Although reforms have been few, where they were implemented, the results have been striking. Mangaung, for example, automated municipal processes that have halved the time needed to transfer property, from just over seven weeks to three weeks. As a result, Mangaung has moved from lowest performer in this area in 2015 to best performer now. [Download: pdf Launch presentation (1.58 MB) ]
WTO members review two regional trade agreements: Africa, the Caribbean and the EU
WTO members reviewed Seychelles’ accession to the SADC trade protocol and the economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Cariforum states at the 18 September meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements. Members welcomed progress being made in the economic integration of the African region. For Seychelles’ accession to the SADC trade protocol in 2015, the parties involved remarked that it will enhance trade in the region and lead to economic growth. Seychelles eliminated tariffs on 91.7% of its tariff lines for imports from other SADC members. By 2026, 97.5% of Seychelles’ tariffs will be liberalized. The other SADC parties will liberalize between 93.8% and 100% of their tariffs for imports from the Seychelles. A number of changes on rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and provisions on technical barriers to trade have also been made to the SADC protocol which was considered in 2007 by the Committee. [Download: pdf Factual presentation – Accession of Seychelles to the SADC Trade Protocol (1.49 MB) ]
Prime Minister Jugnauth emphasised that in view of fulfilling the commitment to international organisations, Government has also brought changes to the legislative framework so as to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. In this respect, Mauritius is currently conducting a national risk assessment of money laundering and terrorism financing. He said Mauritius, as a fully collaborative international financial centre of substance, has supported the implementation of best practices set up globally by recognised institutions. To this end, Mauritius has signed numerous agreements such as the OECD multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters and the intergovernmental agreement with the US for the implementation of Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act. He outlined that another key enabler for developing the financial services sector of Mauritius to its next level is innovation and in this respect, Government is providing new opportunities for private investment and job creation by accelerating the country’s move to an age of digitisation through Artificial Intelligence, blockchain technologies and FinTech.
Bangladesh: Enabling export diversification (World Bank)
Bangladesh’s export growth has been remarkable. Bangladesh aims to generate $54.1bn in export earnings by FY2020, a significant increase over the $35bn earned in FY2015-16. The leading sector, textiles and apparels, usually referred to as ready-made garments (RMG), has created 4 million jobs overall and accounts for 82% of Bangladesh’s exports. RMG exports have shown signs of deceleration in the recent past but the momentum has picked up in FY2018. At the same time, several other less dominant but promising sectors are showing a positive export growth trend and could possibly drive export diversification and job creation in the future. However, the composition of the export basket has not changed much over the past two decades. Bangladesh’s HHI (Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index), that measures the level of sectoral concentration in exports is about five times that of other export-driven economies such as Thailand, China and Vietnam. During the last two decades, Vietnam expanded its export basket from agriculture to include machinery, footwear and electronics through national-level strategies and policy reforms to support specific sectors. However, Bangladesh continues to be primarily an RMG exporter. [Related Bangladesh Policy Notes: Enhancing FDI through investment policy reform; Back in business to create jobs; Export diversification through bonded warehouse reforms; Improving regulatory service delivery]
Annual meeting of the New Champions: Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech (WEF)
The basic principles of free trade should be maintained and unilateral trade actions will not solve any problems, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech at the WEF’s annual meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin. Hot on the heels of news that China had been plunged deeper into a trade war with the US, Premier Li also said that, though flawed, the trend of globalization is unstoppable and China’s process of opening up will only quicken in the years to come. The premier also said that maintaining a rate of steady growth in the world’s second-largest economy is getting more difficult, that intellectual property breaches and other business malpractice would be swiftly punished, and that the country would not engage in competitive currency devaluation to weaken the yuan to boost exports.