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 | Charles Placide Tossou

The economic and social effects of the Economic Partnership Agreements on selected African countries (OFSE)

The report starts with an assessment of the main provisions of the three EPAs covered – the SADC-EPA, the ECOWAS-EPA and the EAC-EPA - thereby focusing on the market access offer and the provisions in the agreement which potentially limit the developmental policy space as well as offer a potential to strengthen sustainability aspects in African partner countries. Then the implications of the three specific EPAs with a focus on Mozambique, Ghana and Uganda, respectively, are scrutinized. Based on interviews with stakeholders during field research in the three countries, implementation challenges associated with the agreements are discussed.

Further, different sectoral case studies are analyzed to investigate the potential of the EPAs on the export side, highlighting the opportunities and challenges for export promotion policies in the context of global value chains and related lead firm strategies as well as local competitiveness conditions. The five sectoral case studies include the cotton, textile and apparel sectors in selected SADC countries with a focus on Mozambique, the cocoa and mango sectors in Ghana, and the coffee and fish sectors in Uganda.

The main findings and key policy recommendations of the study can be summarized as follows: (i) Estimated economic effects of trade liberalization for Africa are negative, but mostly small; (ii) Adjustment costs need EU policy responses; (iii) Promotion of export sectors needs strong industrial policies for structural transformation; (iv) EU Development Cooperation will need to support comprehensive capacity building in the public sector; (v) EPA monitoring process must be results-oriented, inclusive, transparent, and flexible. [The authors: Jan Grumiller, Werner Raza, Cornelia Staritz, Bernhard Tröster, Rudi von Arnim] [Download pdf The economic and social effects of the Economic Partnership Agreements on selected African countries (2.33 MB) ]

Healthcare and economic growth in Africa: advance findings (Triple Pundit)

GBCHealth, the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the UNECA have released preliminary findings from their forthcoming Healthcare and economic growth in Africa (pdf) report, calling for greater African private sector involvement and investment in healthcare. The preliminary report finds that neither government nor existing public-private partnerships are effective enough, and that existing PPPs disproportionately focus on a small number of countries. The preliminary report recommends a new model, one in which PPPs prioritize around the most significant disease burden and broaden their scope to benefit the health of the whole continent, which is deemed critical to driving long-term economic growth in Africa. Profiled slides from the presentation (pdf): (i) How much do African countries spend on healthcare?; (ii) How much do Africans spend on healthcare?; (iii) PPPs often not aligned to disease burden or health priorities; (iv) …and are unequally distributed across the continent; (v) Why are the top 10 countries with the most health PPPs attractive to the private sector?

ECOWAS deliberates on West Africa trade facilitation programme

ECOWAS, WAEMU, and development partners, held their first steering committee meeting for the West Africa Trade Facilitation Programme which aims to improve trade facilitation measures and increase intra-regional trade in West Africa on 27 September in Abuja. The meeting approved the work plan for the first year of the programme, the establishment of its governance structure and its communication strategy. The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Tèi Konzi, said that the West Africa Trade Facilitation Programme, being a multi donor initiative, showcases the importance placed on economic integration by the international community. The Commissioner urged the donors - the EU, USAID, Netherlands, Germany and the World Bank - to take into account the political dynamics of the region and be flexible in the implementation of the programme in order to achieve its desired results.

Tanzania: Traders concerned about tracking cost (The Citizen)

The high cost of additional equipment for tracking and tracing goods has hampered smooth implementation of the Single Customs Territory, according to the business fraternity. Business leaders say the system has eased cross border movement of goods in the region and that by December last year, all goods were rolled onto the SCT. However, the business leaders in Tanzania are concerned that drivers carrying goods beyond the country’s borders have to buy other tracking devices. “This is due to the fact that the Tanzania Revenue Authority covers for transit goods only within Tanzania,” said Frank Dafa, a trade policy specialist with the Confederation of Tanzania Industries. He said the drivers taking goods to Kenya, for instance, have to buy new tracking devices from the Kenya Revenue Authority, which are said to cost up to $1,000 (about Sh2.3 million).

The problem has been compounded by lack of interface between the electronic cargo tracking system between the Central and Northern corridors. Tanzania and Burundi, which are in the Central Corridor, are using TANCIS and ASYCUDA electronic cargo tracking systems while Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda use RECTS. Speaking in Nairobi on Friday, the chairman of the EABC, Mr NIcholas Nesbitt, admitted the two ‘incompatible’ systems were posing problems for smooth trade. He said IBM Digital Network Africa was ready to assist to roll out a new technology that would lead to interface of the two systems in order to enhance flow of trade.

Updates from Ghana

Economy expands by 24.6% after rebasing (Ghanaian Times)

Ghana’s economy has expanded by 24.6% for last year, according to rebasing figures by the Ghana Statistics Service. This was after the GSS reviewed the based year from 2006 to 2013 and the way of calculating economic growth for the country. The recalculation means that gross domestic product last year grew by 8.1%, not 8.5% as previously estimated. “Ghana, a major commodity exporter, recalculated its GDP based on measurements from 2013 instead of 2006 to more accurately reflect recent activity in its petroleum, communication technology and construction sectors, acting government statistician Mr Baah Wadieh disclosed at a press conference in Accra on Friday. He said per capita rose to 8,863 cedis ($2,035) in 2017, compared to 4,679 cedis at the last rebasing in 2013. “The rebasing means that current GDP value including oil is estimated at 256.67 billion cedis ($58.9bn), up from 123.65 billion cedis,” Mr Wadieh added. [Note: Ghana Statistical Service GDP data can be accessed here]

2017 State Ownership Report (MOFEP)

Government has also commenced the development and implementation of a State Ownership Policy, which will, among others, outline the rationale for the State’s strategic ownership of interest in SOEs and JVCs and also clarify the relationship between the State as the owner and SOEs/JVCs. The Policy will help define, separate and strengthen government’s role as shareholder, policy maker and regulator of SOEs. The maiden edition of the State Ownership Report issued in 2016 focused on 18 entities on which we had financial and other relevant information. This year’s edition (pdf) covers 49 entities out of 86 entities in which government has equity investments. There are 37 more entities who are yet to submit the required information.

Related: Ghana’s State-owned enterprises recorded a net loss of GH¢1.29bn last year, the State Ownership Report has revealed. The report said the losses were a reduction over similar losses recorded in 2016. According to the report, the bane of SOEs was their chronic inability to contain costs, as their aggregate operating cost increased by 56.5%last year. “This is of concern, given that inflation and interest rates have been on a downward trajectory,” the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said when he launched the report at the 2nd annual State Owned Enterprise Policy and Governance Forum in Accra.

We’ve achieved 99% paperless system – GPHA (GhanaWeb)

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has achieved a 99% paperless operational system, one year after its introduction into the country’s ports clearance process. The paperless port system, which was announced by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in May 2017, took off from 1 September 2017. Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, GPHA General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, said the feat includes the integration of GPHA’s IT systems with the Ghana Community Network. She said the paperless system had improved container throughput tremendously, as according to her, the system led to the reduction in turnaround time of vessels.

Survey of the Kenyan private equity and venture capital landscape (World Bank)

This paper discusses the landscape for private equity and venture capital financing in Kenya. It provides an overview of the private equity and venture capital market in the country, describing key players, including funds, fund managers, investors, and public sector entities. The paper provides an analysis of key market drivers and impediments, as well as legal/regulatory/taxation drivers and impediments that affect Kenya’s private equity and venture capital industry.

1st Africa Environment Partnership Platform (20-21 September, Nairobi): communiqué (NEPAD)

Decide to: Convene the African Environment Partnership Platform biennially with a focus on facilitating country experiences, lessons and best practice in the efforts to accelerate sustainable environmental practices; Request development partners and multilateral institutions to continue to support the African Environmental Partnership Platform as a vehicle to promote the sharing of innovative solutions for environmental challenges in Africa, to empower Member States and RECs, innovators, the private sector, micro, small and medium enterprises and civil society to invest in and use innovative approaches to address environmental challenges.

SADC urged to accelerate implementation of a single air transport market (SARDC)

However, a report from the SADC Safety Aviation Organisation shows that to date, only four SADC countries – Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe – have signed the solemn declaration on SAATM, a condition that has limited the expansion of the air transport industry in southern Africa and the continent as a whole. As such the SADC Ministers Responsible for ICT, Transport and Meteorology has urged the remaining Member States to assent to the SAATM and enable the region to improve its aviation industry.

India’s growth story (World Bank)

India has attained much economic success in the past three decades. Yet an economic deceleration in recent years has generated worried commentaries about the country’s growth outlook. This paper offers a long-term perspective on India’s growth experience. Analyzing the past five decades of data, the paper notes that growth has slowly but steadily accelerated, become less erratic, and been well diversified across sectors and states. A more granular assessment of the period since the early 1990s finds that there were three distinct phases of growth:

Tuesday’s Quick Links:

PwC Kenya’s Victor Nyangau: Continental Free Trade Agreement has great potential

World Bank holding Sh112bn for Tanzania over ‘restrictive’ Statistics Act

Kenya: EACC survey reveals cost of bribery for services, tenders

IGAD’s Land Governance Portal launched

The AfDB has posted an EOI for its Mozambique Country Office Partnership Engagement Initiative

Southern African Power Pool: Environmental and Social Management Framework

OFSE Briefing Paper 19: Digitalization and Development Cooperation: an assessment of the debate and its implications for policy

UNCTAD’s Mid-term review is presented at the Trade and Development Board

UN Assembly wraps up annual general debate, its global multilateral role reaffirmed; now comes the task of reform

World Bank: Everything you need to know to follow the 2018 Annual Meetings (8-14 October, Bali)


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