tralac’s Daily News Selection
Regional Monitoring Group on the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol (17-19 October, Uganda)
The Global Competitiveness Report 2018 will be released on Wednesday
(i) Africa could hold key to Irish export survival: John Whelan. The two themes of the Africa Ireland Economic Forum – agri-business and women in business – resonated with the wide range of African and Irish businesses which gathered in the Convention Centre in Dublin last week. The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, delivered the opening address, stating: “Since 2014, Ireland’s trade with Africa has increased by 13%. Irish food and drink companies have been particularly successful, with Bord Bia estimating that exports to the continent have gone up by 28% over the past two years.” To help with increased engagement, he announced the expansion of the Africa Agri-Food Development Programme, which assists Irish companies to partner with local enterprises in African countries.
Back in 2013, when I was chief executive of the Irish Exporters’ Association, I urged the Government to take out membership of the AfDB, saying it would offer the opportunity to extend our reach and impact in Africa. On 27 September, Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, finally published the African Development Bank and Fund Bill, 2018. The bill will provide for Ireland’s potential membership of the AfDB and the African Development Fund. Did it have to take five years? But, better late than never.
(ii) Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney. Later this year, I will unveil Ireland’s new international development cooperation policy, the product of extensive international and domestic consultations which have only concluded in recent days. This policy will guide us in our increased expenditure over the coming years. Already, agriculture, gender equality and the role of the private sector are strong emerging themes for the policy. And as our ODA budget expands, there will be more opportunities to support the Irish private sector to invest and build businesses in Africa. Because we know that development cooperation is only one thread in the increasingly intricate fabric of our relations with Africa. In many ways, it is bringing our trade to new and unprecedented levels which will have the greatest impact.
Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum: communiqué (AU)
The Forum was attended by 43 African countries, ECCAS, ECOWAS, financial institutions from Turkey and Africa as well as private sector representatives. Extracts from the communiqué:
To support African Countries in reducing energy costs and increasing access to electricity, decreasing transport costs, boosting intra-African trade, ensuring water and food security and increasing global connectivity; Turkey and the AU will work together towards establishing a partnership in the design, inspection, financing and management of projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa and the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative.
The Forum recommended the participating countries to take necessary measures to encourage Turkish and African enterprises as well as financial institutions to expand investment and participate in infrastructure projects through various means, such as Public-Private Partnership and Build-Operate-Transfer.
The Forum encouraged the private sector to invest in agriculture, electricity production, transmission and delivery facilities and services, aviation, maritime, education and health as priority areas, especially in small and medium scale enterprises development. The Forum underlined the importance of enhancing Africa’s manufacturing capacities through the establishment of regional manufacturing hubs as a means to increase intra-African trade. The Forum called upon Turkish and African financial institutions to enhance their cooperation, including opening more branches in their respective countries.
Babacar Ndiaye Lecture: Obasanjo, Jeffrey Sachs propose Africa Education Fund (Afreximbank)
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and development economist Jeffrey Sacks have called for the establishment of an Africa fund for education as they delivered the second Babacar Ndiaye Lecture in Bali, Indonesia. The two personalities, who were the guest speakers at the international lecture series introduced by Afreximbank in 2017 to honour the late Dr Babacar Ndiaye, said that such a fund will ensure that every child in Africa got a full high-quality education in this generation. They called on African leaders to support the fund and to make a commitment that every African child should be empowered and financed to stay in school until completing his or her secondary education. Sachs noted that three quarters of African children were currently not completing secondary education and said that with an African fund for education and commitment by African leaders, the continent will be transformed into a middle income to high income economy.
President Obasanjo, laying out his support for the Africa fund for education, argued that there was no shortage of money for good causes in Africa. According to him, people only wanted to know that their money would go where it was supposed to go and that such money would be properly accounted for. He added that it was up to Africans to develop their continent: “Africa is the architect of its own future”. Prof Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said that the greatest problem of Africa was the neglect of Africa by Africans.
The Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2018-2022 maps out the direction of the Bank’s regional integration work in Eastern Africa over the next five years. The key objectives are fast-tracking structural transformation, increasing trade and promoting financial sector integration and inclusion. The strategy is focused on two mutually reinforcing pillars, namely regional infrastructure development for competitiveness and transformation, and strengthening of policy and institutional frameworks for market integration, growing investments and value chains development. The strategy will guide the Bank’s regional operations in 13 countries, namely Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Most Eastern African countries depend on agricultural and mineral products for their exports,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Deputy Director General, East Africa during her presentation to the Board. “But most of these products are of low-level sophistication and low value added. This is why this Strategy Paper is key to boosting industrialization and intra-regional trade.” [Note: The AfDB has yet to post the strategy on its website; GlobalData: Infrastructure construction in EA to grow sharply over next five years]
Storm in a teacup? Dar, Kampala exporters seek to exit Mombasa auction (The East African)
A push by Tanzania and Uganda to have their own tea auction could destabilise incomes, coming at a time that production and prices in the region have been falling. Last week, Tanzania said it was planning its own tea auction in Dar es Salaam. Uganda had in March this year, said it was planning to market its own tea directly to buyers as it sought better prices, effectively pulling out of the Mombasa auction, the second largest in the world, after Colombo. Kampala has since rescinded the decision. Kenyan tea industry players, however, believe that the two countries’ push for another auction outside Mombasa, which serves the region, with offerings from at least 10 countries as far afield as Madagascar, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is not feasible due to low volumes from those two markets. Uganda’s concerns emanate from what it says is loss of identity of its tea once it enters the Mombasa auction, as it is labelled as Kenyan. [Tanzania targets five regions to boost tea yields and sales]
Kenya: Kisii approves Regional Economic Bloc Bill 2018 (The Standard)
Trade facilitation, logistics updates
The policy was piloted from 1 July 2018 but was suspended in August following agitation by the Ghana Union of Traders Association and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwards. According to the demonstrators, the introduction of the CTN policy would place further financial burden on traders, but the government has denied the claim. “From today, Monday, importers whose imports from records exceed 36 twenty foot equivalent units per year will be required to obtain a CTN number in the country of export,” the public notice indicated. The public notice indicated that the exemptions were to ensure that small and medium-scale importers, mostly petty traders, market women and men, small distributors and other small to medium businesses were free from the requirements of the intervention.
Ghana: Customs to bond transit trucks from 2019 (Ghana Business News)
Transit trucks conveying exported goods from Ghana’s ports to neighbouring countries are to be bonded by the Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority from next year. The introduction of the bond is to halt the diversion of such goods onto the Ghanaian market. Mr Cletus Poulere, Custom Officer in-charge of the Transit Terminal at the Tema Port, said diversion of goods along the transit corridor had become rampant in recent times, therefore the need to put in measures to curb the exercise. He indicated however that leadership of Customs were working on the finer details of the said bond before its implementation. He noted that diversion of transit goods deprived Ghana and the destination countries of needed revenue, as no duties where charged on them since they were not meant for the Ghanaian market. [West Africa countries push for interlink payment system]
Angola facilitates cross-border trade (Macauhub)
Namibia loses N$8.4bn in direct investment outflows (The Namibian)
The local economy lost N$8,4 billion in direct investments last year, representing a quarterly loss of N$2,3 billion, which could have positively contributed to local economic growth. Direct investment net outflows are defined as the value of outward direct investments made by residents of the reporting economy to external economies. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein made these revelations during a consultative meeting with private sector representatives last week. The meeting was aimed at mapping out strategies on how to improve the performance of the country’s economy. Eloise du Plessis, PSG Namibia’s head of research, said one has to consider the fact that the economy is under severe strain due to reduced government spending, drought, a decline in Angolan investments and spending due to low oil prices, and a contracting property sector. Thus, it is not unreasonable for the private sector to have reined in spending in the local economy.
Today’s Quick Links:
Shehu Sani backs Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign African free trade agreement
Many Nigerian manufacturers don’t know much about AGOA, says NEPC
Zambia officially launches export of organic honey to China
Ethiopia-Eritrea border teems with activity after thaw
International Monetary and Financial Committee: communiqué