Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Dominic Chavez | World Bank


(i) The East African Legislative Assembly resumed its sitting in Arusha this morning: it continues until 10 November. This week’s EAC calendar of events can be accessed here.

(ii) SADC Investment Forum (23 October, Moscow). An interview with SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax

(iii) Ambassador Tibor Nagy (Assistant Secretary of State for Africa) on US relations in Africa – trade, investment and the future of engagement (29 October, Chatham House)

(iv) AU STC on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (29 October - 3 November, Malabo). Background documentation can be accessed here.

Development of a SADC Protocol on Statistics: SADC posts an EOI request by individual consultants. This assignment (pdf) consists of reviewing relevant SADC policy and legal instruments as well as the current and future state of statistical developments in order to inform the development of a Protocol on Statistics to be adopted and ratified for implementation by SADC Member States.

Think development – Think WIDER (13-15 September, Helsinki): selected Africa-related sessions, presentations:

Industries without smokestacks: industrialization in Africa reconsidered (chaired by John Page); Made in Africa (chaired by Carol Newman); Africa’s youth (chaired by James Thurlow); Africa’s lions (chaired by Haroon Bhorat); Growth and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (chaired by Andy McKay); Taxation, data, and development (chaired by Jukka Pirttilä); Enterprise development (chaired by John Rand)

The WIDER Annual Lecture, delivered by Ernest Aryeetey (pdf): The political economy of structural transformation – has democracy failed African economies?

Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee: update (AU)

PAFTRAC was launched at an inaugural meeting in Accra, on 3 December 2011. However, following the launch limited activity has taken place on the initiative. With the recent rise in global trade tensions and creeping protectionism in the post-Doha round of trade negotiations, coupled with the negotiations towards the AfCFTA, the EPA with the EU, the probability of expiration of AGOA in 2025, and other ongoing trade and investment negotiations; a working group that included Afreximbank, the AUC, the International Trade Centre, Afro-Champions, Ecobank, the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the African Development Bank, spearheaded the revival of the initiative. Membership is drawn from leading private sector institutions and corporates across Africa, as well as from a range of continental and regional institutions. PAFTRAC will therefore provide a framework to facilitate African private sector participation and engagement in trade and investment issues, including trade and investment policy formulation and trade negotiations in support of sustainable development of African economies in line with Agenda 2063. It is anticipated that PAFTRAC could serve as a stepping-stone toward the establishment of the African Business Council, which is envisaged under the AfCFTA Architecture.

Ghana only trades two percent with Africa – GEPA (GhanaWeb)

Latest research findings indicate that trade activities between Ghana and other African trading partners stands at only two per cent out of the 141 trading partners of GEPA. This implies that Ghana’s trade with Africa is very minimal as compared to major export communities. Director of Research at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Mr Maxwell Kusi, made these revelations during the 78th National Exporters’ Forum launch on the 2017 Non-Traditional Exports Statistics held in Accra. The 2016 reports however show that trading between Ghana and ECOWAS was the highest, attaining 24%. However, in 2017, it was overtaken by the EU. The swift turn in the 2017 report was largely due to economic barriers that exist among African nations. Mr Kusi noted that for GEPA to achieve its set target of $5.3bn in export earnings in 2021, all stakeholders need to put in extra effort. The distribution chart puts the EU on top with 46%. Other countries, including China, scored 24% whiles other developed countries including USA, Switzerland and Japan were at eight per cent.

Speaking at the launch of the conference, Deputy Minister for Trade, Carlos Ahenkorah stated that despite the trade gains, it was surprising to learn Ghana’s trade with rest of Africa is not encouraging. “Ghana rose 13 places in the World Bank Trade Report from 167 in 2016 to 154 in 2016 under the Ghana National Single Window. Similarly, improvements were registered in the World Bank Registered Performance Index where Ghana rose 12 places from 100 in 2014 to 88 in 2016. But despite all these gains into the ECOWAS markets and all markets outside the sub-region, it is sad to note that Ghana’s trade with the rest of Africa is minimal.” [GEPA launches 2017 Non-Traditional Export Performance statistics and Buyer Portal57% of cocoa beans imported into Switzerland are from Ghana]

Raila Odinga appointed as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development (AU)

The High Representative will work to support and strengthen the efforts of the Commission’s relevant Departments and those of NEPAD, within the framework of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa. In the discharge of his mandate, and building on the work and leadership of the PIDA Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative, the High Representative will pay particular attention to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernization. He will also focus on the continental high-speed train, which is one of the flagship projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, in the context of the relevant African Union decisions. He will interact with the current Champions of related African Union initiatives and seek their guidance, to ensure the required synergy and coherence. [Commentaries: Uhuru’s hand in Raila’s AU appointment, Five presidents who sealed Raila’s appointment as AU special envoy]

Kenya: Industry recommends sectoral strategies to achieve the Big Four Agenda (KAM)

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has launched a report that seeks to identify cross-cutting constraints to growth, possible solutions, and sector-specific interventions to unlock the manufacturing sector’s growth potential. The report, featuring 14 of the key manufacturing sub-sectors that constitute the industry, provides a critical submission in the development of policy and strategy for the revival of the manufacturing sector under the Big Four Agenda. Extract (pdf):

Despite the static nature of the manufacturing sector with regards to its overall role in the economy, there have been significant shifts in the production levels of various manufacturing sub-sectors over the last ten years alone. This is an important consideration in any economic analysis of the manufacturing sector. Often, the sector tends to be homogenised as one unit of analysis, but the under-currents of different sub-sectors must be dissected to develop a holistic view of its performance and role in the economy.

The graph below shows the difference in manufacturing production for the various sub-sectors of manufacturing between 2008 and 2017. This is based on data extrapolated from the KNBS Quantum Index for manufacturing that has also been used in other section of the report. The ensuing sections of this report intend to provide an overview of each sub-sector of manufacturing as individual units of analysis in their own right, to provide the aforementioned holistic view of the manufacturing sector’s performance and role in the economy. [KAM: Give tax breaks to regain exports market]

Kenya: Uhuru takes charge of coffee sector reforms committee (The Standard)

The Coffee Sector Implementation Committee is expected to move its operations from the National Housing Insurance Fund building to the President’s office, with a directive that it submits to him quarterly reports. “The committee shall be domiciled in the Executive Office of the President,” said Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua in a gazette notice Friday. He said the committee, expected to coordinate and provide strategic leadership in implementation of the coffee sub-sector reforms, will submit monthly reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives. The extension of the committee’s term comes at a time when a section of politicians are seeking a ban on exports of unprocessed coffee to boost farmers’ earnings in the country. President Uhuru has mandated the committee appointed in October 2016 and chaired by Joseph Kieyah to oversee reforms aimed at turning around the ailing sector by implementing recommendations by a coffee taskforce. [Related: Uhuru orders cane farmers to be paid Sh2.6bn arrears, Uhuru says Mandago, Kiunjuri to lead taskforce on maize]

Tanzania: How lack of standards on horticultural crops impacts exports (IPPMedia)

A lack of national standards for horticultural crops in Tanzania has negatively impacted on the access to regional and international markets, says Tanzania Horticulture Association CEO Jacqueline Mkindi in an interview with Correspondent Joseph Kithama. Excerpts:

Ghana: Local cement manufacturers call on Standards Authority to investigate Chinese producers (GhanaWeb)

The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana has appealed to the Ghana Standards Authority to, as a matter of urgency, investigate into the quality of the cement being produced in the country by Chinese companies. A letter dated 16 October, and signed by the Executive Secretary of CMAG, Rev. Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, cited two of such companies in Tema and Ejisu – where the quality of their cement products is questionable. The letter further confirmed that individual cement companies have sampled some of these products and the results are so alarming. “That explains why the prices of cement products by the Chinese companies are ridiculously lower in market. They are really cutting corners, and this must be checked.”

Ghana: Private equity and venture capital ecosystem study (World Bank)

This paper discusses the landscape for private equity and venture capital financing in Ghana. 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, and taxation drivers and impediments that affect Ghana’s private equity and venture capital industry.

At the WTO: India protests move to launch plurilateral negotiations at global trade body (Mint)

India has inveighed against a “new round” of trade talks without “a system of enforcement of existing rules” at the global trade body, after a group of industrialized and developing countries intensified their efforts to launch plurilateral negotiations on controversial issues at the 12th ministerial conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, said people familiar with the development. The Astana meeting, which will be held on 8-11 June 2020, could radically change the character of the World Trade Organization from multilateral to plurilateral (involving two or more countries) for pursuing certain issues, which are being currently opposed by a large majority of countries, said trade envoys, preferring anonymity.

The five issues that are being targeted for the plurilateral launch in Astana include electronic commerce, investment facilitation, disciplines for micro, small and medium enterprises, gender, and domestic regulation in services. More worryingly, the Astana meeting is also likely to experience battles among members on whether all developing countries will continue to avail special and differential flexibilities in the face of a renewed push for “differentiation” to exclude China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, among others, from the special and differential treatment (S&DT) bracket, said the trade envoys.

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