tralac’s Daily News Selection
The G20 Compact with Africa meeting gets underway today in Berlin:
President Ramaphosa: In his capacity as co-chair of the G20 Africa Advisory Group, President Ramaphosa will deliver a keynote address at the G20 Investment Summit. The summit brings together German businesses and Compact with Africa countries to explore investment opportunities under the framework of the G20 Partnership with Africa.
President Akufo-Addo: Whilst in Germany, and on the sidelines of the conference, President Akufo-Addo will hold bilateral talks with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as well as hold meetings with CEOs of German global enterprises, Volkswagen and Siemens, about their proposed investments in Ghana. President Akufo-Addo will, on Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, deliver the keynote speech at the 18th International Economic Forum on Africa.
The second edition of the Compact with Africa (CwA) investment monitoring report provides an update of country and sector-level trends in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flows and announcements in Cross-Border Investments (CBI) in CwA, covering the five-year period between 2013-2017. It follows the previous analysis released during the 2018 World Bank Group/IMF Spring Meetings and is part of a broader set of efforts by this G20 initiative to better understand the dynamics of investment flows into CwA countries.
The OECD EMnet business meeting on Africa Infrastructure and regional connectivity takes place tomorrow in Paris. A conference preview, by Hassan El-Houry, with special reference to Africa’s aviation sector.
Mo Ibrahim: “While Africa’s combined GDP has increased by almost 40% over the last decade, average progress in Sustainable Economic Opportunity has been almost null for Africa’s citizens. This is a huge missed opportunity. It could become a recipe for disaster. With the expected population growth, Africa stands at a tipping point, and the next years will be crucial.” Extracts (pdf):
African countries are taking diverging paths. While in 2017 the range between the highest (Mauritius) and lowest (Somalia) governance scores is the smallest it has been in ten years, increasing divergence appears between country scores. In the earlier years of the last decade, countries were concentrated around the African average score, but over the last ten years have dispersed. Within the last three years, 18 countries displayed their worst Overall Governance performance in a decade, and 28 achieved their best in the same period, highlighting the diverging trends on the continent. The lack of substantial progress in Sustainable Economic Opportunity is mainly driven by a sizeable deterioration in Business Environment (-4.9). In a context where the working age population (15-64) on the continent is expected to grow by +27.9% over the next ten years, Africa’s declining Business Environment is worrying. The African average score of 41.1 is the lowest for this sub-category in ten years and underscores the weak foundations for a large number of African countries to be able to provide decent jobs to their ever-growing working age populations.
Starting next month: Ethiopia to issue visa on arrival to all Africans (Xinhua)
Ethiopia is to issue visa on arrival to all Africans starting on 9 November, said Fitsum Arega, chief of staff at the Ethiopian Prime Minister Office, on Friday: “Consistent with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's vision of a closer and full regional integration in Africa, where minds are open to ideas and markets are open to trade, Ethiopia will start on arrival visa to all Africans starting from 9 November”
Angola: National Green Export Review baseline report for wood, fish, coffee (UNCTAD)
It is important to mention that selected sectors covered in this baseline report include those sectors in which Angola has already achieved considerable experience, but further growth can be achieved. Three out of seven products being exported by Angola can be categorized as green products related with the agricultural sector because they have potential to promote local economy, and assist achieving the SDGs. In addition, these three products – wood, fish and coffee – and their value-adding processes have the potential to be drivers of socioeconomic transformation and environmental preservation in Angola. Table 4 summarizes their key export figures (pdf). Figure 12 shows that green product exports have increased by 75% in the period between 2009 and 2015 but on a YoY basis for the last seven years, their average YoY increased only 13% and numbers are declining. Hence, increasing green product exports will require investments in infrastructure, gradual reduction of imports, deepening of financial sector reforms, and improvement of local business environment (e.g. reducing bureaucracy and facilitating credit).
Nigeria: MAN's new president calls for detailed review of AfCFTA before signing (Daily Trust)
The new President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Engr Mansur Ahmed, has called for a detailed study of the potential benefits and costs of the AfCFTA to Nigeria. The MAN president made the remarks at a meeting with the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mohamat, during his visit to Nigeria. “It is an open secret that, given Nigeria’s demography and rapid growing population any initiative of far reaching consequences on the survival of our fledging manufacturing sector and the production sector in general must be approached with great caution. At the minimum, we insist that a detailed study of the potential benefits and costs to the various sectors and sub sectors of the economy must be undertaken.”
Seme-Krake Joint Border Post: Nigeria and Benin make a new break for the border (News24)
Nigeria's southwestern border with Benin is notoriously chaotic. Travellers and traders battle corrupt officials, hawkers and buzzing moto-taxis just to get to the other side. But a new crossing point has sprung up near the well-worn dirt tracks and roadside markets that the West African bloc ECOWAS hopes will make the movement of people and trade a lot easier. The well-guarded 17-hectare site conforms to international standards and has been built for an estimated $21m. State-of-the-art scanners to detect illicit goods and a weighbridge have been installed. Customs, immigration and other officials will no longer have to work out of makeshift offices in battered shipping containers and huts. Extract from President Buhari's statement: “The border post is strategically important and lies on the Lagos-Cotonou-Lome-Accra-Abidjan corridor, which accounts for about 70% of the entire transit traffic in the sub-region. The corridor is also part of the Trans-African Highway network. This joint border post with modern enabling facilities is a flagship project in ECOWAS and a good example of regional public assets with a spill-over range of benefits. This Seme-Krake joint Border Post is a symbol of integration that brings together the peoples of Nigeria and Benin. I would, therefore, like to reassure you that Nigeria is committed to the operationalization of the Joint Border Post and will work closely with the Republic of Benin to ensure the success of this set of border formalities.”
Noepe-Akanu Joint Border Post: ECOWAS needs functioning regional market – Akufo-Addo (GBN)
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday reiterated the call for a functioning common regional market in ECOWAS. He said a sub-regional market must be considered the fundamental objective for all, as the region inched towards total integration. President Akufo-Addo made the call when Mr Jean-Claude Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, handed over to him and President Faure Gnassingbe of the Republic of Togo, a joint border post for Noepe-Akanu at Akanu in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region. The joint post was funded by the EU Transport Facilitation Programme at an estimated cost of €13,6m. It is a 10-hectare facility that forms part of the corridor linking Abidjan and Lagos, and divided into commercial vehicle, cargo handling, and pedestrian sections. The facility houses administration blocks, commercial buildings, customs bridge, truck inspection zones, health services buildings, and pedestrian control zones. It also has a veterinary store and animal park, and heavy goods vehicles’ shelter among other facilities. A total of seven joint border posts across the Sub-region had been earmarked as key elements of a €63.8m grant for the Transport Facilitation Programme.
Berbera Port project and Ethiopia-Somaliland trade logistics: an interview with Dr Saad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s foreign minister (MENA FM)
A: That figure was mentioned in the previous five-year plan [Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-I)]. It is no longer mentioned in the current one. No one can give you a guarantee. You see, most of the imports and exports process in Ethiopia is handled by the private sector and the private sector goes to where the cost is very reasonable. Hence, they have options. Let's say an Ethiopian businessman wants to import goods from China and he has a number of potions on how to ship the cargo. He can take the cargo to Port Sudan, or now can take it to Assab. Perhaps to Port of Djibouti or can take it to Berbera Port. In order to get a better share of the cargo, any port needs to be more competitive. Every port gets as much as share of the overall cargo based on its competitiveness. Due to that, nobody can guarantee whether Berbera gets a 10 percent or 30 percent share of the cargo. It is a free economy.
Q: You indicated the comparative advantages Berbera has to serve the eastern part of Ethiopia. Apart from that, what could be said about the importance of Berbera to the Ethiopia? A: We have signed a tripartite agreement with the governments of Ethiopia and DP World. That agreement still alive and nothing has changed. The government of Ethiopia didn't communicate with us about backing out of the agreement. There is no indication that they intend to do so. We hope that all the three parties will be onboard to contribute to the development of an efficient port which will serve the whole region.
Anzetse Were: Why thinking of China debt trap diplomacy is a fallacy (Business Daily)
Last month, the South African Institute of International Affairs published my policy insight on the Chinese debt trap. In short, Africa’s growing public debt has sparked a renewed global debate about debt sustainability on the continent. This is largely due to the emergence of China as a major financier of African infrastructure, resulting in a narrative that China is using debt to gain geopolitical leverage by trapping poor countries in unsustainable loans. It essentially argues that African governments are being deliberately lured into debt by the Chinese government through debt trap diplomacy and that China has an ominous plan to mire the continent in debt in order to gain economic and geopolitical control of Africa. My counter-argument is simple: The debt trap narrative undermines the decision-making power and agency of African governments. Even worse, the debt trap narrative ‘infantalises’ African governments, painting them as little more than overgrown children who have to be constantly supervised by other powers if there is any hope of them getting anything right. More seriously, the debt trap narrative is deeply worrying because it is deeply dangerous.
Today’s Quick Links:
Kenya banks on direct flights to boost trade with America
Ethiopian Airlines CEO: “Long-term planning”, as China does, is key to success
Fitsum Arega moving back to head Ethiopia’s Investment Commission
Ethiopia expecting large investments from India