tralac’s Daily News Selection
Forthcoming African trade, infrastructure and industrialisation policy events
Linked to implementing the WTO’s TFA and the AU’s AfCFTA
(i) Southern Africa: Border agency cooperation workshop (14-16 November, Cape Town). The purpose of the workshop is to improve border agency cooperation at the national and regional levels as provided in articles 8, 10 and 11 of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Better border agency cooperation can play a key role in facilitating cross-border trade, as it leads to a reduction in time and costs for the import, export and transit of goods. Specifically, the workshop will seek to raise awareness on the linkages between the TFA and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and explore ways in which coordinating border clearance processes can facilitate trade, while ensuring/reinforcing human, animal or plant life and health. Attention will also be given to improving cooperation among border agencies in transit countries. Discussions are expected to generate input for country action plans and help increase TFA notifications relevant to border agency cooperation. The agenda can be accessed here.
(ii) Africa Industrialization Week 2018: Promoting regional value chains in Africa (18-23 November, Addis Ababa). The AIW2018 will also among other things, promote the implementation of the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, the SME Strategy, the Boosting Intra-African Trade and the African Continental Free Trade Area and the UN General Assembly’s Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa in the context of Agenda 2063. The 1st AU-NEPAD Africa Pharma Conference will be the flagship event of the Africa Industrialization Week. This event is co-organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Social Affairs and the NEPAD agency. Side events during the week include: Continental forum on regional value chains and mobilizing African manufacturer’s (to support the linkage of Africa Regional Value Chains to the Global Value Supply); The second symposium on SEZs and green industrialization; A workshop on Africa Enterprise Network, catalyzing SMEs and start-ups productivity; A workshop on youth entrepreneurship to reduce migration, Youth and women empowerment in enterprise development; and a Workshop on Financing Industrialization; EIB-UNIDO Africa Day 2018: sustainable industrialization in Africa. [Note: The above event follows the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (17-18 November, Addis Ababa)]
(iii) Implementing the AfCFTA in Eastern Africa: from vision to action (20-22 November, Kigali). The historic signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement in Kigali, in March 2018, provides hope that we can consolidate the creation of a truly integrated market across the region and strengthen regional value chains. To fully utilize the opportunities of the AfCFTA, the ICE will focus on the discussion of national and regional AfCFTA strategies complementary to the broader trade policy. Among the themes to be discussed: An overview of the region – macro-economic and social conditions in Eastern Africa; Implementing the AfCFTA – first things first?; Trade facilitation and manufacturing – how to leverage new opportunities in intra-African trade; Gender perspectives on the AfCFTA; Services trade and the AfCFTA; Beyond Trade: implementing the Protocol on the Free Movement of People.
Profiled workshop documentation: (i) pdf The AfCFTA: from vision to action in East Africa (979 KB) ; (ii) pdf Macro-economic and social developments in Eastern Africa 2019: towards the implementation of the AfCFTA in Eastern Africa (1.13 MB) (executive summary). Extract: The AfCFTA is not only about trade but creating access, free movement of people, goods and services. Most countries in Eastern Africa have a better trade balance in services than merchandise trade. Five of the fourteen countries actually enjoy positive balances in services (Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar Tanzania, and Seychelles), compared with only one (DRC) with a positive balance in merchandise trade. Kenya and Tanzania, for instance, had a net service trade balance of over $1.6bn and $2.1bn in 2017. Intra-African liberalization of services trade could harbour great benefits for Eastern Africa. Intraregional tourism, an example of growing intra-regional trade in services, has been gaining prominence. With intra-African migration on the rise, the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons, which was signed by only half of African Member States, is particularly important. A more open continental labour market would go a long way towards addressing skill-shortages that constrain the growth of important strategic sectors of our economies.
(iv) A reminder of 2018 PIDA Week (26-28 November, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
Sierra Leone: Parliament ratifies AfCFTA (Parliament of Sierra Leone)
The Parliament of Sierra Leone, on Wednesday 7 November, debated and ratified with unanimity the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, aimed at promoting trade liberalization in Africa. Speaking prior to ratification, the Minister of Trade and Industry Peter Bayuku Konte’ highlighted the importance of the agreement. Making his submission, the Leader of NGC, Hon. Kandeh Yumkella said that the agreement was important for Africa and the African Union. He said the AU is “moving from a political organization to an economic one”. Speaking on the need for ratifying the agreement, Dr. Yumkella said that “it had been debated and deliberated upon in the Pan-African Parliament for enactment and domestication in other national parliaments in Africa”. The Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina recalled that, as a nember of the ACP-EU Parliament, a lot of deliberation had been done on the agreement geared towards smoothening bilateral trade liberalization for Africa. The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Chernor R.M Bah recalled that the ECOWAS Parliament had spent ten days in Abidjan deliberating on the need for a free trade agreement for Africa, whilst encouraging the Ministry of Trade to do all within its power to ensure that Sierra Leone derive huge benefits from the free trade Agreement.
African Parliamentary Union: Buhari seeks law to promote ease of doing business, private sector growth (BusinessDay)
President Muhammadu Buhari , on Thursday, charged Speakers of the African Parliamentary Union, on the need to pass legislation that will promote ease of doing business and private sector growth in the continent. The President, who noted that the dynamics of global trade are changing fast, said foreign direct investment is a key index of economic performance. President Buhari said: ”Africa cannot afford to be caught off guard, as we have to navigate these uncertain economic times with realistic plans in which the private sector is key. Barriers that restrict ease of doing business and private sector growth must be addressed by legislation and it is hoped that your resolutions will aid the efforts of African governments in developing a more robust private sector to attract necessary investments in our economy.”
Stephen Chan: Will US-China trade war ruin Africa or offer new opportunities? National leaders must decide. (The Conversation)
For Africa, it means business with China remains a reality. This relationship has, however, taken on two key new characteristics of late. The first is that China expects its loans to be repaid. Indeed, there is no doubt that a new fiscal propriety is now expected by the Chinese. The second, very closely connected development – and one which curiously seems not to have been noticed or taken seriously by African leaders – is that increasingly Chinese liquidity is made available not on a state-to-state basis but on a Chinese bank to African state basis. [Standard Bank’s David-Bohra: Africa’s infrastructure gaps are an investment opportunity waiting to happen]
Regional economic development in SADC: taking stock and looking ahead (SAIIA)
However, to successfully establish itself as a viable investment hub, the region must prioritise the coordination and harmonisation of regulatory frameworks and industrialisation efforts. The latest trend towards increased collaboration on a continental level hints at a new approach to achieve economic integration. However, since the required willingness for cooperation in regional economic communities is questionable, it remains to be seen whether the successful implementation of a continental free trade agreement is feasible.
Ghana: Contractors, private businesses look up to first IMF-free budget (Ghanaweb)
The 2019 national budget, due to be presented to Parliament next week by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, will be the first presented by the incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo administration which will be free of direct and heavy influence from the International Monetary Fund. Consequently, government contractors and suppliers as well as other enterprises, institutions and individuals who rely heavily on government spending for their economic fortunes are hopeful that public expenditure will be increased in 2019 as the IMF departs with its laser focus on demand management. The incumbent government came to power on the promise that it would replace demand management with supply side economics aimed at increasing national production. The country will, early next year, exit the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility programme under which an estimated $918 million has been sought over three years from the programme with attached conditions.
2019 Aid for Trade Global Review: launch of Aid for Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise (WTO)
The Aid for Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise was launched at a meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development on 6 November 2018. WTO members and Aid for Trade partners may submit self-assessment questionnaires up to 31 December 2018 to assist preparations for the 2019 Aid for Trade Global Review. In the margins of the meeting, two workshops discussed key aspects of the pdf Aid for Trade Work Programme 2018-2019 (257 KB) , which aims to help developing countries – particularly least-developed countries – build the supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure they need to better implement and benefit from WTO agreements and to expand their trade. The first workshop, Industrialization, economic diversification and structural transformation, highlighted global trends in economic diversification and industrialization. The second workshop, Economic diversification and empowerment with a focus on youth and women, presented various empowerment programmes, initiatives and policies implemented at the international and regional levels. [Profiled presentation from the first workshop: Ethiopia’s growth model: becoming a lower-middle-income country – 2025 (pdf)]
During a Tuesday briefing to the Security Council, Ms Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, described the problem as a “global and accelerating phenomenon, and a threat to international peace and security,” that, in conflict areas alone, is generating around $31.5bn in illicit profits. The link between conflict areas and organized crime was described by Ms Reitano as undeniable: she added that the scale of money being illicitly generated by organized crime in these areas is “staggering.” This phenomenon, said Ms. Reitano, is actually sustaining conflicts worldwide, with illegal exploitation and taxation of gold, oil and other natural resources overtaking traditional “threat finance” sectors, such as kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking. The actual combatants in conflict zones only receive a small fraction of illicit funds:
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