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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Bloomberg

19 Nov 2018

Pan-African policy events starting today:

  1. Africa Industrialization Week 2018 [ODI blog: Five new ways to promote African industriali-sation]

  2. Workshop on Continental Transport Policy, the African Road Safety Action Plan (2011-2020) and Air Transport Instruments

  3. 4th Pan-African Forum on Migration

Profiled EAC event: Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Finance and Economic Affairs (19-23 November, Arusha)


WTO members adopt roadmap for reducing technical barriers to trade

WTO members achieved a breakthrough at a 14-15 November meeting of the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade by agreeing on a list of recommendations that aim at reducing obstacles to trade and improving implementation of the WTO’s TBT Agreement. Members also discussed 62 specific trade concerns at the committee meeting, including eight new concerns. In addition, the committee welcomed a new “best practices” guide for national TBT Enquiry Points. The recommendations approved by members cover the following areas:

11th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union: updates

  1. Summary of key decisions. On the structure and portfolios of the senior leadership of the AU Commission. The Assembly decided: That the new structure of the AU Commission shall be composed of eight members as follows: Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and six Commissioners. That the portfolios of the Commissioners shall be as follows: Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment; Economic Development, Trade and Industry and Mining; Education, Science, Technology and Innovation; Infrastructure and Energy; Political Affairs, Peace and Security; Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development. That the structure and portfolios of the senior leadership of the Commission shall come into effect at the end of the current tenure of the Commission in 2021.

  2. African Union Peace Fund: communiqué on the appointment of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees, who represent the five regions of the continent, are: Zainab Ahmed (Nigeria), Kamel Morjane (Tunisia), Elene Makonnen (Ethiopia), Tito Mboweni (South Africa), Anicet Dologuele (Central African Republic). In addition to these African members, the European Union and the United Nations will occupy two seats on the Peace Fund Board that have been allocated for international partners.

  3. Kenya welcomes appointment of Seychelles leader as AU Champion for Blue Economy; Egypt unveils African Union presidency plan

Botswana to start offering tourist visa-on-arrival (Xinhua)

Botswana plans to start offering tourists visas on arrival, effective on 24 November, Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said Saturday. In a telephone interview with Xinhua, the deputy Permanent Secretary in the tourism ministry, Thabang Botshoma, said Botswana is doing everything with her power to ensure that the country’s doors are open to the world. “President Masisi made the announcement when addressing the 45th meeting of the High Level Consultative Council on Thursday in Gaborone,” Botshoma said. Botshoma said the Botswanan leader has given Botswana’s Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs a grace period until 24 November to amend the immigration rules and procedures to accommodate the visa-on-arrival process. Dorcas Makgato, Botswana’s Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Minister confirmed the development. She said her ministry is busy amending some rules and procedures regarding the inflow of visitors into the country. [HLCC: address by Business Botswana President, Mr Gobusamang Keebine, pdf]

Building a new Zimbabwe: Targeted policies for growth and job creation (AfDB)

Kapil Kapoor (Director General, Southern Africa Region): The report is important for several reasons. First, it provides the government, the donor community, and the private sector with a detailed assessment of investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. Second, it proposes options to develop these opportunities and, in so doing, helps fill the gap created by the absence of sectoral investment priorities. Third, it can be used to inform and support the government’s dialogue with donors and the business community about further development of these sectors. Increased coordination and partnership will improve the alignment of investments with the national objectives, as set out in Zimbabwe’s pdf Transitional Stabilization Programme (2018-20) (5.18 MB) and subsequent medium-term plans. I have no doubt that the report can contribute to the overall efficiency of the development process in Zimbabwe.

Extract: Is Ethiopia’s growth model replicable in Zimbabwe? Ethiopia’s agriculture-led industriali-zation strategy is highly applicable in Zimbabwe given the countries’ similar agriculture endowments, and it can succeed there with strong government commitment and investment in essential infrastructure. Despite the many serious challenges facing Zimbabwe’s economy, this optimistic outlook rests on three factors. First, the new government’s economic recovery plan names revitalizing agriculture as a priority. Second, in addition to the traditional EU market, now accessible since the lifting of trade sanctions, South East Asia - in particular China - has emerged as a giant new market for Zimbabwe’s agricultural and horticultural exports. Third, China has emerged as both the major export market for and the biggest source of foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

To replicate Ethiopia’s successful agriculture-led industrialization strategy in Zimbabwe, the first step is to diversify exports and develop the agricultural processing sector. In contrast to Ethiopia, one of the major constraints facing Zimbabwe’s government is a shortage of financing. So the government’s strong commitment to financing extension services and infrastructure investment is likely constrained in the short term. But relying on the large inflow of foreign direct investment in agriculture from China and other countries presents both opportunities and challenges. For example, tobacco’s contribution to total exports increased by 6 percentage points from 2014 to 2016, possibly as a result of the massive Chinese investment (see table 9.2). [Download pdf Building a new Zimbabwe Targeted policies for growth and job creation (2.38 MB)  Note: Zimbabwe’s budget will be presented on Thursday]

Central Africa’s free trade instruments gaining traction in DR Congo (UNECA)

A total of 49 leaders from the public and private sectors of the DRC have completed a two-day training to appropriate rules of origin procedures for accrediting national industrial products into the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime. Facilitated by the sub-regional office for Central, the training took place in Kinshasa as part of a series that has already benefitted local investors and administrative officials in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Chad. The series of training ultimately seeks to fully activate free trade within the ECCAS and help to operationalize the AfCFTA, whose legal instruments were signed on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Rwanda: Masaka ICD to open in January, cutting time and cost of imports to the region (The East African)

Dubai Port World will in January 2019 start operations at the first phase of its inland container depot and logistics hub in Masaka, Rwanda. It is located close to the Special Economic Zone and linked to both the Northern and Central Corridors. This will cut by half the time and costs incurred in transporting of goods. “By January next year, traders will benefit from the first phase, which covers 13 hectares and features an inland container terminal with modern warehousing space, a container yard, administrative and service buildings and a large parking area. It is a hub that provides everything that a trader needs,” said Sumeet Bhardwaj, the chief executive of Dubai Ports World Logistics Rwanda.

Tomorrow, in Lusaka: COMESA, EU to sign €53m trade facilitation programme

COMESA Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe and the Head of the EU Delegation to Zambia, Ambassador Alessandro Mariani will jointly sign the agreement in the presence of the Zambia Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Christopher Yaluma. The funds will be used to implement the COMESA Trade Facilitation Programme which aims at increasing intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at specific border posts. It will support trade policy liberalization, infrastructure improvements, improved border management and logistics among others. Five border posts were pre-selected to begin implementing the programme due to their level of preparedness: Mwami / Mchinji (Zambia-Malawi); Galafi (Ethiopia-Djibouti); Chirundu (Zambia-Zimbabwe); Moyale (Ethiopia-Kenya) and Tunduma / Nakonde (Tanzania-Zambia).

ECA and partners to establish Continent-wide digital identities (UNECA)

The support by Omidyar Network will also be instrumental in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence on Digital Identity and Data Privacy and building the capacity of senior officials in this regard. “A Good Digital ID Platform for Africa would ensure that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, which constitute 80% of African enterprises, benefit from this opportunity,” said ECA’s Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe. She adds that Digital ID is an important enabler for access to social and political services, as well as financial and economic inclusion. Magdi Amin, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network underscores that trade, technology, and connectivity are interconnected goals. “Just as the AfCFTA will connect Africa through trade, Africa now seeks to connect markets, services, and people through technology; the goal is that residents of Senegal and Chad will be able to transact with residents of Zambia and Mauritius without friction, with trust, and without requiring that they meet physically. This will create an African Digital Common Market.”

Kenya: Poultry players seek Xmas imports ban (Business Daily)

Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers, Kenya Poultry Breeders and Kenya Poultry Farmers said allowing foreign poultry products’ sale in retail chains adversely affected them as well exposes the public to GMO-reared chicken. Akefema manager Humphrey Mbugua said Kenya’s poultry industry was well developed and had capacity to meet demand for poultry product during the December holidays. “Previously, we were consulted before any poultry products were imported into Kenya but the import declaration forms that disclosed source of the products are no longer in use, hence exposing us to unfair competition,” he said.

Kenya, China minerals survey spat has sector in a spin (The East African)

Investors eyeing Kenya’s mining sector will have to make do without concrete data on the country’s mineral wealth after plans for an aerial survey collapsed. In a move that plunges the Kenya Nationwide Airborne Geophysical Survey project into deeper uncertainty, mistrust of China’s prominent role in the survey has instigated a bitter falling out, prompting the Exim Bank of China to withdraw $65 million in funding. On its part, the Kenyan government has frozen the contract awarded to Chinese firm Geological Exploration Technology Institute to carry out the survey. This development exposes taxpayers to a $20 million fine for breach of contract.

Today’s Quick Links:

European Council adopts conclusions on Ethiopia

IGAD, IDEA sign MOU to promote sustainable peace and development

Tanzania: Local assembling plant for Chinese trucks in offing

Tanzania confident to lure more than 85,000 Chinese tourists

Tanzania: Supporting infrastructure for Stiegler’s project nears completion

Angola bets on huge offshore oil investment

Nigeria seen as biggest rice buyer in 2019, behind China

Qatar-South Africa trade volume touched QR1.31bn in 2017

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