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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: World Bank | Gerardo Pesantez

26 Nov 2018

African trade and infrastructure events starting today:

  1. PIDA Week 2018, in Victoria Falls. Nepad CEO, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki: “As regional integration arrangements deepen and intra-African trade increases, we need to focus on improved trans-continental highways in terms of road and rail networks. And deepening of financial markets and increased cross-border financial flows, including money transfers, will require us to make additional investments in ICT and digitalisation while growing industrialization and agro-industries will require more reliable and affordable power supply across the energy mix.”

  2. Global Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy, in Nairobi. The overarching theme of the conference is “Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Downloads: Concept paper; Conference ThemesOfficial hashtags: #BlueEconomyKe, #BlueEconomy2018

Events starting tomorrow:

  1. First African Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees. Topics to be covered during the three-day event in Addis Ababa include the role of African regional organizations, the role of NTFCs in the implementation of trade facilitation provisions in the AfCFTA, paperless initiatives at entry points, the involvement of the private sector in NTFCs, how to coordinate border agencies, and the role of transit corridors. There will also be sessions on the gender dimension in cross-border trade, and the application of digital technologies in future modes of trading at a time when e-commerce becomes ever more important in international trade. Official hashtag: #AfricanNTFCforum

  2. Inclusive growth in Mozambique: annual conference. The Maputo conference will promote in-depth analysis on issues ranging from poverty to youth employment, as well as natural resources in Mozambique. It will be followed, on Wednesday, by a public forum on the topic of Mozambique as a natural gas exporter.

NEPAD’s Planning and Coordination Agency is soon to become the African Union Development Agency: an African Business Magazine interview with Ibrahim Mayaki

“We are pushing the Chinese in three directions, the first is beyond thinking national and bilateral and to think regional. The second is that we have to be very careful with debt. You have to reflect very well to which usage you will put that debt. Point three, all African countries are convinced that we do not want our interaction based on taking raw materials, we need transfer of technology.” Whether the Chinese are interested in consulting NEPAD is one of the many open questions that could determine the relevance of the organisation as it transfers to the AU. But while challenges lie in wait, Mayaki is convinced that NEPAD has a new lease of life.

Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2018-2022 (AfDB)

The EA-RISP 2018-2022 covers 13 countries with a combined market size of more than 326 million consumers in a region with the highest economic growth rates in Africa. These countries fall under three key RECs, namely COMESA (11 countries), IGAD (8) and EAC (6). However, overlapping membership remains a salient feature and all countries in the region, except Somalia, are party to other RECs (Annex 4). If adequately integrated, the potential for trade in goods (inputs, agricultural goods and manufactures), services (e.g. logistics, power, construction, tourism, ICT, financial and professional services), and factors (e.g. intra-regional investment and talent) is large.

Transport: Transport costs in the Region are estimated at about five times more in some countries as compared with countries in Europe and North America. With 5 out of the 13 countries being landlocked and another two being small island states, efficient regional transportation is key for cross-border connectivity and reducing cost of doing business in the region. The region has made substantial improvements in regional infrastructure, but challenges remain. These include existence of missing links along major corridors, and under-developed inland marine waterways. The Northern and Central Corridors evacuate the bulk of the EAC traffic. However, a study by Nathan Associates estimates that the combined traffic volume on the two Corridors would grow manifold from 28.6 million tons in 2009 to 143.1 million tons in 2030, making them inadequate to cater for the region’s growing economies (Annex 7, projected traffic volumes). This underscores the need to upgrade selected highways into superhighways (such as the planned expansion of the Kampala-Jinja highway into a six-lane superhighway), accelerate the development of alternative routes such as the Kenyan-led Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor; and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Corridor, which have been prioritized by RMCs and regional bodies. The region also needs to develop intermodal infrastructure around inland waterways (notably around Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika), railways and airports in order to cope with the projected traffic while connecting producers to raw materials and markets. [Download pdf Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2018-2022 (2.77 MB) ]

East African countries agree to strengthen regional integration through the AfCFTA: Intergovernmental Committee of Experts outcomes (UNECA)

“Political will is crucial,” said Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwanda Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, “but we need to include the private sector”. He added that the AfCFTA must benefit all, including smaller economies, and the experience of the regional integration can help make the AfCFTA a success. Speaking at the closing ceremony, Andrew Mold, Acting Director of the ECA in East Africa congratulated the representatives from the 14 countries served by the sub-regional office. “The meeting has contributed towards reaching a consensus on the way forward towards the implementation of the AfCFTA.”

EAC Heads of State Summit: preview

The 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Summit (Friday, 30 November, Arusha) will be preceded by the 38th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers (25-28 November). Among the items on the Provisional Agenda of the summit: the status of ratification of various protocols; the status of resolution of long outstanding non-tariff barriers, and a progress report on the adoption of Political Confederation as a Transitional Model to the East African Political Federation. Other items on the Agenda include: the roadmap for the accelerated integration South Sudan into the EAC, and the verification exercise for the admission of Somalia into the Community. The Summit will also consider reports on modalities for the promotion of motor vehicle assembly in East Africa aimed at reducing importation of used vehicles into the Community, and a review of the textile and leather sector, with a view to developing a strong and competitive domestic sector that gives consumers better choice than imported textile and footwear.

39th COMESA Council of Ministers meeting concludes in Lusaka

The meeting was informed that the Secretariat is due to conduct a mid-term review of the Medium-Term Strategic Plan which was adopted in 2016 to assess the region’s performance concerning the strategic objectives. Member States were urged to focus on industrialization by ratifying and domesticating the COMESA Industrial Policy Implementation Plan which has nine key priority areas. For infrastructure development and maintenance, the region was encouraged to come up with innovative ways of raising resources such as Public-Private Partnerships for infrastructural development and not rely on resources from the public sector alone. In order to enhance knowledge on regional integration, COMESA is establishing a Virtual University on Regional Integration hosted by Kenyatta University which will offer post graduate level master’s degrees.

Africa Industrialization Week: overview, downloads

Mozambique: AfDB’s country results brief 2018 (AfDB)

The results brief analyses socio-economic outcomes in Mozambique over the past decade, identifying results along three interconnected layers: the overall development trends in Mozambique; the contribution of the African Development Bank to development progress in Mozambique, and how efficient the Bank is managing its operations in Mozambique. [World Bank Blog: Leveling the playing field in Mozambique – making growth benefit all]

Zimbabwe 2019 National Budget: documentation (GoZ)

Globalisation and foreign relations. Government has consistently proclaimed its resolve to re-engage and integrate into the global village, hence, the interest to re-engage. This is out of the realisation that through international isolation, we have lost immensely as a nation, particularly through deprivation of access to international capital markets, technology, trade, among others, resulting in low economic growth. In order to catch up globally, we have as His Excellency the President, has repeatedly advocated to leap frog and double our efforts towards re-approchement and re-engagement through normalising the country’s relations with all countries, including the West. We look forward to rejoining the Commonwealth and we have initiated this process. Most important is the ongoing re-orientation of our Diplomatic Missions towards economic and trade diplomacy. The Budget proposes rationalisation of some of the Missions in pursuit of this objective. Government remains committed to protecting investments that fall under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements, as it forges ahead on protection of property rights. Consequently, the two BIPPAs awaiting signature and 22 BIPPAs under negotiation will go through both the approval and ratification processes in 2019.

Promotion of fertilizer production, cross-border trade and consumption in Africa (AfDB)

This study presents the main deliverables of the assignment (pdf) which include: (i) comprehensive literature review, (ii) mapping of viable fertilizer manufacturing plants, (iii) identification of policies influencing fertilizer production, trade, distribution and consumption, and (iv) analysis of policies and regulatory environment in the fertilizer sector, with the objective of proposing options for sustainable fertilizer business in Africa. The production of fertilizer in Africa is concentrated among six countries: Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, and Morocco. With the exception of Nigeria, these countries have a developed fertilizer industry and also a higher level of fertilizer use. A significant fertilizer capacity development on nitrogen and phosphorus is expected in Africa. These additions are mainly in Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria for urea (about 8 Mt) and Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt for processed phosphates (about 5Mt). As of 2017, Sub-Saharan Africa had a total of 59 fertilizer blending plants, 17 of which were in Nigeria . The planned bulk blending projects in the region are 19 – five in Nigeria and four in Tanzania. The consumption of fertilizer in Africa is still low (about 3% of the world total). However, the forecasted annual growth rate 2015 to 2020 is very high (3.86%) thus indicating a need for increased supply availability and distribution in the continent.

Zambia-Zimbabwe-Botswana-Namibia Interconnector (ZiZaBoNa): ESIA summary for Phase A (AfDB)

ZIZABONA is to create an alternative wheeling path between northern and southern parts of SADC, and decongest the central transmission corridor. The corridor currently transfers 80MW from Hwange to Namibia through this corridor and ZIZABONA will increase it with 350MW. It is further meant to particularly facilitate evacuation of power from upcoming projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe to demand centers in South Africa and Namibia, thereby facilitating regional power trading. Since this line is reinforcing the existing connections it will reduce losses in the current systems. Component A is the first phase of the development to strengthen the interconnection between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, however the current proposed works will reinforce interconnection between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project will also create steady revenues for both utilities through wheeling charges and exports thereby increasing the utilities’ financial sustainability.

World Trade Outlook Indicator: further loss of momentum in trade growth into Q4 (WTO)

Trade growth is likely to slow further into the fourth quarter of 2018 according to the WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator released today. The most recent WTOI reading of 98.6 is the lowest since October 2016 and reflects declines in all component indices. It is below the previous value of 100.3 and falls under the baseline value of 100 for the index, signalling that trade growth in the coming months is expected to be below-trend. The latest results are consistent with the WTO’s downgraded outlook for global trade issued in September amid escalating trade tensions and tighter credit conditions in important markets. The revised forecast anticipated trade expansion to slow to 3.9% in 2018 and 3.7% in 2019 from 4.7% in 2017. Designed to provide “real time” information on the trajectory of world trade relative to recent trends, the WTOI is not intended as a short-term forecast, although it does provide an indication of trade growth in the near future. [Dispute Settlement Body: Items proposed for consideration at 4 December meeting]

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This post has been sourced on behalf of tralac and disseminated to enhance trade policy knowledge and debate. It is distributed to recipients across Africa and internationally, serving in the AU, RECs, national government trade departments and research and development agencies.

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