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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Cooper Inveen | GroundTruth

30 Nov 2018

AfCFTA ratification update, @AUTradeIndustry:

“Great and welcome news. Getting closer to 22. Senegalese cabinet last night adopted draft law authorizing ratification of AfCFTA Agreement. Next and final phase is adoption by Parliament. Looking forward to deposit of instrument of ratification during February 2019 AU Summit.”

20th EAC Heads of State Summit postponed

The 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Summit of the East African Community Heads of State that was slated for Friday, 30th November, 2018 at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) in Arusha, Tanzania has been postponed to a later date. Making the announcement at the AICC’s Simba Hall, the Chairperson of the EAC Council, Hon Dr. Kirunda Kivejinja, said that the Summit would not take place due to a lack of quorum caused by the absence of the Republic of Burundi. Earlier previews: Trade disputes cloud EAC heads of state summit; Is Bujumbura boycotting EAC summit?; Apathy by member countries to blame for EAC financial woes; Cash-strapped EAC shelves EALA sitting in Zanzibar; Uhuru, Magufuli to open Namanga border centre

The East Africa Law Society (EALS) 2018 conference on the theme AfCFTA – challenges and opportunities for the legal profession is underway in Mombasa. Related: An African alliance of attorneys has launched an initiative aimed at combating transnational crimes on the continent.

AUC-US High Level Dialogue: selected outcomes

AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Amb. Quartey and US Assistant Secretary Nagy recommitted to deepening the partnership between the US and the AU, to achieve the AU’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

The US affirmed its support to the AfCFTA while acknowledging the progress attained on its establishment. The US also pledged to enhance discussion on how to complement and support the AfCFTA. Both sides agreed on the value of convening an annual forum for trade and investment to bring together the US and African private sectors to promote investment and expand AGOA implementation at the regional and continental levels.

Both sides agreed on the need to involve the African Union Development Agency/NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency in the African Capacity Building Foundation and the African diaspora in the AUC-US High-Level Dialogue. The two sides also agreed to develop a mechanism to involve the RECs in the High-Level Dialogue and propose a structure to promote interactions between the African and US private sectors. [Download pdf Remarks by Amb. Kwesi Quartey (312 KB) and pdf Remarks by Tibor Nagy (249 KB) ]

Towards a regional database of cross-border financial flows in the EAC

Having a robust, reliable and up to date database to capture cross border financial flows in the EAC, will ensure that partners provide pertinent and accurate information that partner states will use to support the conduct of regional monetary policy in line with the objective of the EAMU protocol of promoting and maintaining monetary and financial stability in the region. The scope of the assignment: (i) Carry out a gap analysis on capturing the cross border financial flows in each of the six EAC Partner States; (ii) Carry out an assessment of the processes at EAC level for capturing cross border financial flows; (iii) Carry out an assessment of existing IT Infrastructures at the EAC Secretariat and in each Partner State to determine the resources requirements for the cross border financial flows database; (iv) Review the draft EAC conceptual framework for collecting the cross border financial flows against findings and produce a revised conceptual framework.

South Africa’s trade statistics for October 2018 (SARS)

The South African Revenue Service today released trade statistics for October 2018 recording a trade deficit of R5.55bn. The year-to-date (1 January to 31 October 2018) trade deficit of R8.82bn is a deterioration on the surplus for the comparable period in 2017 of R48.94bn. Exports year-to-date increased by 6.6% whilst imports for the same period showed an increase of 13.3%. The R5.55 billion trade deficit for October 2018 is attributable to exports of R122.32bn and imports of R127.87bn. Exports increased from September 2018 to October 2018 by R9.53bn (8.5%) and imports increased from September 2018 to October 2018 by R11.26bn (9.7%).

Tanzania faces ballooning import bill as exports drop (The East African)

Increased imports for transport equipment and building and construction materials have seen Tanzania’s current account deficit widen by $966m to $2.159bn in the year ending September 2018, compared with $1.193bn in the same period in 2017. The figure represents a 7.5% rise from August 2018, when the deficit was $2.009bn. The Bank of Tanzania (pdf) says all categories of imports went up, especially capital goods, transport equipment, building and construction materials, an increase attributed to the ongoing construction of the standard gauge railway, roads and bridges, airports and ports. In its latest economic review, the central banks says oil imports, which make up the largest share of imports into the country, accelerated by 8.1% to $1.973bn, largely blamed on the rise in prices in the world market caused by supply factors. At the same time, the export value of goods and services declined, mainly due to a decline in the export of non-traditional goods.

Eswatini: Government’s ambitious Ease of Doing Business target (The Times)

The incoming minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, Minister Manqoba Khumalo, in his vision statement, disclosed that he seeks to attain, and sustain, an Ease of Doing Business index that will position Eswatini in the top 10 in Africa, and top three in Southern Africa. This is against the backdrop of the fact that Eswatini recently dropped five places in the Ease of Business. The World Bank, through its 16th edition of the Ease of Doing Business Report 2019, disclosed that the kingdom was ranked at 117 out of 190 countries. This effectively meant Eswatini’s business environment continued to diminish on a yearly basis when taking into consideration the fact that in 2018, the World Bank ranked the country at 112, which was a regression from the 2017 ranking of 111 out of 190 economies.

Safety, competitiveness, infrastructure key to aviation’s benefits in Africa (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association has urged governments in Africa to maximize the positive social and economic power of aviation by working together to promote safe, sustainable and efficient air connectivity. “African aviation supports $55.8bn of economic activity and 6.2 million jobs. To enable aviation to be an even bigger driver of prosperity across the continent, we must work closely with governments,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s DG and CEO, speaking at the 50th Annual General Assembly meeting of the African Airline Association in Morocco. Competitiveness: Airlines in Africa, on average, lose $1.55 for every passenger carried. Establishing competitive cost structures that enable growth and reducing blocked funds are essential to improving the competitiveness of African aviation. “Africa is an expensive place for airlines to do business. There is no shortage of examples illustrating the heavy burden that governments extract from aviation. Jet fuel costs are 35% higher than the rest of the world. User charges, as a percentage of airlines’ operating costs, are double the industry average. And taxes and charges are among the highest in the world. On top of that, $670m of airline funds are blocked. Too many African governments view aviation as a luxury rather than a necessity. We must change that perception,” said de Juniac.

Daniel Mahler: The shifting gravity of global poverty (World Bank Blogs)

Thirty years ago, 1 in 7 of the world’s extreme poor – those living on less than $1.90 a day – were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, as other regions successfully reduced their poverty levels, this number has increased and by 2015, 4 in 7 of the global poor were living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The newly published Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report warns that as many as 9 in 10 of the world’s poor may live in this region by 2030 if current trends continue. Why is global poverty gravitating towards Sub-Saharan Africa? There are several reasons for this, many of which are discussed in Chapter 1 (pdf) of the Poverty and Shared Prosperity report.

Forging a path beyond borders: The Global South (UNCTAD)

Yet, for as much as the so-called rise of the South has prompted enthusiasm, that “rise” has also been relatively uneven and incomplete. So, what does the future of cooperation among economies of the global South hold for developing countries? The report analyses the rising global South – past and present – with an eye to reinvigorating this important and unique source of development cooperation. The report analyses the main challenges and opportunities in South–South trade, investment and finance and emphasizes growing opportunities for South–South cooperation on technology transfers and partnerships for technological innovation, as well as the suitable policies needed, to kick off innovative partnerships in key emerging areas such as “Industry 4.0”.

Climate finance

Climate finance from developed to developing countries: public flows in 2013-17 (OECD)

Public climate finance from developed to developing countries totalled $56.7bn in 2017, up 17% from $48.5bn in 2016, according to new data compiled by the OECD. A new data series for 2013-2017 shows that public climate finance has risen by 44% from $39.5bn in 2013. The year-on-year rise has been steady aside from a small dip in 2015. The data includes bilateral public climate-related aid from developed countries, multilateral climate finance attributable to developed countries, and officially supported climate-related export credits from developed countries.

Climate investment opportunities in cities: an IFC analysis

Cities in emerging markets alone have the potential to attract more than $29.4 trillion in climate-related investments in six key sectors by 2030, according to a new report by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The report analyzes cities’ climate-related targets and action plans in the six regions, identifying opportunities in priority sectors such as green buildings, public transportation, electric vehicles, waste, water, and renewable energy. It highlights innovative approaches that cities are already using -such as green bonds and public-private partnerships -to attract private capital and build urban resilience. The report includes detailed assessments of the climate-investment opportunities in six representative cities spanning a variety of geographies, sizes, and climate concerns:

OECD, UNEP and World Bank call for a radical shift in financing for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future

The OECD, UN Environment and World Bank Group have called on leaders of G20 countries to do more to enable a radical shift of investment into low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure as a way to limit the impact of climate change. Delivering a new report, Financing climate futures: rethinking infrastructure, to the G20 at its Summit in Buenos Aires, the three organisations said governments need to adopt a more transformative agenda on low-carbon, climate-resilient investments if they are to meet the Paris Agreement goal of cutting CO2 emissions to net zero in the second half of the century and build resilience to climate change. Financing Climate Futures responds to an invitation from the 2017 G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan to the three Organisations to document public and private activities for making financial flows consistent with the Paris goals.

Which sectors have attracted most private investments in infrastructure in 2017? (World Bank Blogs)

For more analyses and region and country level data read the sector notes here. The Sector Notes include country-level analysis, analysis on government and DFI support as well as financing information including role of local debt markets. Transport (pdf, extract): PPI transport investments in Sub-Saharan Africa were down by more than 50% in 2017, compared to 2016. Total PPI transport investments in 2017 were $795m, well below the investment amount of $1.8bn in 2016. Port projects have consistently been the main driver of PPI transport investments in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, with $550m of PPI investments directed to this subsector in 2017. However, PPI investments in port projects in 2017 were one-third of the investments in port projects in 2016. Also, 2017 saw the only PPI investment in an airport project (worth $245m) in the last three years in the region. Significantly, no road and railway projects received PPI investments in 2017. Only two countries received PPI transport investments in 2017, and this accounted for the total PPI investments in the region. Ghana received $550mfor a port project, while Madagascar attracted $245m worth of PPI investment for an airport.

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