tralac’s Daily News Selection
tralac in the news at AEC2018: ”We have learned a lot of lessons,” Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director of the Trade Law Centre, said. “We have a window to build capacity… most implementation is done at national level… there is lot that existing (free-trade areas) can bring.”
African flagship report launches: Fifth African Governance Report (AGR-V) emphasises need to improve governance of Africa’s abundant natural resources; 2018 African SDG report calls for critical investments in urbanization
The report is concerned with tourism products and services that are delivered by and/or based in local communities in Africa. The report uses the term Community-Based Tourism (or CBT) and is further defined as: Accommodation homestays in ‘underserved’ areas (remote areas, poorer neighborhoods, marginalized or informal settlements); Experiences within these communities, such as guided walks, tours, classes, etc. There is very limited data on CBT in established and emerging African destinations (pdf): CBT experiences with Homestay Accommodation are present in Morocco and South Africa, Africa’s two leading countries for inbound visitor arrivals, although numbers are far fewer than in Asia or the Americas. CBT products are more limited in developing tourism destinations such as Ethiopia, Senegal, and Zambia. Where there is less alternative visitor accommodation available, CBT products are emerging. Recent research conducted to identify the CBT products offered in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Zambia by European tour operators, showed that homestay, village or camping accommodation was used most frequently in Zambia (accounting for around 40% of the nights offered on tours). This number was more than double the amount used in Senegal (19%) and Ethiopia (15%). However, the accommodation offered in Zambia involved limited interaction with local communities, and Ethiopia offered the highest proportion of immersive CBT experiences.
Nigeria alone imports around 150,000 used cars a year, according to PriceWaterhouse Coopers. These vehicles cost around 10% of a new car and present a formidable market hurdle to companies trying to compete. “If African countries are serious about industrialisation, they have to put a stop to the dumping of cheap cars, especially those over five years old,” says Martyn Davies, MD of Emerging Markets & Africa at Deloitte South Africa. Mr Davies is working with several African governments, including Nigeria, helping to devise a policy framework that will stem the flow of cheap used cars. This, he says, will help assemblers open new factories in African countries that will create jobs and skills locally.
“Nigeria and Africa at large, has the potential to perform well for the automotive industry,” General Manager of GAC Motors, Yu Jun said. “We are willing to make the necessary investments to ensure our Nigerians customers – and those in the wider region – become familiar with our brand.” Mr Jun said GAC would for now concentrate on developing its brand locally, before expanding beyond Nigeria. “We’ll first establish ourselves in the Nigerian market, then look to which others offer the best opportunity: Ethiopia, Algeria, Egypt, etcetera.”
UAE, India agree to collaborate on African aid projects: starting with Ethiopia’s IT centre of excellence (The National)
Southern African trade facilitation updates:
WCO, SACU celebrate successful conclusion of the regional customs modernization programme. On 15-16 November, the SACU Secretariat hosted the WCO and the five SACU Customs administrations in Windhoek to reflect on the achievements, challenges and lessons learned and to receive the project deliverables as the project comes to an end in December 2018. Over the past five years and through the delivery of 114 activities (including 96 on-site activities), the project has achieved tangible results in the areas of IT connectivity, trade facilitation, risk management and legislative reform. In particular, the SACU region has developed its own regional framework for IT Connectivity, based on the WCO Data Model and Globally Networked Customs, and South Africa and Swaziland have now entered into live data exchange. The SACU region has also developed a framework for its Regional Preferred Trader Programme (scheme and operating manuals), covering 76 operators, and has trained a critical mass of Preferred Trader auditors to effectively roll out the programme at regional level. Thanks to the Project’s momentum, the SACU Member States were all also able to ratify Annex E to the SACU Treaty during the lifetime of the SACU-Connect Project and to modernize their Customs legislative framework. [Speeches: pdf SACU Executive Secretary, Ms Paulina M. Elago (45 KB) ; pdf Namibia’s PS of Finance, Ms Ericah B. Shafudah (33 KB) ; pdf Botswana’s Commissioner of Customs, Mr Phodiso Valashia (26 KB) ]
Note: The 50th meeting of the SACU Commission is being held at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Center. It is chaired by Mrs Tsolo Motena, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Lesotho.
The next tralac monthly Newsletter will focus on SACU. Click here to subscribe.
Lesotho’s WTO TFA implementation. At the request of the Lesotho Revenue Authority, the WCO conducted a diagnostic support mission on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement from 19-23 November 2018, in Maseru. The scoping mission included discussions with different units of the LRA as well as other key stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho, the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Lesotho Employers, and the Lesotho Nation Trade Facilitation Committee inter alia. As a result of the mission, a comprehensive assessment was made of the current needs in Lesotho with regards to implementing the TFA.
South Africa’s average port tariffs to fall 6% next year. South Africa’s ports regulator said its average tariffs for the 2019/20 financial year will decrease by 6.27%, although coal export charges will rise, a statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday said. The coal dry bulk export cargo dues will increase by 10% from 1 April next year to 31 March 31 in 2020, while the RoRo or “roll on, roll off” cargo dues, which include the automotive sector, will decrease by a similar amount.
- Delays in commencing works on the Harare-Beitbridge highway dualisation have forced the Zimbabwean government to segment plans for its rehabilitation and expansion of the road, which has been plagued by numerous fatal road crashes involving buses, minibus taxis, private cars and haulage trucks. Addressing chiefs at the 2018 annual chiefs conference in Kadoma, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government had to withdraw a tender that had been awarded to Austrian firm Geiger International after it had “spent close to year making promises that they will start work soon”. Acting information minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu, told journalists Tuesday evening that the Cabinet had decided to segment the road project into nine sections. The 582 km Harare-Beitbridge highway is part of the north-south corridor linking the southern port of Durban with other Sadc and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, facilitating trade within the region.
Tanzania trade and industrial policy updates:
Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, (Policy and Coordination), Prof Faustin Kamuzora yesterday affirmed government’s commitment to creating an environment that is friendly to doing business and attractive to investors. In a press briefing after the first meeting of the TNB’s Business Environment Working Group, Prof Kamuzora, who chairs the committee, assured the public that the group will work very hard and leave no stone unturned in looking for solutions to problems and challenges that stand in the way of doing efficient business and that undermine investment efforts. “Civil service performance, policy and legislation challenges are reasons that have made it very difficult for people who want to start business or invest in this country. This committee is going to study critically all these irritants and recommend their eradication so that they become history in this country,” the PS said, confidently adding that this national obligation cannot be evaded.
This is what govt plans to do with cashew harvest: contingency plan. According to the newly-appointed Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga, the government intends to implement a ‘plan B’ that will involve exporting the raw cashew now being purchased from local farmers for processing abroad in case the revival of a factory that was recently repossessed by the state from private owners flops. “We basically have two alternatives. First we are going to look into local capacity to process the raw cashew nuts. But if our capacity falls short, we are going to look for a contractor outside the country to do the cashew processsing work for us and we will take our kernel (processed nut),” Hasunga told the Financial Times. As the government mulls with in-country processing of raw cashews, some bankers have warned that the country’s shilling could depreciate due to a halt of cashew exports.
Fahad Awadh, co-founder of the YYTZ Agro-Processing factory joined CNBC Africa to discuss sustainable ways to put an end to the cashew nut crisis. Excerpts
- Dr Reginald Mengi invites Chinese firms into crop processing, smelting plants; Talks on LNG project set to proceed
South Africa: The recession ends as GDP climbs by 2,2% (Stats SA)
The South African economy grew by 2,2% quarter-on-quarter (seasonally adjusted and annualised) in the third quarter of 2018, bringing to an end the country’s second recession since 1994. Higher contributions to growth in a number of industries – most notably in manufacturing, transport as well as finance and business services – were enough to lift economic growth back into positive territory. The rise in economic activity in the third quarter follows two consecutive quarters of negative growth, which is a widely recognised indicator of recession. The economy slumped by 2,6% in the first quarter of 2018 and a further 0,4%1 in the second quarter. Manufacturing was the main driver of positive growth in the third quarter. [Download: pdf Statistical release (401 KB) and pdf Media presentation (1.84 MB) ; Carbon tax will mean more trade, not less – Treasury]
Speaking during a ceremony at the Bank’s Cairo headquarters, Claude Rameaux Bireau, Minister of State and Economic Adviser to the President, who led a five-member delegation, said that Central African Republic had very high expectations from Afreximbank and looked forward to strengthened cooperation with the institution. Mr Bireau said the CAR would move quickly to take up shareholding in the Bank and announced that the government was already working with the African Development Bank to support it in that regard.
The Private Sector Development for Inclusive Growth development policy financing will help finance the government’s own economic development program, ‘Egypt Takes Off.’ The program is designed to support three of the government’s key objectives of job creation, improving government performance and raising living standards. The DPF is focused on reforms to improve the business environment, with an emphasis on ensuring small businesses have access to finance and new financial technology such as digital payments, along with opportunities to bid for government contracts; while empowering local governorates and districts for local investment planning.
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