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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

25 Jan 2019

Events listing, Part I

Profiled African trade and development events, starting Monday, for your events calendar:

TFTA Technical Committee on Legal Affairs (28-29 January, Nairobi)

TFTA Technical Working Group on Rules of Origin (30 January – 6 February, Nairobi)

Africa Mining Indaba 2019 (4-7 February, Cape Town)

AU Summit: 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (7-8 February)

AU Summit: 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government

Ministerial Working Group of the Single African Air Transport Market (18-22 February, Addis Ababa)

AfCFTA TWG on Rules of Origin (18 February, Addis Ababa)

Africa Energy Indaba (19-20 February, Sandton)

STC on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration (4-8 March, Yaoundé)

2019 tralac Annual Conference (20-22 March, Nairobi) – details coming soon

52nd Session of the Economic Commission for Africa (20-26 March, Marrakech)

Africa CEO Forum 2019 (25-26 March, Kigali)

World Bank’s Debt Management Facility Stakeholders Forum 2019 (13-14 April, Dakar)

Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (16-18 April, Morocco)

East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2019 (8-10 May, Mombasa)

Inaugural AU-REC coordination meeting (30 June – 1 July, Niamey)

World Economic Forum on Africa (4-6 September, Cape Town)

Conference on Land Policy in Africa 2019 (4-8 November, Abidjan)

Note: Monday’s tralac selection will carry Part II, events happening at venues outside Africa

West African Economic and Monetary Union: IMF concludes discussions on common policies for member countries (IMF)

The adjustment of member countries budget deficits to the WAEMU criterion of 3% of GDP, starting from this year, and a better control of other sources of public debt dynamic are crucial to ensure macroeconomic stability and sustain growth. Fiscal consolidation will require bolstering domestic revenue mobilization, which will also create fiscal space to meet important development needs, including investment in infrastructure, social and security spending. In view of the positive developments regarding foreign exchange reserves, the mission assessed the current monetary policy stance as appropriate, but it encouraged the BCEAO to stand ready to adjust its monetary policy in the event of important changes. The transmission of monetary policy would be enhanced by greater liquidity and depth of the secondary market for government securities and the interbank market, which are essential for the development of the regional financial market and therefore of the private sector. The mission noted with satisfaction that the first year of introduction of major reforms to modernize the financial sector, consistent with Basel II/III principles, went well.

Reality Check: Does the CFA franc keep some African countries poor? (BBC Africa)

Many of the concerns about the CFA franc relate to how it limits the economic levers African countries can use - that they can’t set their own interest rates, for instance. The system is designed to make it easier to obtain international currencies needed for trade. And the reserves are also guaranteed by the French central bank - although this facility is rarely called upon. But it’s difficult to say whether the arrangement between the 14 countries and France has had a detrimental impact on their respective economies. It’s clear though that the CFA franc divides opinion and there is a movement of people who would agree with the claims of the Italian politician. Critics point to the fact that the CFA franc countries are poor, call the currency a relic of French colonialism and say it fails “to stimulate trade integration between user nations”, writes the Senegalese economist Ndongo Samba Sylla. But there are economic benefits of a stable and easily convertible currency, says John Ashbourne, senior emerging markets analyst at Capital Economics. “Inflation, for instance, has tended to be much milder in the CFA countries than elsewhere in Africa.”


World leaders at Davos call for global rules on tech (New York Times)

Leaders of Japan, South Africa, China and Germany issued a series of calls on Wednesday for global oversight of the tech sector, in a clear signal of growing international interest in seizing greater regulatory supervision of an industry led by the United States. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said greater oversight of the tech sector would also be on the agenda of African Union leaders when they meet early next month in Addis Ababa. “When it comes to technology, I would support an overarching body that’ll set standards on a whole range of things,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in an interview, specifically mentioning cybersecurity as a priority. [Tech revolution could cause another world war, Jack Ma warns]

Aftershock: The pervasive effects of tariff hikes (ICC)

A new report launched yesterday at the WEF provides global policymakers with an evidence-based overview of the far-reaching economic and social consequences of trade tariffs. The report, commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce, as part of the ICC World Trade Agenda – an initiative in partnership with Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry – outlines 10 possible effects of a return to the destructive, broad-based tariff increases of the 1930s that have become a genuine possibility in light of recent tit-for-tat hikes by some leading economies. The consequences, illustrated by way of two case studies, range from an increase in poverty to deteriorating health outcomes. While recognizing that trade liberalization has resulted in some negative consequences, the report – prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit – stresses that tariffs are not the answer.

Indonesia to further relax export procedures (Jakarta Post)

The government said it would ease procedures to boost exports, with the aim of bolstering the country’s current account, as the trade deficit was recorded at $8.57bn in 2018, the largest deficit since 1975. Statistics Indonesia recorded that the country had a $11.4bn trade surplus in 2017. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said in Jakarta on Thursday that the government would look to ease survey requirements for exports, depending on the requirements of the destination country. Such a move was considered a solution for short-term problems faced by exporters, the minister said, adding that the government was also developing medium-term and long-term strategies to enhance exports.

Commodity terms of trade: a new database (IMF)

This paper presents a comprehensive database of country-specific commodity price indices for 182 economies covering the period 1962-2018. For each country, the change in the international price of up to 45 individual commodities is weighted using commodity-level trade data. The database includes a commodity terms-of-trade index - which proxies the windfall gains and losses of income associated with changes in world prices - as well as additional country-specific series, including commodity export and import price indices.

Today’s Quick Links:

Australia leads the way on WTO talks to ease cross-border data sharing

Global business leaders raise concerns over e-commerce policy changes in India

Here’s why SA should be concerned about China’s economic slowdown

Ethiopia’s integrated agro-industrial parks support project: AfDB apraisal report

Malawi’s Shire Valley transformation programme: AfDB appraisal report

Kenya’s Green Zones development support project: AfDB appraisal report

African arms market to grow by 50% over five years: analyst

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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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