tralac’s Daily News Selection
Agenda items for tomorrow’s EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha:
The presidents are expected to tackle key issue amongst member states, with priority given to resolution of long outstanding non-tariff barriers; the progress report on the adoption of Political Confederation as a Transitional Model to the East African Political Federation. Other items include: the roadmap for the accelerated integration of South Sudan into the EAC, and the verification exercise for the admission of Somalia.
Agenda items for the 32nd AU Summit:
Draft agenda for the Executive Council (7-8 February)
Draft agenda for the Assembly of the Union (10-11 February). Highlights (pdf) include three major reports: Institutional reform of the AU (by President Kagame and the AUC Chairperson); AfCFTA (by President Issoufou); Implementation of the Assembly decision on post-Cotonou negotiations (by the AUC Chairperson), to be followed by six reports by Chairpersons of the Committees of the Assembly and eight reports by leaders on specific thematic issues.
Again, MAN warns FG against signing of AfCFTA (Nairametrics)
Mansur Ahmed, the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government not to sign the AfCFTA. Ahmed, who is also the interim Chairman of Africa Manufacturers Association, said the measure would save Nigeria from being used as a dumping ground for foreign goods. “Our advocacy on AfCFTA is yielding desired results and as you are aware, Nigeria is yet to sign the framework agreement. MAN is a functional member of the committee that is billed to submit its report to the President in early February. In addition, MAN, being a proactive organisation that strongly believes in evidence-based advocacy, commissioned a sector-specific study on AfCFTA. We have shared the study, full report and fact sheets on the highlights of findings with the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA.” [Manufacturing sector to increase contribution to national GDP: Ahmed explained that Nigeria would eventually sign the agreement but that stakeholders did not want the government to just sign the framework without looking at the impact of the agreement on the sector and on the economy]
Komi Tsowou of the ECA said currently six countries have been targeted - Kenya, Ethiopia, Gambia, Mali, Togo, Nigeria – for the project. The project targets three services sectors that are critical for enabling trade and fostering inclusiveness, in particular in relation to women and youth, namely: infrastructure services (transport and energy), financial services and tourism services. The project offers: Train-the-trainers seminars on measuring and analyzing global and regional value chains; Analysis of selected regional value chains; Multi-stakeholder workshop to share experiences of value chain analysis; Contribution to evidence-based services trade policies; Online knowledge-sharing platform on regional value chain analysis; Guidebook on the experiences, lessons learned and best practices of services value chain analysis. [Strengthening the capacities of African governments for integration of accountability in national development planning: UNECA project update]
Aid for Trade in the services sector: capacity-building and facilitation in the services sector in small states and LDCs (Commonwealth Secretariat)
A core area of concern for LDCs in trade in services is the lack of transparency of regulation, and access to credible information on trade policy, guidelines and procedures. Any effort to facilitate trade in services would be incomplete if it did not commence with addressing this core concern. Aid for Trade can help be used, with the support of the Governments, to create platforms, where LDC service suppliers can access such information, and keep up to date on regulations, and policy, globally, on their respective industries. This would bring down the cost imposed by uncertainty in trade, and help service suppliers better plan their economic activities. Since AfT programmes are collaborative efforts between international agencies, and donor countries, not just restricted to funding ease and facilitation of trade, but also providing capacity building and institutional reform support, the platform would also be ideal to foster, between donors and recipients, mutual recognition (especially, for example, professional qualifications), harmonization, and the exchange of technical know-how and skill-building capacity and initiatives, and promoting best practices, benefitting suppliers and governments on both sides, and making way for easier trade. To this end, it would be essential, as well as beneficial for these programmes, to leverage technology, and create an ‘ecosystem’ of service suppliers from LDCs, and their trading partners, donors and other stakeholders, to connect and collaborate. [The author: Pallavi Bajaj] [Mauritius: national workshop on trade in services]
G20 Compact with Africa update (World Bank)
The World Bank Group and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development have announced a deeper partnership for economic development in six countries in Africa. BMZ will provide significant additional financial support through the partnership, which will harness WBG expertise on the ground in order to catalyze investment, job creation and sustainable economic growth. The partnership flows from a Joint Declaration of Intent signed at an Africa Investment Summit in Berlin on 30 October 2018. It sets out parameters for joint action in Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal in Sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa: December 2018 trade statistics stay in surplus (pdf, SARS)
The South African Revenue Service, today, released trade statistics for December 2018 recording a trade surplus of R17.17bn: the surplus is attributable to exports of R102.75bn and imports of R85.58bn. Exports decreased from November 2018 to December 2018 by R15.92bn (13.4%) while imports decreased from November 2018 to December 2018 by R29.80bn (25.8%). The year-to-date (01 January to 31 December 2018) trade surplus of R11.29bn is a deterioration on the surplus for the comparable period in 2017 of R76.68bn. Exports year-to-date increased by 5.4% whilst imports for the same period showed an increase of 11.6%. Top five countries for exports: China (9.2%), Germany (7.6), United States (7.2), India (4.9), Japan (4.6). Top five countries for imports: China (16.1%), Germany (8.1%), United States (6.3), Saudi Arabia (4.8), Nigeria (4.3)
Kenya hints at lifting embargo on Uganda poultry imports (Business Daily)
The deadly avian influenza disease that led Kenya to place a ban on Ugandan poultry products has now been controlled, paving the way for the lifting of the embargo. Livestock PS Harry Kimutai says Uganda has submitted the report on eradication of the disease to World Organisation for Animal Health and that Kenya is waiting for a directive from the organisation after which the ban will be lifted. The ban was supposed to have been lifted last November but Kenya did not get a status report on the disease in Uganda. Currently, only three Ugandan firms are allowed to export poultry products to Kenya following a partial lift last year. They are Hudani Manji Holdings, SR Afrochick and Kukuchick.
Berkshire Partners LLC acquired a stake in Teraco Data Environments Pty Ltd., becoming the biggest shareholder in Africa’s largest data-center to capitalize on growing demand for internet and cloud-based services on the continent. The Boston-based private-equity firm is sweeping in on Johannesburg-based Teraco as technology plays a more integral part in the life of consumers and businesses. Teraco was expected to fetch between $600m and $1bn, including debt, people familiar with the matter said in November.
Mauritius: IMF completes 2019 Article IV mission (IMF)
A range of reforms and initiatives has been introduced in recent years to spur productivity and competitiveness - including the adoption of the Business Facilitation Act, finalization of the Financial Sector Blueprint, and programs to support youth skill development, small-scale entrepreneurs, and female labor force participation. Improvement in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 indicator is encouraging. Coordination and synergies between the various reforms and initiatives, as well as interaction among the stakeholders, could however be strengthened to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency. The mission welcomed the authorities’ ongoing efforts to strengthen the AML/CFT framework in line with the Financial Action Task Force recommendations and reiterated the need for maintaining strong and independent institutions to overcome the range of policy challenges Mauritius faces to remain an attractive investment destination.
Mauritius and Mozambique have renewed their strong commitment into deepening the existing bilateral and economic ties to further enhance engagement in Africa through the signing of three MOUs in the presence of the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and the President of Mozambique, Mr Filipe Jacinto Nyusi. The MOUs pertain to environment, tourism and trade and investment. An MOU between the State Trading Corporation and its counterpart is also being worked out with regards the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas. Both parties also agreed to operationalise the political consultative committee to enable the two countries to consult each other regarding bilateral and other regional issues of common interest with a keen interest into triggering the Joint Commission between Mauritius and Mozambique.
Local sunflower manufacturers will have their chance to showcase their products and capture SADC market through an exhibition to be held in northern Mozambique in September. Tanzania Trade Development Authority Coordinator SADC Sunflower Export Promotion Project, Gertrude Ngweshemi, said the exhibition is aimed at opening up the regional market to locally processed sunflower oil where demand is high. Ngweshemi said the exhibition will involve at least 10 big local sunflower manufacturers who will showcase their products in the northern Mozambican town of Nampura. She added that after the Nampura sunflower fair, a similar event is scheduled for the Mozambican capital, Maputo later this year.
Africa Road Maintenance Funds Association: Southern African update
The Namibia Road Fund Administration officially opened the Africa Road Maintenance Funds Association’s Southern Africa Focal Group Meeting yesterday at the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek. The four-day event is being held in preparation for the ARMFA Annual General Assembly which will be held from 10-16 March in Swakopmund. Chairperson of the Road Fund, Penda Ithindi, on behalf of the Finance Minister, Mr Calle Schlettwein, said over the past two decades or so, the world has witnessed the rebirth of Africa, the African Renaissance that is anchored on its demographic dividend, growing consumer market, the improved governance index and macroeconomic management. “However, intra-African trade has not mushroomed by much and still remains low, therefore the trade corridor infrastructure is destined to play a pivotal role in enabling the expansion of intra-Africa trade in this expanded market.” [Trade corridor infrastructure to play pivotal role in intra-Africa trade]
Today’s Quick Links:
Lake Chad Basin: Crisis Update No. 26 (November-December 2018)
VP Osinbajo: Nigeria loses over N197bn to digital fraud annually
Nigeria’s envisaged revenue growth: importance of effective monitoring
Restitution fears unsettle trade in African tribal art
TheCityUK Annual Dinner 2019: text of Chancellor’s speech
Digital revolution to use the power of data to combat illegal wildlife trade and reduce food waste