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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Kevin Sutherland | Bloomberg

07 Feb 2019

15 minute read

Economic Partnership Agreement between the Eastern Southern Africa (ESA) States and the UK: documentation downloads

pdf Explanatory memorandum (99 KB)

pdf Parliamentary report (209 KB)

pdf Treaty text (502 KB)

African trade policy events (all in Addis):

  1. Today’s livestream: Promoting factor marketing integration through the AfCFTA – press briefing by Mr Albert Muchanga (Commissioner for Trade and Industry)

  2. Tomorrow: AUC high level side event Corruption and the illicit exploitation and trade of Africa’s natural resources – the case of fisheries, forestry and wildlife

  3. Next week (12 February): US-Africa Trade and Investment Forum, hosted by Corporate Council on Africa and US Mission to the AU


UNSC debates global challenge of transnational maritime crime (UN)

Crime on the high seas is becoming increasingly sophisticated, endangering human life on land, the economic growth of entire regions and global safety, the head of the UN anti-crime agency warned the Security Council, underscoring the vital role of international legal treaties in combating the scourge. Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, told the council that maritime crime involved vessels, cargoes, crews and illicit money flows from many regions. “These crimes pose an immediate danger to people’s lives and safety, they undermine human rights, hinder sustainable development, and as this Council has recognized, they threaten international peace and security,” Mr. Fedotov stressed. He urged member states to ratify and effectively implement the relevant international legal framework to curb maritime crime, stressing the critical role of various UN instruments, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, the Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.

Food safety in Africa: past endeavors and future directions (GFSP)

More than half of donor funded food safety initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa are focused on overseas markets, with less than half on domestic consumers, a new report from the Global Food Safety Partnership has found. An analysis of more than 500 projects and activities in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010 found most focused on food safety for exports. While exports are crucial for economies, the African continent suffers the world’s worst levels of food safety, causing human capital losses of an estimated $16.7bn a year in Africa. The Partnership called for more investment into programs focusing on public health after finding less than 5% of donor investments addressed specific health risks, such as Salmonella and E.coli, that local consumers face when purchasing from informal food markets. The report was launched ahead of next week’s first International Food Safety Conference in Addis Ababa. A key finding: Current donor investments in food safety in sub-Saharan Africa largely focus on access to formal markets and regional and overseas exports. Among those projects for which a target market was indicated, more than half were directed towards overseas markets and another 16% concern regional exports. Only 5% of projects focused on microbiological hazards for consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. Specific microorganisms (such as Salmonella or E. coli) are rarely targeted for food safety investments. All countries in sub-Saharan Africa had at least one donor-funded food safety project between 2010 and 2017. However, the 518 projects were largely concentrated in 10 countries in East and West Africa and less than 3% addressed the informal markets used by most consumers.

Nigeria develops five new standards for indigenous food products (BrandSpurNg)

In furtherance of the Federal Government’s quest to promote agriculture as the bedrock of the economic diversification agenda, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria has coordinated the drafting of five new standards on indigenous foods. The ongoing development of the Standards also promotes the application of research and technology to boost the production of foods for local consumption and export. Disclosing this view at the first technical committee meeting on food technology standards in 2019 held in Lagos, SON Director General, Osita Aboloma Esq. stated that the development is to further the Nation’s quest to be at the forefront of promoting indigenous production of food.

Tweets by Ethiopia’s Attorney General, @BerhanuTsegaye: The Attorney General is determined to defend Ethiopia’s legal rights related to Teff. What was reported recently on Teff has to do with a dispute between two private companies. Ethiopia has already deployed a law firm to fight the Teff case internationally. The information released about Teff is misleading and not accurate. The dispute was between 2 private partners and the judgement that was passed in the Netherlands has nothing to do with Ethiopia’s right. That said, Ethiopia has just finalized its preparation to defend its right.

Egypt: Trade Ministry holds first meeting to formulate upgraded version of Export Support Programme (MENAFN)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry hosted the first meeting to formulate new version of the Export Support Programme, with the participation of the heads of Export Councils. The minister of trade and industry, the advisor for SMEs, and the general coordinator of the Export Councils, Hossam Farid, said the meeting comes within a framework of implementing the Prime Minister’s instructions to the ministry of trade and industry to prepare a new programme that is more effective than the current programme in stimulating Egyptian exports. Farid noted that the meeting stressed the importance of focusing on axes of the new programme especially deepening local components in the industry, increasing added value, developing small enterprises, encouraging access to new markets, increasing labour force rates and expanding the benefits of export incentives in the region and the border areas. He revealed that it is scheduled to announce the programme in its new version by the end of February.

Kenyan trade updates

State to establish one stop office for exporters (KBC)

The government will establish a one stop office for exporters in the next two weeks as it seeks to streamline policies in efforts to boost exports. Industry and Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says, the new agency will also help SMEs involved in exports get their tax refunds on time and also access external markets. “The Kenya Export Market Development programme documents key promotional events that will guide export market development activities, Developed through a consultative process involving both public and private sector stakeholders”, said CS Munya. The Kenya Export Market Development programme is aimed at consolidating and enlarging Kenya’s traditional export markets: EAC, COMESA, EU and diversifying into new and emerging export markets of Eastern Europe, North America, Asia and the rest of Africa.

Import-export deficit narrows to 11-year low (Business Daily)

The current account deficit, mainly the gap between imports and exports, fell to the lowest level in 11 years due to rising exports and remittances. The Central Bank of Kenya said in its latest weekly bulletin that other factors pushing the deficit down to 4.9% of GDP were an increase in tourism receipts and a decline in food imports. The deficit was previously lowest in 2007 when it hit 3.8% of GDP but has since been above that level as the amount of imports increased and exports rose at a slow pace. Renaldo Desouza, head of research at Nairobi-based investment bank Sterling Capital, said the big change in the current account was not surprising after the more than 30% increase in diaspora remittances and improved earnings from agricultural exports and tourism. “In addition the relative strength of the Kenya shilling in the year reduced import (even when taking into consideration rises in crude prices) and external debt repayment costs,” said Mr Desouza.

China fish imports hit record high of Sh1.7bn (Business Daily)

The value of fish imported from China increased by 11.8% to a historic high of Sh1.7 billion last year, raising more disquiet from local traders who complain of being edged of the market by the cheaper supplies. Fresh data compiled by the State Department of Fisheries indicates that Kenya shipped in 22,362 tonnes of fish mainly from China, up from 19,127 tonnes worth Sh1.5 billion that was imported in 2017. Industry numbers show the value of fish imports have been rising steadily in the past four years as the Chinese take advantage of their cheaper supplies to gain a foothold in the Kenyan market. The matter of Chinese fish flooding local markets even caused diplomatic unease between Nairobi and Beijing last year when President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenyan government officials should find ways of curtailing the imports.


South Africa: African steel demand boosts ArcelorMittal SA (Business Day)

The group managed to grow the overall volume of steel it sold thanks to demand from the rest of Africa offsetting a 4% drop in SA consumption, CEO Kobus Verster said in the results statement. “SA and key African markets continue to face the threat of steel imports, mainly from China. Although there was a 20%, or 190,000 tons, decrease in imports, 769,000 tons of primary carbon steel were still imported into SA in the year, despite import duties, selective safeguarding and the designation of local steel,” Verster said. “In Africa, steel markets remained positive due to the drive towards infrastructure investments, especially in rail, roads and energy projects, notably in the west and east sub-Saharan regions.”

Why Zimbabwe’s trade deficit matters (Tutwa)

A relatively restrictive stance on trade, combined with Zimbabwe’s geographical isolation, has severely concentrated the country’s trade profile. More than half (51.7%) of Zimbabwe’s $4bn worth of exports in 2018 went to South Africa; with the United Arab Emirates (18%), Mozambique (9,7%), Zambia (1,6%) and goods of Unspecified Origin (14,7%) accounting for more than 40% of Zimbabwe’s remaining share of exports. That’s more than 80% of Zimbabwe’s exports going to just 4 countries. The data on imports is very similar with South Africa accounting for 40.3% of Zimbabwe’s total imports for 2018. However, beyond South Africa, the remaining top five sources of imports account for only 34% of total imports for 2018, compared to 36 percent for 2017. [The author: Heinrich Krogman; Related analysis by Elisha Tshuma: Understanding Zimbabwe’s fuel crisis and its implications for intra-regional trade]

Airlines in all regions, with the exception of Africa, reported an increase in air freight demand in 2018 (IATA)

African carriers’ saw freight demand decrease by 2.2%, in December 2018, compared to the same month in 2017. This was significantly less than the 9.4% decrease the previous month. Capacity increased by 4.9% year-on-year. It’s worth noting that seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes, despite being 7.7% lower than their peak in mid-2017, are still 50% higher than their most recent trough in late-2015. Annual growth in freight demand among Africa carriers in 2018 decreased by 1.3% and capacity grew by 1%. African airlines saw 2018 passenger traffic rise 6.5% compared to 2017 (pdf), which was an increase compared to 6.0% annual growth in 2017. The strong performance took place in spite of the mixed economic backdrop of the continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 4.4%, and load factor jumped 1.4 percentage points to 71.0%.

Today’s Quick Links:

Nigeria: Bankers canvass new economic strategies, approval of AfCFTA

First big oil and gas discovery made offshore of South Africa

Kenya: SA firm pulls out of deal to acquire Nova Academies

Mauritius: Blockchain technology and its impact on digital transformation

Why stop at plastic bags and straws? The case for a global treaty banning most single-use plastics

EU e-waste ‘illegally’ exported to developing countries: Basel Action Network report

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