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tralac’s Daily News Selection: AU Summit review

tralac’s Daily News Selection: AU Summit review
Photo credit: Dereje Belachew

12 Feb 2019

A guide to the AU Summit:

Outcomes, commentaries, side-events, country postings

  1. South Africa deposited its AfCFTA instrument of ratification, as did Mauritania and Republic of Congo, with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the sidelines of the 32nd African Union Summit.

  2. Report on Institutional Reform: Remarks by President Kagame at a closed session. “The scope of Africa’s political ambition requires an institution endowed with all the technical competence to deliver the results we want. The strength of our institutional reform is the constant search for solutions through dialogue and consensus.”

  3. Key decisions of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

    On the AfCFTA. Endorsed the recommendations of African Union Ministers of Trade on: Template on Tariff Liberalization which will be used by Member States in preparing the AfCFTA Schedules of Tariff Concessions; and the designation of Sensitive Products and Exclusion List on the basis of the following criteria: food security, national security, fiscal revenue, livelihood and industrialization.

    Decided that Member States wishing to enter into partnerships with third parties should inform the Assembly with assurance that those efforts will not undermine the AU vision of creating one African market.

    Requested the AUC, with the assistance of technical partners, to undertake an assessment of the requirements for the establishment of a future common market including steps to be taken as well as their implications and challenges, for consideration by the AU Ministers of Trade.

    Requested AU Ministers responsible for trade to: submit the Schedules of Tariff Concessions, and Schedules of Specific Commitments on Trade in Services in line with agreed modalities to the July 2019 and January 2020 Sessions of the Assembly, respectively, for adoption; and conclude the negotiations on Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights, and submit the draft legal texts to the January 2021 Session of the Assembly for adoption through the Specialised Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

    On post-2020 partnership with the European Union. Assembly recalled the decision which stressed the need to ensure that Africa speaks with one voice in the various platforms of partnership with the EU, and requested the Commission to ensure cohesion between the Post-Cotonou Agreement and the Post-2020 Continent-to-Continent Partnership, so that continental priorities, as articulated in Agenda 2063 and other related instruments, are consistently reflected in both tracks.

    Assembly elected the Bureau of the Assembly of the Union for 2019. Chairperson: Egypt; 1st Vice-Chairperson: South Africa; 2nd Vice-Chairperson: DRC; 3rd Vice-Chairperson: Niger; Rapporteur: Rwanda

    Diarise: The first Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the AU and the RECs will now take place on 7-8 July 2019 in Niamey. Next year’s 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly will take place on 30 and 31 January 2020 in Addis Ababa.

  4. Infographic tweeted by @AU_KwesiQuartey: Did you know? Since the adoption of the Decision on Financing of the Union in July 2016, there has been unprecedented momentum gathered around its implementation. 16 countries are collecting the 0.2% levy on eligible imports.

  5. Selected commentaries: Empowering the African Union (Donald Kaberuka, Project Syndicate), The reform engine of the African Union has started – over to Egypt to keep it running (Jan Vanheukelom, ECDPM blog), Congo’s Tshisekedi welcomed warmly into the AU fold (Carien du Plessis, Daily Maverick), Africa’s forgotten stateless population (Ineke Mules and Andrew Wasike, DW)

  6. Side events

    1. Smart Africa Alliance: speech by President Kagame at the high-level lunch on Digital Transformation in Africa. Digital identity is the start of a long and valuable chain of capabilities that make citizens better able to participate productively in the regional and global economy. But digital systems can only function well when they are trusted. Information must be protected from unauthorised access. It should be clear who owns the data that people generate and how it will be used. Different digital platforms must also be able to communicate with each other seamlessly. Otherwise, we are merely rebuilding the same fragmentation in the cloud, that we have been working to transcend here on the ground in the African Union. That is why working together to design common standards and guidelines, that serve Africa’s unique needs, is as important for e-government, as it is for e-commerce. I would like to recall the value of the Smart Africa Alliance for implementing technology-based initiatives on a regional basis.

    2. African Leadership Meeting on Investing in Health: remarks by AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Rwanda’s President Kagame, UN SG António Guterres, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, statement by the Global Fund

    3. African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative: Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard

    4. Africa Business: Health Forum 2019. Executive summary of Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (pdf)


Nigeria and South Africa: shaping prospects for the African Continental Free Trade Area (ECDPM)

Building on these findings, this paper analyses the domestic political economy of regional trade policymaking in Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. This analysis draws on secondary sources, and on interviews carried out between April and December 2018 in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. It aims to identify the key domestic actors and factors that influence the way these two swing states participate in regional trade negotiations and that are likely to influence whether and how the two states effectively implement the AfCFTA. Through this analysis, the paper shows how certain domestic dynamics within these two countries have influenced the AfCFTA negotiations and shaped the content of the AfCFTA Agreement. The paper also identifies specific actors and factors within Nigeria and South Africa that could support or impede effective AfCFTA implementation. Extract (pdf):

South African services firms and industries tend to be less vocal in relation to regional trade negotiations, despite having a significant footprint on the African continent in areas such as finance, telecommunications and retail. This is likely due to the fact that South African services firms have been able to do business in Africa very successfully, even in the absence of formal agreements governing regional services trade, and because they recognise the government’s reluctance to negotiate meaningful services trade liberalisation. In fact, even beyond the services sector, there is a general scepticism among the private sector as to the value of regional trade agreements. While recognising the potential benefits of improved access to new markets, the South African private sector is wary about these benefits actually materialising. This is because at the REC level, they have experienced many examples of regional commitments not being implemented by member states or of tariffs being replaced by non-tariff barriers. They are also aware that the South African government is unlikely to hold other member states accountable for not enforcing regional trade agreements and that there is generally no recourse when rights and obligations are not respected. This at least partly explains the apparent lack of interest in the AfCFTA among South Africa’s private sector. [The authors: Sean Woolfrey, Philomena Apiko, Kesa Pharatlhatlhe]

Wandile Sihlobo: A record year for SA’s agricultural exports (Fin24)

Recently released data on SA’s agricultural trade for December 2018 paint a clear picture that is worth highlighting of the full year’s agricultural trade performance. In 2018, South Africa’s agricultural exports grew by 7% y/y to US$10.6bn, a record level in a dataset starting from 2001. This was underpinned by increased exports of oranges, grapes, wine, maize, apples, wool, lemons, mandarins and pears, amongst other products. Over the same period, imports increased marginally to US$6.7bn. The key imported products were rice, wheat, offal, palm oil, whiskey, live cattle and oilcakes for animal feed. But overall, this subsequently led to a 21% y/y increase in South Africa’s agricultural trade balance to a record US$3.9bn.

Mozambique joins international network for certification of fruits and vegetables (Club of Mozambique)

The National Institute for Standardisation and Quality of Mozambique (INNOQ) announced today that it will join an international cooperation network for the certification of fruits and vegetables in the country. INNOQ and the organisation Solidaridad Network Southern Africa will work together to “make products more competitive at national and international level and establish a quality standard for the industry value chain in order to safeguard public health”, the institute says in a communique. Solidaridad Southern Africa will support INNOQ in acquiring laboratory equipment for the analysis of pesticide residues and hiring a consultant who will set the parameters of a national quality standard for fruits and vegetables. The work will be developed in connection with two of Mozambique’s major large-scale supermarket chains and will rely on producer and purchaser databases, producing all necessary documentation for approval by international standards (“Global Gap” and subsequent accreditation by ISO 17065), it concludes.

The FAO/WHO/AU International Conference on Food Safety began today in Addis: access the conference documentation here. Profiled papers:

  1. The need for integrated approaches to address food safety risk: the case of mycotoxins in Africa (pdf). “The health impact of exposure is grossly underreported due to lack of coordinated monitoring and medical surveillance. Mycotoxins are neglected as major public health problems and their control is inadequately funded and not prioritized by many African governments.

  2. pdf Digital transformation of the food system (106 KB) . The complexity, fragmentation and global nature of the food supply chain is a key driver for use of digital technology in the food supply chain in order to provide enhanced traceability of food and safer food to consumers. The forward projections for population growth will place increased pressure on food production systems to cope with the demand for food, and in developing countries consumers are now demanding more processed and packaged foods leading to accelerated investment in process automation. Use of big data to improve food safety, quality and culture is endless; however, challenges remain in regard to getting sign on from industry to critically evaluate its needs for high risk foods; provision of sufficient training of scientists with expertise in food systems issues; and keeping costs for SMEs and developing countries to a minimum.”

Today’s Quick Links:

An Africa invisible to Blackstone is winning back investors

Olivier van Beemen: Heineken claims its business helps Africa. Is that too good to be true?

Rwanda fish production up by 27.8%

South Africa: What Ramaphosa has to do to meet his ‘ease of doing business’ promise

AfDB project completion report for the Walvis Bay container terminal project’s logistics and capacity building component

The textile-clothing value chain in India and Bangladesh: how appropriate policies can promote (or inhibit) trade and investment