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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: David White | Oxfam International

07 Mar 2019

14 minute read

Diarise: The IDA19 replenishment process will be held in June, in Addis Ababa. A backgrounder on the IDA19 Replenishment

A preview of next Tuesday’s Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission

Africa-Europe Alliance: Task Force for Rural Africa final report (EU)

The Task Force for Rural Africa delivered, today, its final report pdf An Africa-Europe agenda for rural transformation (1.31 MB)  for the new ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ unveiled by President Jean-Claude Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union. According to the recommendations of this group of African and European experts, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government. It would institute a multi-stakeholder dialogue at all levels, starting locally, and enable a closer connection between African and European societies, business communities and governments.

Building on some of the short term recommendations made by the Task Force, the European Commission will start implementing the following projects: (i) Twinning and exchange programmes between African and European agricultural bodies: the Commission has just launched a Pilot Vocational Education and training initiative with Africa of €5m; (ii) AU-EU Agribusiness platform: recognising the key role the private sector can play for structural transformation in Africa, the Commission proposes to set up a platform to link European and African businesses; (iii) Innovation hubs: to support ‘agripreneurs’ and the African agri-food sector, innovation hubs can be established or strengthened with the aim of applying practical knowledge. To make this an open and inclusive process, the Commission will launch an online consultation to gather direct feedback from African stakeholders on the Task Force’s strategic approach and on the state of play of the agri-food trade and cooperation between our two continents. Together with today’s report, the outcome of this consultation will feed into the third AU-EU agricultural ministerial conference in Rome, planned for June 2019.

Japan to launch Africa investment body to counter China and West

Japan will set up a permanent joint council between the government and private sectors to promote investment in Africa as it seeks to play catch-up with China, the U.S. and Europe in the increasingly promising region, government sources said on Thursday. The launch of the joint council will coincide with the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD7, scheduled for August, the sources said. The new permanent public-private council will be made up of officials from Japanese government ministries and agencies, economic organizations and small- and medium-size companies that have relations with Africa. The government bodies will include the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, while the economic organizations will include the Japan Business Federation, better known as Keidanren, and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, also known as Keizai Doyukai. The council will meet two or three times a year, with the foreign minister, the economy, trade and industry minister and a business industry representative serving as joint chairpersons. [Guillaume Arditti: Closing Africa’s financing gap; Joseph Mate: Private debt a key component of Africa’s growth matrix]

Abhishek Mishra: Assessing Indian investments in West Africa (ORF)

The West African region has emerged as an important partner for India, both as export market and as import source. This is reflected in the synergy in bilateral trade relations wherein India’s total trade with West African countries $13.5bn to $21.6bn during the decade 2008-09 to 2017-18. India’s exports to the region amounts to $6.4bn, and imports from the region amounts to $15.3bn during 2017-18. However, despite efforts to boost bilateral relations, West Africa’s participation as an investment partner to India remains relatively limited. Looking forward: Priority must be given on forging closer tie-ups in Small and Medium Enterprises. Renewable energy is the next big frontier of India-West Africa partnership to promote green growth. The ECOWAS region should look to access more funds from GOI’s $10bn credit promised to African countries, out of which $2bn have been earmarked for solar projects under International Solar Alliance.

Defining and quantifying South-South Cooperation

This discussion paper unpacks and provides background to some of these conceptual and political debates. It highlights the experiences, approaches and methods used to account SSC taken by different countries and regional institutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It will also reflect on potential definitions for SSC, that effectively incorporate aspects of technical and economic cooperation, allowing countries and multilateral institutions to report SSC in a standardised and consistent manner, as part of the SDG monitoring process. Extract (pdf):

SSC is no longer a side-show. Better data is now required to accurately tell the story of South-South cooperation. If the global South doesn’t come up with its own definitions and measures, others (most likely in the North) will continue to produce most of the analysis around SSC. Ironically, most of the current data on South-South development finance is generated in the North, by institutions such as the OECD, Aid Data, research institutes and universities in Europe and North America. Politically, it is no longer tenable to criticise northern statistics and methodologies without presenting a technically sound Southern alternative. BAPA+40 in March 2019 presents a timely opportunity for memberstates and Southern partners to agree on some of the critical conceptual and measurement issues which have prevented SSC analysis and policy from evolving and adapting to the SDG era. [The authors: Neissan A. Besherati, Steve MacFeely; BAPA+40 conference (20-22 March, Buenos Aires)]

Eswatini joins Afreximbank as 51st participating state

Ambassador Promise Msibi expressed regret that Eswatini was only just joining the Bank and expressed the country’s commitment to supporting the work of the Bank. He commended Afreximbank for its effort to introduce a Pan-African Payment and Settlement Platform, said that it would greatly improve the quality of life of Africans, especially in the context of the implementation of the AfCFTA. He noted that Eswatini was positioning itself to host secretariat of the AfCFTA and said that the payment platform would facilitate the smooth takeoff of the secretariat. He urged Afreximbank to move toward a quick implementation of the programme that had been identified in Eswatini. President Oramah said the Bank would shortly be sending a business development mission to Mbabane help move forward the transactions that had been identified.

Great Lakes: Regional ministers to harmonise regional refugee strategy (New Vision)

The Great Lakes Ministers in charge of refugees met in Kampala on Wednesday to harmonise the regional strategy to address repatriation, local integration, financing and eliminating factors fuelling the refugees crisis in the region. President Yoweri Museveni addressed the ministers at Speak Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala on Wednesday. Museveni underlined Uganda’s continued role to lead regional efforts in dealing with the problem and drummed-up partners for further support. Currently about 4.4 million refugees and asylum seekers originate from the Great Lakes region including from Burundi, Central African Republic, the DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Sudan. Technocrats suggested that the ICGLR secretariat should start coordinating efforts to achieve a regional strategy that would achieve durable solutions for the refugees.

South Africa: Cape Town’s boat-building industry generates R1bn annually (Cape Town etc)

As the largest boat-building city in South Africa, Cape Town has generated more than R1bn in export revenue from boat building annually and has directly contributed to the growing number of job opportunities in the sector. Cape Town’s boat building industry is globally recognised for its world-class craftsmanship, innovation and custom-made designs. The city is also the second-largest producer of recreational catamarans in the world and each year the industry grows by 28.8%. [Speed bumps ahead for SA’s motor industry; Mmatlou Kalaba: How droughts will affect South Africa’s broader economy]

Kenya: Re-exports increase to Sh71.4bn in 2018 (The Star)

Foreign goods ordered by Kenyan traders for resale increased by Sh 7.89 billion in 2018 owing to chemicals and mineral fuels. Central Bank of Kenya data on foreign trade for 2018 shows that trade in re-exports goods rose 12.43% to Sh71.4 billion in 2018 compared to Sh63.5 billion in 2017. Re-exports are goods that are imported then processed or manufactured before being exported again to another destination. The main re-exports mainly include petroleum fuels, farm and industrial inputs, motor vehicles and equipment not manufactured in the country.

South Africa: Government intervenes to save the poultry industry (dti)

The South African government continues to deploy a number of interventions to support the poultry industry. In this regard, a task team was established to work towards a comprehensive plan for the industry that will respond to the immediate threats facing the industry and longer-term measures to improve competitiveness and transformation of the industry. The task Team comprises of representatives of government (Department of Trade & Industry; Department of Agriculture Forestry & Fisheries; Economic Development Department); the Industrial Development Corporation; private sector (SA Poultry Association; and one representative from a major poultry companies) and labour (Food & Allied Workers Union). To date, the dti and industry, SAPA, have commenced research work on the development of the Poultry Master Plan, which feeds in to the work of the Task Team.

South Africa: Current account of the balance of payments Q4 2018 (SARB)

In the fourth quarter of 2018 the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments narrowed by R70.2bn to R110.2bn compared to R180.4bn in the third quarter. As a ratio of gross domestic product the current account deficit improved to 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 3.7% in the third quarter. For the calendar year, this ratio deteriorated from 2.5% in 2017 to 3.5% in 2018. South Africa’s trade surplus widened substantially, from R10.2bn in the third quarter of 2018 to R71.8bn in the fourth quarter. The improvement in the trade balance came about as the value of merchandise exports increased while that of imports declined. The higher value of merchandise exports reflected an increase in volume, while lower volumes weighed down the value of imported goods. For the year as a whole, the trade surplus deteriorated by R40.6bn to R24.3bn in 2018, from R64.9bn in 2017. [NKC African Economics infographic]

MTN plans to launch Africa’s WeChat

Mobile operator MTN plans to roll out a multipurpose app akin to Tencent’s WeChat in the coming months, CEO Rob Shuter said on Thursday. “We’ve built an instant-messaging platform that will be integrated with mobile money to form the first step of what we call the ‘African WeChat’, Shuter said. The instant-messaging platform would be launched in two markets “in the next month or so”. Shuter said MTN would soon launch mobile-money services — already live in 14 of its markets — in SA, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Sudan.
 

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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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