Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Joseph Maynard

Featured tweet by the AUC’s @AmbMuchanga: Good news! The Parliament of The Gambia has approved ratification of AfCFTA Agreement making us meet the minimum threshold [of 22]. The AfCFTA market is being born and is one step ready for launch of its operational phase in July this year.

Related tralac infographic: AfCFTA ratification update

The Kenya High Commission in Pretoria is to host the 3rd Annual Kenya Trade and Investment Summit later this week (4-6 April). The key strategic focus of the summit is to draw interest on Kenya’s “Big Four” Agenda, and to encourage the South African private sector to invest in manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.

AfCFTA: What is in it for Uganda? (Monitor)

Speaking to members of Uganda Manufacturers Association last week in a sensitisation workshop on AfCTA, the commissioner for external trade at the trade ministry, Mr Silver Ojakol, said the government is already doing its job ahead of the ratification expected to be a done deal in the next three months or at worst, by close of the year. Prosper Magazine understands that a Cabinet Sub Committee has been put in place to fast track Uganda’s penetration into the broader market and ensure the country’s competitiveness in the wider regional and continental market. Already, the government has profiled several local commodities which the private sector should embrace for export to the continental market. According to Mr Ojakol, should the private sector players, particularly the manufacturers heed the government appeal, then the chances of being spectators as opposed to active participants will not arise.

NANTS communiqué: Implementation of AfCFTA in Nigeria will increase unemployment among farmers

“To ensure the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, participants urged the government to establish mechanism for developing a national AfCFTA strategy in the form of a standing National Action Committee on AfCFTA Implementation Strategies with mandates to recommend adjustment costs compensation, technology and know-how access, research and development subsidization, export market strategies, AfCFTA rules of origin, skills development, business environmental reforms including AfCFTA Country Business Index, AfCFTA impact monitoring and evaluation, among others. In addition, the need for significant public investment to cooperate in the formulation and enforcement of continental Rules of Origin to forestall trade deflection, institutionalisation of contingent protection measures and implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, was emphasised.” [Nigeria National Accreditation Service: How to free Nigeria of substandard goods]

South Africa’s trade minister Rob Davies: ‘We offer productivity’ to China and other investors (The Africa Report)

Davies explains why South Africa is different: “We’re not really in the same place as some other countries on the continent – where the sort of flying geese model, the low wage activities of China will find their places. We’re not in that space in South Africa, we never will be. […] We offer a quality experience. We offer productivity. We offer capability. So I think that’s actually what we learned with Hisense.” [The Africa Report: Ethiopia’s China challenge; David Pilling, Emily Feng: How Chinese entrepreneurs are quietly reshaping Africa]

UNCTAD’s eCommerce Week 2019 began yesterday in Geneva:

  1. Enhancing the digital dimension in development cooperation strategies. Session summary: Only 1% of all funding provided under what are known as Aid for Trade programmes is currently allocated to ICT solutions. Similarly, multilateral development banks are investing just 1% of their total spending on ICT projects, only about 4% of which is being spent on policy development, work that is critical if digital economies are to be well regulated. If left unaddressed, current divides are set to widen further, exacerbating existing inequalities. This calls for more attention to the digital dimension in the context of development cooperation strategies of both public donor agencies and their private sector counterparts. “The factors that can contribute to growing the digital economy are clear. But the gap of leaving people behind will only widen if we do not start working together,” said Daniela Zehentner-Capell, who heads the trade policy division at Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. [Technical note for the panel discussion: Donor support to the Digital Economy in developing countries - a 2018 survey of public and private organizations, pdf; The week’s programme can be viewed here]

  2. Global regulation of digital trade and e-commerce - what is needed? Comments by WTO DG Roberto Azevêdo. E-commerce has reached a high profile in discussions at the international level. We are seeing a growing number of initiatives on this front. For example, there is now a growing number of regional agreements with provisions addressing specific e-commerce issues. Currently about 30% of the RTAs notified to the WTO contain e-commerce provisions, and this number is bound to grow. This seems to indicate that countries are taking measures – regionally and bilaterally – to try and regulate cross-border e-commerce. And there are also efforts towards a more coordinated approach. Over the past few years, at the WTO, we have witnessed growing interest in discussing e-commerce issues in more detail.

Joining forces for e-commerce: how small African firms succeed with collaborative business models (ITC)

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa can tackle e-commerce barriers such as formalization, e-payments and delivery by joining forces through collaborative business models. This paper examines the pros and cons of three models – associations, consortiums and cooperatives – and finds that cooperatives are the most suitable to connect small African firms to cross-border e-commerce. Extract from the Foreword, by Arancha González (pdf):But while we have seen many cases of such micro-multinationals trading internationally from emerging economies, there are still far too few from Africa. ITC’s experience across Africa, including in the West African Economic and Monetary Union and in Rwanda, Senegal and Kenya, have shown us the practical difficulties encountered by local firms wishing to engage in e-commerce. We saw how small companies find it challenging to take part in cross-border e-commerce without access to soft and hard infrastructure, market knowledge and e-payment services. Export procedures, customs regulations and compliance with tax, privacy and payment norms present additional burdens. Despite the challenges, I am optimistic about the opportunities for African e-commerce to flourish. For one, the trend lines are pointing in the right direction.

2nd IMF Fintech Roundtable: speech by IMF’s David Lipton

However, we are also witnessing worrisome changes in the international community that could weaken the spirit of multilateral cooperation and make our task more complex. These forces of fragmentation are evident, for example, in trade disputes; in policies that promote national champions - for example, the battle over 5G networks; and in the potential for a regulatory race to the bottom. These forces of fragmentation have a direct bearing on the issues we are addressing today as international aspects of regulatory harmonization will be implemented in this climate. Countries facing the challenge of fintech have legitimate concerns about competition, about the market power of technology giants, and the cyber-risks and social disruptions that may accompany rapid technological change. Many countries worry about how data is collected and used; and how IT firms are taxed. These are issues that need to be discussed in connection with the subject of fintech.

Didier Nkurikiyimfura (Smart Africa’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer): Africa needs more data centres

A new report from McKinsey Global Institute: Digital India – technology to transform a connected nation

Nigeria’s Senate rejects Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry’s budget estimates for 2019 (ThisDay)

The Senate yesterday rejected the N15.63 billion budget proposals of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for 2019 due to the discovery of a strange company listed as a parastatal under the ministry. The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment had in the course of the presentation of the 2019 budget proposals of the ministry before it uncovered a Special Economic Zone Company listed for N42 billion appropriation.

Nigeria: Life expectancy now 52 years (Premium Times)

The National Population Commission says the current overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years. The Acting Chairman of NPC, Hassan Bashir, stated this in New York while delivering Nigeria’s statement (pdf) at the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development. “The total Fertility Rate remains at 5.5 per woman; 63% of the entire population is under the age of 25; 42% is under the age of 15 years. According to him, Nigeria recently concluded the field work of its national demography and health survey in 2018 and while it awaits the outcome of that survey, early and child marriage still persists. He said data available indicated that unintended and unwanted pregnancies were common as 23 per cent of the adolescent girl age 15 to 19 years have commenced reproduction. Mr Bande, Chairman, African Group, UN (pdf), said Africa remained committed to cooperating internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of all migrants. “To this effect, the African Group supports the free movement of people and goods within countries as it foster rural-urban inter-linkages, and regional integration.”

South Africa backs Namibia against dumping chicken from Brazil (The Exchange)

The South African Poultry Association said on Tuesday that it had noted with alarm that the insidious dumping of chicken from Brazil that plagues the local industry has also taken root in Namibia. Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of SAPA’s broiler division, said that it was increasingly clear that Southern Africa was now in the crosshairs of exporters looking for markets for the unwanted leg quarters that are the byproducts of their lucrative breast-meat exports to the US and Europe. Breitenbach said that given similar experiences with the effects of chicken dumping in West Africa, it may be necessary for Africa to stand together to fight to dump from big market players. [South Africa welcomes EU’s lifting of ban on ostrich meat]

Museveni wins trade and land concessions from Kenya (The Africa Report)

During a two-day state visit to Kenya last week, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni got several key trade concessions and an offer for land to build a dry port in the town of Naivasha. Kenya also agreed to drop a two-year ban on poultry and poultry products from Uganda, allow a three-fold increase on sugar imports, in addition to several other concessions on agricultural products. Uganda, on the other hand, lifted a ban on meat and tile exports. [Tshisekedi moves to secure trade with EAC; A shot in the arm for Kenya’s railway project as Uganda ‘buys into the deal’]

Rural roads, poverty, and resilience: evidence from Ethiopia (World Bank)

This study analyzes the impacts of the recent rural road development in Ethiopia on welfare and economic outcomes. The identification of the impacts relies on a difference-in-differences matching approach, taking advantage of the nationally representative household survey and the original road database, both of which are panel data spanning between 2012 and 2016. The results of the econometric analysis overall suggest that Ethiopia’s recent rural road development has substantially increased household welfare and supported households in coping with the recent severe droughts. This study estimates (pdf) that rural roads increased, on average, household consumption by 16.1% between 2012 and 2016 (or 3.8% per year). The effects of rural road development were largest in the most remote communities, as it increased household consumption by 27.9%. Furthermore, in the communities most affected by the El Niño drought, the likelihood of falling into poverty was 14.4% lower between 2012 and 2016 if the community was connected by a rural road.

Mauritius as Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, will host the 2nd South-West Indian Ocean Ministerial Conference on Maritime Security (18-19 June). It will also host the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement Compliance Committee and Meeting of Parties (27-29 June, 1-5 July, respectively).


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