Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: New Times

Concluding today, in Windhoek: UNCTAD regional capacity building training workshop on the use of statistics and the Productive Capacities Index to inform evidence-based policy-making in LDCs and other structurally weak and vulnerable economies

An UNECA/AUC delegation is undertaking a AfCFTA National Strategy Scoping Mission for Zambia, consulting civil society, academia and women’s groups

Swaziland and the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement: National Trade Facilitation Committee Empowerment Programme launched

For noting: UNCTAD’s online course on Trade and Gender, starting 15 April. Download the course prospectus here (pdf).

Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2019-2025

For its implementation, the selected operational portfolio will cover Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, DRC, and Central African Republic, which fall within the operational area of the Central Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office. The strategy also seeks to support the integration efforts of the member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States, recognised by the AU as the REC in Central Africa. ECCAS comprises the following 11 countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, DRC, Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Rwanda. However, from an operational viewpoint, Burundi and Rwanda are covered by the Regional Office for East Africa and are included in RISP 2018-2023 for the region already approved by the Boards, while Angola and São Tomé and Principe are covered by the Regional Office for Southern Africa and included in RISP 2019-2024 for the region. Central Africa is marked by the juxtaposition of several sub-regional institutions with similar objectives and mixed performance. The institutions seek to create an integrated sub-regional space by eliminating problems inherent in fragmented national markets so as to ensure optimal conditions for a larger market. The main sub-regional institutions are CEMAC, ECCAS, CEPGL and LCBC. It should be noted that the six CEMAC countries also belong to ECCAS, with Burundi and Rwanda active in the EAC, while Angola and DRC are also SADC members. Furthermore, Burundi, Rwanda and DRC are COMESA members. The implementation of the strategy will require investments amounting to UA 3.185 billion, corresponding to 30 regional operations over a seven-year period (2019-2025). About 88% of the planned funding would be devoted to strengthening regional infrastructure (energy, transport and ICT), compared to 12% for support to the development of intra-regional trade and build institutional capacity in RECs. [Download:  pdf Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2019-2025 (9.47 MB) ]

Extracts from Section III: Regional integration agenda: status, challenges, opportunities and lessons learned from experience. Central African (ECCAS) intra-regional trade accounts for barely 2% of the region’s total trade. This situation is due to several factors, including the low production of tradable goods, an embryonic industrial fabric, shortage of infrastructure, numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers, the reluctance of countries to implement reforms for the free movement of goods and persons, etc. There are five different tariff profiles in ECCAS zone: the common external tariff of CEMAC, the East African Community (Burundi and Rwanda), Angola, DRC and Sao Tome and Principe. Through this strategy, the Bank is seeking to triple intra-regional trade in Central Africa (within ECCAS in general), from the current 2% to 6% by 2025.

The Bank plans to carry out three major economic and sector studies during the strategy implementation period, as follows: (i) the in-depth study on transit and transport costs and non-tariff measures along the main corridors of Central Africa; (ii) the assessment of the impact of trade facilitation measures and the AfCFTA in Central Africa; and (iii) the study on employment and labour market outcomes in Central Africa. In addition to these studies, the Bank intends to produce a yearly report on the state of regional integration in Central Africa, in collaboration with CEMAC, ECCAS and other development partners. [UNECA: Central Africa gets mixed notes in 2019 Economic Report on Africa]

Tanzania trade and investment policy updates:

  1. Traders can now export tea to Mombasa via Dar port. Tea traders can now export the product to Mombasa auctions via the port of Dar es Salaam, thanks to an investor’s investment in a state of the art warehouse in Tanzania’s commercial capital. DL Group has set up a warehouse and termed it: Rift Valley Tea Solution Ltd Dar es Salaam, in an endeavour to boost Tanzania’s tea production and exports, the firm’s executive chairman, Dr David Langat, told journalists at the weekend. The Dar es Salaam warehouse, he said, has been certified as a member of the East African Tea Trade Association which runs the Mombasa Tea Auction. He said through the certification, Tanzania tea producers will no longer be required to deliver and warehouse tea in Mombasa so as to sell through the Mombasa auction, but can send samples, catalogue and sale directly from Dar es Salaam and export the produce through Dar es Salaam port, which will reduce the selling and distribution cost of the producers by more than 50%. This means that tea from Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Tanzania is warehoused in Dar es Salaam for auctioning in Mombasa. “Lack of an EATTA certified warehouse of this nature gravely undermined efforts toward regional tea cultivation, processing and selling,” Dr Langat said. The DL Group was working very closely with the governments of Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda and Zambia in the endeavour to raise tea production.

  2. JPM orders an end to bureaucracy. President John Magufuli opened a tea processing company, Unilever Tea Tanzania Limited, in Njombe yesterday and called on government agencies to woo more investors. The President, who is on a tour of southern regions, said many investors were shunning Tanzania and diverting their investments to neighbouring countries because of red tape and unfriendly relations with some government agencies. “We need to change,” said President Magufuli. “Things are not going as they should. There are people who are entrusted with power, but they end up abusing it”. He admitted that there were problems in the country’s tax system because some of the investors were increasingly becoming reluctant to pay taxes.

  3. Government to meet Chinese investors over business environment. The government is set to meet Chinese investors next week, 17 April, to discuss the challenges that they face in the country. Authorities admitted in Parliament that they were aware of various challenges that investors have been encountering and that it has plans to meet with Chinese investors.

  4. Investment policy set for review. The government is looking for experts who will review the investment policy, amend the Tanzania Investment Act and reduce bureaucracy in issuance of work and residence permits. The latest move is meant to improve the business environment in the country, a move that may help attract more investors. Responding to some issues raised by a section of lawmakers during a four-day debate of the 2019/20 budget proposal for the Prime Minister’s Office, the minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Investments, Ms Angela Kairuki, said the plan will come up a new investment policy, which would be more friendly for investors. [Government plans to simplify work, residence permit processes]

Zambia-DRC: Kasumbalesa long queues not impacting revenue collection – ZRA

Zambia Revenue Authority corporate communications manager Topsy Sikalinda said: “It is important for the public to know that all trucks currently on the Zambian side in Kasumbalesa have already been cleared by the Zambia Revenue Authority. They are waiting for entry formalities into the DRC and the Zambian government has since engaged the Congolese authorities to deal with the matter.” He said the Zambian authorities have extended border operating hours from 18:00hrs to 20:00hrs. Mr Sikalinda said the Authority has further suspended late clearance fees to encourage transporters to clear goods out of Zambia even after normal working hours. “Starting today, 9 April, the Zambian and Congolese Authorities have agreed to start clearing at least 600 to 700 trucks every day into Congo from the current average of 420 per day. This is expected to help clear the traffic in the next 10 days or so. The congestion has been caused by various factors that include limited parking space, as only one lane is available for exiting into DR Congo due to construction works and the security situation, as most drivers fear for their safety.” [President Lungu to report trucks congestion at DRC’s Kasumbalesa border to SADC]

No-deal Brexit: The trade winners and losers (UNCTAD)

A no-deal Brexit could damage smaller economies trading with the UK, hit EU exports hard, but bring substantial gains for China. New UNCTAD research shows the UK and its future trading partners need to expedite bilateral deals if they are to avoid the costs of exiting the EU without a deal. These costs are considerable, the research found, with the EU standing to lose out on $34.5bn in exports to the UK. The second-biggest loser in the event of the UK’s no-deal departure from the EU would be Turkey, taking a $2.4bn export hit. China, meanwhile, could gain an additional $10.2bn in exports to the UK, with the second-ranked United States standing to add $5.3bn through its exports to the UK.

The biggest beneficiaries of a no-deal Brexit, meanwhile, would be countries which current face higher tariffs. In addition to China and the US, Japan could expect to gain $4.9bn. A no-deal Brexit is also expected to result in increased imports from Thailand, South Africa, India, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Viet Nam and New Zealand, among others. “The UK’s intention to lower Most Favored Nations tariffs would increase relative competitiveness of major exporting countries, such as China or the United States, thereby eroding market-share away from less competitive countries,” added Ms. Coke-Hamilton. [Download UNCTAD’s study: Brexit – implication for Developing Countries]

The Brexiteers need to realise that the Commonwealth is not coming to save them

“The Commonwealth is extremely vague at this time. There’s no set of proposals that anyone can agree with,” is how the body was described by Rob Davies, South Africa’s minister of trade and industry. “The Commonwealth has not played a role in international trade for many years,” he added. Though Davies admits there have been moves made by the UK to begin discussions, he dismisses the idea that the Commonwealth could suddenly become a serious trading entity. Added to that, in the Commonwealth, signing a trade deal with the UK can actually be far from a priority. “Our fundamental focus in on the regional integration processes on the African continent,” says Davies, when asked about South African trade priorities. “So our priority, without any doubt, is on the processes leading up to the creation of the African continental free trade area. That’s our fundamental focus, we look at everything in that context.” [The author: Joe Walsh)

Innocent Bystanders: Why the US-China trade war hurts African economies (CSIS)

It is not inevitable that the U.S.-China trade war will have harmful consequences for sub-Saharan Africa and U.S. objectives in the region. The extent to which negative economic forecasts will materialize is contingent on Chinese and U.S. policy decisions and the ability for global and domestic markets to counterbalance the trade war’s negative effects. There are several short and long-term steps available to Washington to strengthen its U.S.-Africa strategy and resolve the contradictions surfacing between its global and regional approaches: Focus on US strengths, Treat China tariffs as global tariffs, Support African trade initiatives, Protect US-African trade deals. [The authors: Judd Devermont, Catherine Chiang] [China in Africa: The Zambia experience; China’s New Economic Model: opportunities for Africa]

Today’s Quick Links:

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook, April 2019: Growth slowdown, precarious recovery

Nigeria: Exporters decry non-execution of N29bn export grant

Shell plans $15bn investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas development

SA’s Rob Davies: SA needs to encourage more local patents

SA increasing efforts to invest in intellectual property and technology commercialisation: dti’s DDG Zikode

Nissan to produce award-winning Navara pickup in South Africa

Jerome Bossuet: Exploring youth’s role and engagement in African rural economies

IMF statements: IMF Staff Review Mission to Tunisia; IMF Managing Director on Egypt

The WTO’s first ruling on national security: what does it mean for the United States?


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