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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: IFC

18 Apr 2019

AfCFTA ratification update: Cameroon assures ECA that it will ratify Africa’s Free Trade Area Agreement

“Cameroon will ratify the AfCFTA,” the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, assured UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ms Vera Songwe, on Wednesday. This process, he said, would be completed before Cameroon’s two houses of parliament meet in session in June, just in time to conclude the process ahead of the July African Union meetings.

Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi): conference, communique (World Bank)

Heads of state, ministers, leaders of multilateral development banks, private sector executives, women entrepreneurs, and contributing governments of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) convened this week at the first We-Fi Regional Summit to discuss concrete ways to strengthen support for women-led small and medium-sized enterprises in West Africa. The Summit concluded with a joint Call to Action, urging wide-ranging public policy reforms and private sector actions to help women entrepreneurs overcome persistent barriers, both financial and non-financial. Extracts from the Call to Action:

More specifically, leaders at the Summit urged governments to undertake legal and regulatory reforms to: Prohibit discrimination in access to financial services based on gender and marital status; Remove labor restrictions for women, particularly in agriculture; Equalize property rights between men and women; Eliminate mobility constraints for women and improve transport safety; Track and increase sourcing from women entrepreneurs for government contracts; Increase women’s access to the basic infrastructure of the digital economy.

Leaders at the Summit urged the private sector and civil society organizations to: Expand women’s access to financial products, notably by accepting different types of collateral; Ensure that financial services are provided in tandem with non-financial support, such as training and capacity-building; Include more women entrepreneurs in sales and distribution channels and work to increase procurement from women-owned businesses; Expand women’s linkages to business networks; Help women entrepreneurs improve access to digital skills, platforms and technology; Prevent and mitigate against sexual harassment in accessing markets and finance; Increase women’s representation at decision-making levels in the financial services industry and in business organizations. Leaders at the Summit urged Multilateral Development Banks to:

African Network for Women in Infrastructure launched (AU)

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid hosted a dialogue in Cairo to soft launch the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWI) - a new initiative aimed at promoting African women’s participation in infrastructure development at the national, regional, and global levels. At the event, Commissioner Abou-Zeid said “while this is a side event, integrating policy and planning that prioritizes women and hardwires gender is not a side agenda”. She highlighted that a full programme of events will be held this year, with a formal launch of the Network planned for November 2019. AU Commission Director for Infrastructure and Energy, Mr Cheikh Bedda, noted that recognizing the significant gap in women’s participation in the African infrastructure development agenda, the designing of the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is expected to address pressing needs of women along the infrastructure value chains. [Egypt elected as new chair of the STC on Energy, Transport and Tourism]

China-Nigeria trade volume hit $15.3bn (Economic Confidential)

China’s non-financial investment in Nigeria has approached about $3bn while the China-Nigeria bilateral trade volume soared to $15.3bn in 2018; 10.8% higher than last year. Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of People’s Republic of China, Zhao Yong, said this Tuesday at the 2019 “Belt and Road” Nigeria and China Economic and Trade Forum held in Abuja. “In terms of investment, according to incomplete statistics at the end of 2018, China’s non-financial investment in Nigeria approaches $2.8bn, contributing significantly to Nigeria economic diversification and creating millions of job vacancies for Nigerian workers. Ogun Guangdong and Lekki free trade zone is flourishing with about 190 registered enterprises, bringing $63m in total investment. There are also hundreds of Chinese enterprises of different scale in every states of Nigeria in every area of Nigeria economy, thriving in its maximum efforts and contributing to the Nigerian economy.” [President Buhari says India is Nigeria’s biggest trade partner: central bank governor says it’s China]

Kenya: KPA seeking nod to eject state agencies from Mombasa (The East African)

The Kenya Ports Authority is seeking to reduce the number of agencies operating within the Customs points to five from 51, as part of efforts to streamline operations. “Except the Kenya Revenue Authority, every other agency must be outside the port, and this is best practice. We hope that we will push this proposal through so that we are not liable for congestion and other issues,” said KPA managing director Dr Daniel Manduku. He said that some of the duties performed by agencies operating within the port overlapped. The announcement comes after Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi, which use the port of Mombasa, complained of inefficiencies and delays in clearing of goods, adding to the cost of doing business. The EAC partner states want the state agencies kicked out of the customs units at the ports and border points. Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development Adan Mohamed said that only four “critical” certification bodies should remain at the port of Mombasa, the Nairobi Inland Container Depot and at airports and border points.

Peter Biwott: Value addition only way to Kenya’s growth (Daily Nation)

The ongoing creation of a database for exporters will ease the creation of sector-specific targets of valued-added and manufactured exports in sectors such as textiles, leather, handicrafts, extractive, livestock, agriculture and services. Establishing a repository of exportable products and country-specific buyers directories worldwide will push the realisation of country-specific export targets. Prioritising markets based on, in part, trade imbalance, distance, purchasing power parity, economic status, population, duty-free access and market access will spur exports and forex earnings. Of importance is evidence-based scientific positioning of our foreign representation to deliver on export targets in countries of high interest to Kenya. A repository of Kenyans in the diaspora and regular travellers has brought about tailor-made interventions for them to play a role in promoting exports and investments. Kenyan companies should take advantage of duty-free market access, for example, in Africa, to net more forex. [The author is CEO of Kenya’s Export Promotion Council]

Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission co-chairperson appointed (Independent Observer)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services, Zehra Zumruk Selcuk, as co-chairperson of the Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission. Mrs Selcuk said bilateral relations with Zambia are of strategic importance to Turkey on the African continent. The Minister was concerned that the trade volume between the two countries had not improved since the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation eight years ago. She made the remarks during a bilateral meeting with Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Joseph Chilengi in Ankara yesterday. “As directed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we want to bring the Joint Economic Commission back to life to increase trade volume and we want to hold the inaugural meeting within this year. When we look at the trade volume, it has been fluctuating. In 2015, the trade volume between Zambia and Turkey was $22m and in 2018, it was $18m,” she said.

South Africa: “Poultry imports are critical to keep prices in check” (Farmers Weekly)

The South African National Consumer Union (SANCU) and the Emerging Black Importers and Exporters South Africa (EBieSA) are contesting the import tariff on chicken proposed by the South African Poultry Association. According to SANCU and EBieSA, an increase in the import tariff would place further strain on consumers, and would have an impact on food security and jobs created by the import and export markets. Clif Johnston, vice-chairperson of SANCU, said that the imposition of import tariffs or the increase of existing tariffs eventually resulted in proportional increases in the price of the protected local commodity, which affected the consumer. “This is the sixth time that the local industry has applied for protection since 2011. For example, in 2013, import tariffs on whole chicken already increased from 27% to 82%, frozen bone-in chicken increased from 18% to 37% and frozen boneless cuts from 5% to 12%,” he said.

IMF forecasts Tanzanian economic growth of 4-5% in medium term (Reuters)

Tanzania’s economy will be subdued if recent government policies and legislation continue, threatening to hit growth in East Africa’s third largest economy, an International Monetary Fund report seen by Reuters on Thursday said. President John Magufuli’s government has embarked on an ambitious program of industrialization, but foreign investment in the country has fallen after contentious government interventions in the mining and agriculture sectors. Foreign direct investment fell to 2% of GDP in 2017, down from about 5% in 2014, the World Bank has said. In a report which was not made public after Tanzanian authorities did not consent to its publication, the IMF said that a weak business environment and the implementation of projects that may not have high rates of return are likely to constrain annual GDP growth to below the 6.3% average recorded between 1998 and 2017.

Zimbabwe: IMF report on government finance statistics technical assistance mission

The mission found that that the authorities are making some progress towards higher quality and more comprehensive GFS, however, sufficient information for meaningful monitoring and surveillance of the public sector in Zimbabwe should be considered a long-term goal with several remaining challenges. The mission recommends the following actions:

UN announces new CEO alliance to fund sustainability: Global Investors for Sustainable Development (UNCTAD)

It announced the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD), a new alliance of chief executives coordinated by UNCTAD and the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, at the UN’s SDG Investment Fair in New York on 15 April. “We are all aware of the significant funding gap in reaching the SDGs. But we must also be aware that this pales in comparison to the more than $200 trillion of global assets under management,” said Scott Mather, chief investment officer of investment management firm PIMCO, and a founding member of the GISD. “In other words, there is plenty of capital - both private and public - we just need to direct it in ways that deliver sustainability outcomes.” The alliance, announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, will comprise between 25 and 30 CEOs who will focus on incentivizing larger amounts of long-term investment for sustainable development.

Today’s Quick Links:

Africa’s air cargo sector needs trade and aviation liberalisation to reach full potential

Non-stop flight between Cape Town and USA a “game changer”

Kenya Airways loses 130 pilots to Middle East carriers

Chamber of Commerce, USAID conduct AGOA awareness workshops for Liberia public sector

Pakistan’s exports to South Africa fall after anti-dumping duty

Mmusi Maimane: Time to close South Africa’s borders

Julius Malema wants to remove borders in SA: but how will it work?

WTO issues panel report regarding Chinese tariff rate quotas on agricultural imports

World Bank’s Research digest newsletter Vol. 13 (No. 3)

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