Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: UNCTAD

African trade events to diarise:

  1. Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2020 (1-7 September 2020, Kigali)

  2. World Export Development Forum 2019 (18-22 November 2019, Addis Ababa). The WEDF will take place during Africa Industrialization Week, with sessions designed to help business make the most of the newly-ratified AfCFTA. It will be co-hosted by the International Trade Centre and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The Transform Africa Summit began today in Kigali: Sophia, the famous humanoid robot featured in the opening session

The robot made remarks during the opening ceremony alongside President Paul Kagame and International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, among others. Designed by Hong Kong firm Hanson Robotics, Sophia was programmed to speak English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda. In her brief remarks, Sophia, who is a Saudi citizen, said that technological advancements had brought realities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning closer to realization. She said that through technology, Africa has an opportunity to get past challenges in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and education provision. “Right here in Rwanda, you have cashless payments for public transport, ride hailing apps for safety and online services to access government services,” she said.

Middle East becomes largest market for Uganda’s exports (Daily Monitor)

The Middle East has toppled COMESA as Uganda’s number one destination for the country’s exports for the month ended March, according to a Bank of Uganda report. The report released last week, indicates that in March, Uganda’s export revenue from Middle East grew to Shs990b up from Shs290b in February. This represented a 70% increase from what the country earned in the region in February. Most export receipts from Middle East came from United Arab Emirates taking a share of $259m (Shs976b). According to experts, Uganda’s increase in gold and food exports to the Middle East could explain the increase in receipts. Mr Elly Twineyo, the Uganda Export Promotion Board executive director, said the trend will persist because of gold exports to the region and the blockade placed on some products from entering the European Union due to failing standards.

Tanzania’s coffee production likely to drop by 23%  (IPPMedia)

Africa’s fourth-biggest coffee producer, Tanzania said the overall production in coffee would drop by 23% in the next period due to delayed rainfall in northern regions, according to the Tanzania Coffee Board. The crop for the season that starts in July may decline to 50,000 tons, the Tanzania Coffee Board said Monday in an emailed response to questions. After missing earlier targets to boost production, the country has said it’s considering distributing seedlings to farmers in an effort to double supply in five years. Arabica coffee accounts for more than half of Tanzania’s output, and it mainly ships coffee to Japan, Italy, the US and Belgium.

EAC-German Business and Investment Dialogue urges EAC to streamline regional trade

The EAC has been urged to prioritize collaborative approaches that will see supply chains strengthened across borders and governments laying the groundwork for the ease of movement of goods and people in the region. Addressing the forum on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo, said the draft EAC Investment Policy which is currently under consideration by the Council of Ministers, envisages a transformed upper middle-income EAC that is a competitive common investment area with a more liberal, predictable and transparent investment environment. Bazivamo told the participants that the investment policy lays ground for partner states to cooperate in investment promotion, facilitation, liberalization and protection of cross border investment. “Partner States are to streamline and simplify administrative procedures related to investments, promote and maintain dialogue with the private sector and exchange business information,” he added.

ECOWAS Commission urges harmonised strategies and collective expertise to tackle regional security

The Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Béhanzin, made the call during the opening of a Annual General Assembly of the West African Police Chiefs Committee. Commissioner Béhanzin, representing the President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, remarked that conventional approaches may be inadequate in meeting the challenges confronting the region which were highlighted to include drug trafficking, proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapons, cybercrime, money laundering and growing trend in terrorism, among others. He called on the Police Chiefs to bring on board their “collective expertise and experiences together to further reflect on how best to overcome these challenges and ensure effective enforcement of existing policy frameworks for eliminating them”. [Nigeria farmers form vigilante groups to confront bandits]

South Africa: 4IR Presidential Commission update (GCIS)

The department has indeed commenced some of the groundwork towards preparing South Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We began engagements with stakeholders to identify various enablers that could help us derive the benefits that come with technological innovations and developments relating to 4IR. That is how we were alerted to the Value-at-Stake Framework, which was developed in partnership with the World Economic Forum. Without going deeply into the Framework, its key finding is that digital technologies can generate more than R5 trillion in value for industry, consumers and society in South Africa. The work that is currently underway uses the term of Regulatory Remodelling for a 4IR economy. We are making concerted efforts to assist government to gravitate towards certain obligatory steps, standards and principles that should provide guidelines for every government department to function within the realm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Central to all that will be a department that ensures that there are critical enablers, amongst which would be the following: [Address by Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to the Commission]

Business leaders task Nigeria on industrial revolution (The Guardian)

Business leaders are worried about the slow pace movement of Nigeria towards the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0. The leaders from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that the fourth industrial revolution is here, “but can we say we are prepared,” they queried. The President of LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, noted that fourth industrial revolution is a topical issue Nigerians and Africans as a whole are not taking seriously, which may have far-reaching implications in the country and Africa in general. Therefore, to awaken the Nigerian spirit, Ruwase said LCCI’s yearly ICTEL EXPO and conference would focus on the issue. The expo holds between 16-17 July in Lago on the theme as ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Nigerian Economy.’

Digital disruption in financial markets (OECD)

This paper surveys the technological disruption in banking examining its impact on competition and the potential to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. It analyses the possible strategies of the players involved, incumbents, FinTech and BigTech firms, as well as the role of regulation. The industry will see a radical transformation and restructuring, and will move towards a customer-centric platform-based model. Competition will increase as new players enter the industry but the long run impact is more open. Regulation will influence decisively to what extent BigTech will enter the industry and who will be the dominant players. The challenge for regulators will be to keep a level playing field striking the right balance between fostering innovation and preserving financial stability. Consumer protection concerns raise to the forefront. [The author: Professor Xavier Vives]

UN Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity: The Multi-Donor Trust Fund. Extract: Thematic note on Trade and Value Chain Development (pdf). On trade-led value chain development, the Cluster is proposing systemic capacity building, focusing on entire value chains from primary production through processing to trade. This would include policy and value chain governance, sector business environment, investment and technology transfer, quality and standards compliance, productivity, innovation, value-addition, trade logistics as well as related financial and other trade support services. Effective value chain development requires a well coordinated multi-agency support. The Cluster partner agencies have combined expertise in all the above-mentioned areas, which will be coordinated at the Cluster level. The work of the Cluster on Value Chain Development will directly contribute to the SDG 8, 9 and 17, which call for support to export-led industrial and economic development and further integration of SMEs in global value chains and trade partnerships. [Note: The three annexures cover Trade and value chain development, Trade and employment, Trade facilitation]

Two consultancy opportunities: AfDB, World Bank

  1. Sustainable market access for African road transport: AfDB EOI. The ADB seeks the services of a consulting firm with qualified professionals for the elaboration of the SMART Study Report “Sustainable market access for African road transport”. The study will examine the market access systems for international road freight transport in Africa and will propose innovative models for introducing a multilateral access license quota system for international road freight transport in Africa. Moreover, the report will propose a methodology to assess corridor management and performance in Africa. The estimated duration of the services is four months. [AfDB’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Department: Annual Report 2018]

  2. Strengthening DRR coordination, planning and policy advisory capacity of SADC: procurement plan posted by World Bank

Jack Hughes: Canada should invest time in South Africa (iPolitics)

The African National Congress’ victory in last week’s South African elections all but ensures that President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend next month’s G20 summit in Japan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should seek a bilateral meeting with him in Osaka and use it to invite Ramaphosa to undertake an official state visit to Canada next year. More specifically, Trudeau should ask Ramaphosa to address a joint sitting of Parliament on 18 June 2020 - the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s first speech to Canada’s Parliament shortly after his release from prison. Who better to commemorate that historic event than the man who was Mandela’s first choice to succeed him as president? Scheduling an official state visit that far in advance would serve another purpose, it would establish a timeline — and set a deadline – for Canadian and South African officials to explore the best ways to strengthen our bilateral economic ties. As a starting point, officials should dust off the original Canada-South Africa Trade and Investment Cooperation Arrangement which was signed during Mandela’s second visit to Canada in 1998.

Today’s Quick Links:

Steering committee of the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa holds its first meeting

SADC/JICA sustainable forestry project: 5th Joint Coordination Committee Meeting starts

Mauritius and Comoros to consolidate regional ties

Folashadé Soulé, Camilla Toulmin: Setting the record straight about African migration

Japan initiates WTO dispute complaint against Indian tech tariffs

China’s retail sales growth slumps to 16-year low as trade war risks rise

FAO: ‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains


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