Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: BMZ

Djibouti-Addis Ababa-Juba-Kampala Corridor: IGAD wraps up development studies

The Executive Secretary of IGAD, Amb Mahboub Maalim, along with the Director for Transport, Infrastructure Development of the Ministry of Transport of Ethiopia, Mr Fekadu Shumet, yesterday inaugurated a steering committee meeting on the Transport Facilitation and Road Upgrading Studies for the Djibouti-Addis Ababa-Juba-Kampala Corridor. The two-day meeting in Nairobi is meant to wrap-up the development studies for the corridor and provides an opportunity for concerned IGAD Member States (Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda) and the IGAD Secretariat to chart the way forward to implement the recommendations of the studies on the feasibility of the corridor, undertaken by the Nairobi-based Africon Consulting firm. The study strongly recommends the implementation of the Corridor after carefully analysing the two components of the project and found that both components are technically and economically feasible as they scored high economic indicators. The soft part, the feasibility study, of the project has been successfully concluded. The participants are looking into the hard part of it, which is the implementation part.

Evolving peace trends and regional integration: opportunities for revitalizing IGAD

Strategically positioned at the major geopolitical and geo-economic nexus of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, the IGAD region belongs to the African and Middle Eastern economic, religious, historical, migratory, trade and security zones. It possesses a long coastline with deep natural ports and a busy maritime domain that links Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and Europe. The presence of four peacekeeping missions with more than 50,000 that comprise of the UN and AU peacekeeping troops (Darfur-Sudan, Abyei, Somalia, South Sudan) and of hundreds of thousands of foreign military forces, accentuates the peace and security challenges of the IGAD region. This policy brief examines whether or not these ongoing changes in the region present opportunities for another round of revitalization of IGAD institutions, and if so, what areas of IGAD should be transformed. The policy brief outlines key points concerning the requisite processes and concludes with a series of recommendations for a further phase of institutional revitalization. [The author: Mehari Taddele Maru; Download related TANA Forum 2019 documentation]

Tapping the potential of Kenya’s transport services for regional value chains (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD and Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives conducted a national seminar in Nairobi (14-15 May) to build the capacity to harness Kenya’s transport services to boost regional value chains. More than 25 participants from 15 Kenyan public and private sector entities participated in the seminar. “Small and medium-sized enterprises are crucial for the trade of services in Kenya,” said Joyce Ogundo, the country’s secretary of trade. “We must enhance their integration into global value chains to boost economic development.” Several participants emphasized the importance of mapping transport services, especially in relation to horticulture and tea value chains, Kenya’s key merchandise export sectors. “Our project seeks to enable Kenya to get a better picture of how transport services feed into regional value chains and how much of the value is added by domestic and foreign operators,” said Paul Akiwumi, director of UNCTAD’s division for Africa and least developed countries. Besides Kenya, UNCTAD and the UNECA are supporting five other countries – Ethiopia, The Gambia, Mali, Nigeria and Togo – to better measure the contribution of specific services to regional value chains to inform policymaking.

Mauritius National Leather Value Chain Strategy for 2019-2023: update (GoM)

The Mauritius National Leather Value Chain Strategy for 2019-2023, an integral part of the reform for the leather sector, was presented to key stakeholders in presence of the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, the CEO of the SME Mauritius Ltd, Mr Rabin Rampersad, and the consultants from the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute during a validation workshop at the Voila Hotel Bagatelle. In his address, Minister Bholah highlighted that the national strategy will serve as a guide for designing policy instruments and activities to support different players in the leather supply chain. This initiative, he said, was undertaken due to signs of contractions in the number of enterprises and employment rates in the leather sector in Mauritius

South Africa: Court action suspended, parties agree on more transparency in chicken industry (IOL)

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) and the South African Poultry Association have agreed to lift the veil of secrecy on “confidential” documents on which the protectionist application on chicken imports is based. In a statement in Wednesday AMIE, which had launched the court action, said the move to lift the veil of secrecy effectively averted a protracted court battle. AMIE had previously argued that the public right to information on a tariff application that could impact on the affordability of a major food source had to be considered. Paul Matthew, CEO of AIME: “Backing our call for transparency in this matter is the fact that local chicken broiler producers have, since a downturn in 2016, experienced increasing profitability. During 2018, the local sector recorded record profits.” [Francois Baird: Chicken industry can stem the tide of unemployment]

Market integration will ensure Africa’s prosperity – Museveni (New Vision)

President Yoweri Museveni says market integration of Africa and political integration for strategic security will stimulate the continent’s prosperity and rapid economic transformation for the continent. “The modern way for prosperity is the exchange of goods and services for sale, the more buyers the better. We now have the AfCFTA where you can trade with anybody. East Africa is highly compatible, similar and linked. Our fraternity has not been emphasized.” Speaking about regional trade, the President said the closure of the border by neighbouring Rwanda is a ‘hiccup’ that will not slow the region down. “Even if the border is closed, trade will go on, only that it will be through smuggling. You can’t stop trade through border administration. People resort to smuggling. Others have resorted to export a lot of things to South Sudan, DR Congo, Kenya Tanzania, etc.”

Transform Africa Summit: selected updates

  1. Africa’s Digital Economy opens new markets. With Africa’s digital economy taking off exponentially, the continent is ready to meet the consensus of the AfCFTA, panel members told a packed auditorium in Kigali at the opening of Transform Africa Summit 2019 on Tuesday. Key to this effort will be connectivity, data and digitization and innovation among others, the conference heard. AfDB Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Pierre Guislain said One Stop Border Posts will accelerate intra-African trade, but openness and competition need to be promoted and defended. Indeed, some vested interests may fear this openness and may keep it from happening. “We need to measure the speed of movement along Africa’s major trade corridors and ensure any remaining bottleneck gets removed,” he added. Africa also needs more private sector African champions - companies that have done well nationally and are ready to expand regionally and beyond.

  2. Kagame, Uhuru and Keïta call for common African ICT agenda. African countries have a better chance to benefit from the digital revolution through collaborating as opposed to working as separate entities, Heads of State attending the Transform Africa Summit have said. The summit, which opened in Kigali yesterday, was attended by Presidents Paul Kagame, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali. President Kagame said that collaboration was a sure way to navigate through the complex global dynamics in regards to the digital agenda. He said that it would be wise to steer away from the tendencies that have often divided the continent. President Kagame added that with the AfCFTA now in force, the continent ought to keep industrialisation and technology agendas in close alignment to make the best of both trends.

  3. President Kenyatta unveils digital economy blueprint. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya on Wednesday unveiled a blueprint for his country’s digital economy, which he said could be a guiding tool for the adoption of digital technologies for Africa’s transformation. “It is intended as a framework to guide us as we accelerate the adoption of digital technologies. I hope all countries will find value in contextualising this framework to their specific ecosystems so as to realise the full potential of our digital transformation,” the President noted as he launched the blueprint at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali.

Commodity dependence: A 20-year perspective (UNCTAD)

Commodity dependence affects developing countries almost exclusively, according to the report. It affects 85% of least developed countries, 81% of landlocked developing countries and 57% of small island developing states. With 89% of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa being commodity-dependent, it is the hardest-hit region. It is followed by the Middle East and North Africa, where 65% of countries depend on commodities. Half of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and half of the countries in East Asia and the Pacific are also commodity dependent. Commodity dependency is also persistent, according to the report. The dominant groups of exported products changed in only 25% of countries between 2013 and 2017, partly due to changes in commodity prices. The number of countries dependent on the export of agricultural products declined from 50 to 37 between the 1998-2002 and 2013-2017 periods. The number of mineral-dependent countries steadily rose, from 14 to 33, while the number of energy-dependent countries increased from 28 to 32.

Profiled chapters (pdf): Commodity dependence around the world; An empirical exploration of the link between income level, export concentration and commodity dependence; The evolution of world commodity dependence, 1998–2017, and the commodity price cycle; Did CDDCs diversify their exports and productive sectors between 1998 and 2017?; Commodity price bust, GDP growth and external debt in CDDCs; Conclusions and brief policy discussion; Annex 1: The 50 most commodity-dependent countries

Tanzania: Cursed before production? (CMI)

Big discoveries of high value natural resources can have negative economic, political, and social effects long before full production of a resource begins. While Tanzania has already experienced some tensions around the country’s gas discovery, there is consensus among scholars and practitioners that the country has thus far generally avoided experiencing economic and political problems because of the discovery. Political risks remain, however, and continued immunity to the pre-source curse, and ultimately to the resource curse, will require ongoing, sound political decision making about how to react to the promise of potentially large future resource revenues. [Related CMI briefs: Civil society’s role in petroleum sector governance: the case of Tanzania; Petroleum’s potential impact on future state-society relations in Tanzania]

ITFC hosts 1,320 bilateral meetings through ‘bridges’ programme (Trade Arabia)

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation , a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, reported a total of 1,320 bilateral meetings and 200 deals under discussion through its flagship programme: the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program. The deals were at an Agri-food Trade Forum held recently in Dubai, in collaboration with Dubai Exports. The two-day forum promoted trade and investment between African countries and the UAE and eight other Arab Countries. Attended by 40 companies from 15 African countries, in addition to 70 companies from the UAE and Arab countries, the event focused on how to increase the import and export of Agri-Food products. Agri-food companies from Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Mozambique were among the participants in the forum. [Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program: documentation]

Today’s Quick Links:

RwandAir to commence flights to China’s Guangzhou in June

Zimbabwe: Government drafts quality policy

ECOWAS, GIZ meet in Abuja to strengthen cooperation

UNCTAD: A framework for science, technology and innovation policy reviews

McKinsey discussion paper: Tech for Good – smoothing disruption, improving well-being


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