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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo Credit:Bloomberg

20 May 2019

tralac's April newsletter was published earlier today:  it contains a wide variety of AfCFTA-relevant commentaries and resources

A select listing of African trade events:

(i) Underway in Addis: Strengthening food safety capacity for reporting in the Biennial Review. The workshop (20-22 May) will bring together food safety experts from the AU member states for a comprehensive training on data collection and computing for the Africa Food Safety Index.

(ii)  Starting tomorrow, in Nairobi: GTR East Africa 2019. An insightful view of the East African trade landscape, featuring in-depth analysis of geopolitical and macroeconomic trends, regulatory and finance sector developments, and the trade financing and risk mitigation techniques being utilised throughout key regional value chains, from agribusiness to oil and gas and value-add manufacturing sectors.

(iii)  Zambia National Consultative Forum on the AfCFTA (23-24 May, Lusaka). The Forum is part of a wider programme to develop a national AfCFTA Implementation Strategy, which includes a nation-wide consultation from 27-31 May.

(iv)  AUC, Coalition for Dialogue on Africa joint stakeholder dialogue on continental trade and strengthening implementation of the AfCFTA (27-28 May, Addis Ababa)

(v) TIPS Forum 2019: Innovation and Industrialisation (30-31 May, Johannesburg). What then is South Africa’s ability to adapt and respond to technological change and especially discontinuous technological change?

(vi) Extending pension coverage to informal sector workers in Africa (29-31 May, Cotonou). The workshop will bring together government officials from pension institutions, ministries and supervisory agencies from 12 countries and two regional institutions (Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda) as well as representatives of regional the supervisory organizations in West Africa.

(vii)  Tanzania Investors’ Forum (5-6 July, Mtwara). Download the advance document: Regional profiles of cashew nut production and processing investment opportunities

Debt vulnerabilities in Africa: AfDB, World Bank high-level consultative meeting 

Representatives from four African countries today called for a balanced approach to growing debt vulnerabilities to help low-income African countries meet their commitments to lenders.  Adama Koné, Minister of Finance, Cote d’Ivoire, praised the World Bank and the IMF for their assistance but appealed for more “innovative and strategic sources of funding.” “We want to have CFA-denominated bonds on markets. Since we are not known, we have to pay a premium. If we have a guarantee mechanism, this will allow us to issue those bonds at a lower price,” he said during a panel discussion. Representatives from Zambia and Senegal said they were taking steps to address their debt situation, while Richard Evina Obam, Minister Finance, Cameroon, supported the call for broader sources of financing, including the Islamic world. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the AfDB, said the dialogue around debt sustainability “couldn’t come at a better time.”  “It is at the center of many conversations taking place currently. We here at the African Development Bank are engaged in a couple of very important discussions - a 7th General Capital Increase and the 15th replenishment of the African Development Fund,” Boamah said in his opening remarks. [Akihiko Nishio: Facing substantial investment needs, developing countries must sustainably manage debt]

Pamela Coke-Hamilton: We must help developing countries escape commodity dependence  (UNCTAD)

Commodity dependence is not rare. Around 54% of all countries, or 102 out of 189, are commodity-dependent. However, only 13% of developed countries - including Australia, New Zealand and Norway - are in this situation. In contrast, this share increases to 64% for developing countries, and is higher still - at 85% - for the world’s least-developed countries. In other words, export concentration of primary commodities is linked to underdevelopment; the higher the dependence, the lower the country’s development, measured by its GDP per capita. In some cases, the dependence is extreme. There are 35 countries in the world for which more than 90% of their exports are commodities. For Angola, Iraq, Chad, Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria, this share surpasses 98%, and in some instances a single product constitutes more than three-quarters of all export revenue. The problem is not dependence per se, but the vulnerability it entails. The recent commodity price downturn is a case in point.

ECA pledges practical support to Angola’s economic reform (UNECA)

The ECA has established three work streams aimed at supporting Angola on its sustainable development trajectory and macroeconomic reform agenda, following the accession to power of President João Lourenço in September 2017. A series of high-level talks with Angolan authorities culminated with discussions at the Presidential palace in which four main areas of cooperation were agreed. These include: supporting Angola restore macroeconomic stability and diversify its economy within the context of the country’s National Development Plan 2018-2022, improving public debt management, increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix and capitalizing on the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

ITC facilitates China-Ethiopia investment plans worth over $2bn (ITC)

On the margins of the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing from 26-27 April, the Chinese investors and the Ethiopian Investment Commission signed MoUs to engage in agro-processing and manufacturing investment projects. ITC’s Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa initiative had worked with both the Ethiopian and Chinese stakeholders to help bring the deals to fruition. The planned investments include a large-scale bamboo development and pulp-paper manufacturing plant to be set-up in Assosa, the capital of Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz region; a pharmaceutical plant in Kilinto Industrial Park, south of the capital; and a fully integrated livestock and meat processing park in Addis Ababa.

Nigeria and the AfCFTA: extract from an interview with Nigeria's Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah (Leadership)

Now, having finished that work, the president now asked for impact assessment, the pros and cons. So he set up a committee chaired by myself and the chief of staff to the president, basically to oversee a technical group. I am hopeful that the president will sign the agreement which includes remedies and plan of action and how we will engage and make the most of it. The point is let’s do it well and I think Nigeria has such strategic importance. By doing it well, we can provide leadership. [Confirmed: Egypt bids to host AfCFTA's executive office, says legal adviser of AU]

Kenya: Alarm over bill barring raw coffee export (Business Daily)

A Bill seeking to bar export of raw coffee has caused jitters, with some international buyers avoiding to sign further contracts with local suppliers for fear they might not get the produce. An official at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange says some of the overseas buyers were shying away from new agreements for clean coffee because of uncertainties over the fate of the Crops Amendment Bill by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. The Bill proposes that all coffee grown in Kenya undergo processing, production and packaging locally. “Buyers are refusing to sign orders for clean (American green) coffee as they do not know what will happen in the future, with fears that they are likely to lose out on their orders,” said an official at NCE who sought anonymity so as to speak freely. The proposed amendment to the Crops Act says the product may only be distributed, marketed or exported in its fully processed form. [Jobs at stake as KEBS bans import of used car parts

Revamping Ghana's poultry sector: Will the policies ever work? (Graphic)

Over the past decade, the government has initiated at least five separate strategic policies and programmes targeted at building the capacities of local poultry farms to meet the country’s increasing demand for poultry products. The Livestock Development Policy and Strategy document, which spans a period of 10 years (from 2016 to 2025), also shares in the agenda of reducing livestock imports drastically by empowering local producers to become competitive. Three years into the programme, it appears the poultry sector has not benefitted from the initiative, with the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers bemoaning that local producers accounted for only five per cent of the about 300,000 tonnes of chicken consumed annually. Demand for broiler meat in Ghana is ever increasing. Meanwhile, domestic supply remains mostly stagnant, allowing imports to fill the gap.

India looks to fight alone at WTO on global e-commerce rules  (Times of India)

Much to its embarrassment, the government had to drop a mention of the issue in a declaration issued after the mini-ministerial meeting hosted by it here last week with only South Africa on its side.

Today's Quick Links:

Chinese envoy: No Kenyan assets have been mortgaged for SGR loan

Kenya:  National shipping line revival plan signals lower freight costs

Nigeria: What is wrong with importing toothpicks?

Wandile Sihlobo: US-China trade row - SA should hold course on agriculture exports

Uganda: AGOA 101 guide (pdf)

East Africa Trade Hub: Women cross border traders develop trade commitments at Hub-supported B2B meeting

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

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This post has been sourced on behalf of tralac and disseminated to enhance trade policy knowledge and debate. It is distributed to recipients across Africa and internationally, serving in the AU, RECs, national government trade departments and research and development agencies.

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