Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Aaron Ufumeli | EPA

Tanzania’s President Magufuli will assume the chairmanship of SADC in mid-August. Important dates to note: Fourth SADC Industrialization Week (22-26 July, Dar es Salaam); SADC Council of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries (9-16 August); 39th summit of SADC Heads of State and Government (17-18 August)

The 31st meeting of the SADC Committee of Trade Ministers, and the meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on Regional Economic Integration, will be held later this month in Windhoek

Rwanda’s President Kagame delivers, tonight, the keynote address to the first-ever African Regional Conference convened by the Eisenhower Fellowships Program. The conference theme: The future of Africa’s global integration. Twitter updates: #EFA2019

What next after DR Congo makes formal request to join EAC bloc?  (New Times)

The request was made through a letter by President Félix Tshisekedi to his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame, the current Chairperson of EAC. According to President Tshisekedi’s letter, the need for his push for his country to join the bloc was necessitated by the growing trade volume between individual member states of the EAC and the DRC. DR Congo shares border with four of the six member EAC states. Speaking to The New Times, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State for EAC affairs, said that Kigali on Tuesday, 11 June, duly wrote to the EAC Secretary General asking that Kinshasa’s request be put on the agenda of the next Summit of EAC Heads of State and Government.

According to Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at the EAC Secretariat, 30 November is the official Summit day “but if there is an urgent issue of regional importance, the Chair can call for an Extraordinary Summit any time or month.” Nduhungirehe said it is a big country with huge economic opportunities and it will also be a new opportunity for the EAC to make a link between two oceans – the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Andrew Mold, the Acting Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa-Eastern Africa Sub-regional office, said that there are a number of potential arguments in favour and against.

Yesterday’s East African budget speeches for Fiscal Year 2019-20:

pdf Kenya Budget Statement (4.89 MB)  on the theme: Creating Jobs, Transforming Lives – Harnessing the “Big Four” Plan

pdf Uganda Budget Speech (710 KB)  on the theme: Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity

pdf Rwanda Budget Speech (509 KB)  on the theme: Transforming lives through Industrialization and Job Creation for Shared Prosperity

pdf Tanzania Budget Speech (993 KB)  on the theme: Building Industrial Economy for Stimulating Employment and Sustainable Social Welfare

Zimbabwe and the AfCFTA: an interview with the IMF’s representative to Zimbabwe, Patrick Amir Imam (The Independent)

However, for the country to fully reap the rewards from trade liberalisation, achieving macro-economic stability is a priority, and solving the currency issue is a condition sine qua non. In addition, the country must address the structural bottlenecks faced by the private sector and improve the business climate. This includes infrastructural deficits and property right issues for instance. Costs to exporters are large, thus streamlining export administrative requirements would also go a long way in improving export performance. The operationalisation of OSBPs with neighbours will augment trade further. Frankly, with or without AfCFTA, Zimbabwe should implement these reforms as it would benefit from them, but AfCFTA will boost the rewards further. As Zimbabwe is more dependent than other countries in the region on trade revenues, there is a need to mobilise domestic tax revenue to offset the expected revenue losses from AfCFTA. But overall, Zimbabwe will benefit from AfCFTA. [Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce: AfCFTA full implementation in 15 years; Cameroon’s National Assembly considers the ratification of the AfCFTA]

China’s trade deficit with Namibia at N$4,6b during Q1 (The Namibian)

China maintained its position as Namibia’s biggest export market, with exports to that country at N$5,4bn, while imports were only N$859m during the first quarter of 2019. This translates to a trade surplus of about N$4,6bn for Namibia. The statistics showed that the main exports to China were copper and ores. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s Trade Statistics Bulletin (pdf) released yesterday, South Africa followed behind China as Namibia’s second leading export market, with exports to that country worth N$3,6bn. Namibia mostly exported precious stones and metals, live animals and fish to South Africa. The other three leading export markets are Botswana, Belgium and Spain, with the value of exports being N$2,4bn, N$1,9bn and roughly N$942m, respectively.

New Africa-Europe Digital Economy Partnership:

pdf Report of the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force (2.12 MB) . The report calls for a digital economy partnership on equal footing and based on common principles. It encourages European and African political leaders to set the priorities that will enable our economies and societies to make a success of their digital transformation and to use digital innovation to speed up the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We must focus now on involving all relevant stakeholders in shaping policies and in attracting investments. We also recognise the overarching recommendation to support an African-led process of developing harmonised rules and regulations that support the development of an African Single Digital Market. Improving the business environment and facilitation access to finance and business support services to boost digitally enabled entrepreneurship.

Profiled recommendations: Embed digital entrepreneurship in regional and national policies and enable structured policy dialogue between public and private partners to inform policymakers about the most pressing actions to be made in creating a favourable environment for digital entrepreneurship, with a focus on building on regional and national partnerships. Provide capacity-building support to the African Union Commission and the Regional Economic Communities in integrating markets and promote legislation on registration, ease of doing business and mobile payments integration across borders for digital entrepreneurs. Validate and certify innovation hubs and entrepreneurship incubators with a focus on expertise in the digital economy, ensuring targeted support, i.e. in terms of specific design-thinking and digital infrastructure in the hubs. Create an EU-Africa Start-up Initiative aiming at supporting knowledge sharing between African start-ups and the EU market to increase market-access. Segment and group countries by the maturity level of their innovation ecosystem and define four or five thematic business clusters as centres of excellence, in the context of the EU-Africa Start-up Initiative to be created (proposed action under recommendation on partnerships). [Related: The real controversy about Jumia – why did it list on the NYSE?; #VALUE4HERConnect Network: Africa’s first online platform for female agripreneurs launched in Nairobi]

Joint Statement issued by France and the AUC during the first strategic dialogue devoted to regional integration, multilateral challenges. The minister (Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs) and the AUC chairperson (Moussa Faki Mahamat) notably discussed (11 June, Paris) the situations in Sudan, the CAR, the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and Somalia as well as the fight against terrorism, trafficking and irregular migration. With respect to all these issues, they agreed on the relevance of cooperation and consultations between the AU and its bilateral and multilateral partners, especially the UN and the EU. Both parties agreed on the importance of continuing to look for long-term predictable financing of peacekeeping operations under AU and UN Security Council mandates. They also applauded the historic entry in force, on 30 May, of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA. Mr Le Drian reaffirmed France’s determination to support the implementation of this initiative, together with the EU. Through the French Development Agency, France will contribute two million euros to funding a facility for technical expertise on such priority issues as regional economic integration. They highlighted the contribution of regional organizations, and especially the AU, to defending multilateralism. As part of the strategic partnership between the AU and the EU, they decided to step up coordination in international forums, at the G7 summit in Biarritz this August, at the climate action summit in September, and at next year’s France-Africa summit on sustainable cities.

Regional Research-Policy Partnerships for Health Equity and Inclusive Development: reflections on opportunities and challenges from a Southern African perspective. This article critically reflects on the experience and lessons from a health-focused social policy research project involving a partnership spanning multiple countries across southern Africa and Europe. It asks what factors condition the efficacy of the partnership–policy nexus. The PRARI-SADC partnership case study used participatory action research to create a regional indicators-based monitoring ‘toolkit’ of pro‑poor health policy and change for the Southern African Development Community. [Note: The case study will be launched on 8 July, in London. Access other project outputs here; IDS Bulletin: Volume 50, Issue 1]

Energizing South-South trade: the global system of trade preferences among developing countries. The Agreement on the Global System of Trade Preferences offers a viable and, currently, unique interregional platform for consolidating and energizing global South-South trade cooperation. Extract (pdf): The São Paulo Round Protocol will enter into force after ratification by at least four of its eight signatories: Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Republic of Korea and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), counted as one signatory. To date, the Protocol has been ratified by India (2010), Malaysia (2011) and Cuba (2013). One additional ratification will bring it into force, though this has not yet materialized due to slow progress on ratification, possibly given changing economic circumstances and policy priorities. Consequently, the liberalization of trade among the participating countries has been held back. Based on a simulation using a computable general equilibrium model, the Global Trade Analysis Project model, preliminary UNCTAD estimates suggest that implementation of the São Paulo Round by all of its current signatories would result in shared welfare gains of $14bn. Enlarging the signatories of the São Paulo Round Protocol to include the 22 countries, and even further to all 43 members of the Global System of Trade Preferences, could significantly expand benefits and boost South–South trade.

Strengthening transboundary cooperation and integrated natural resources management in the Songwe river basin: project summary. The Songwe River Basin covers an estimated area of 4,200 km2 and is part of the wider Zambezi River basin. The river forms part of the formal border between Malawi and mainland Tanzania. Increasing competition for space, water and natural resources is degrading the Songwe River Basin. Both riparian countries ratified in 2017 the convention creating the Songwe River Basin Commission to sustainably manage the basin natural resources and implement the Songwe River Basin Development Programme (SRBDP). The project (pdf) is critical to prepare the ground for the implementation of the ambitious SRBDP by addressing the problem of environmental degradation. The heart of the SRBDP is a multipurpose dam (115 m high, 330 Mm3) which will supply water for a 180 MW hydropower plant, 3000 ha of irrigation scheme in each country and control floods in the lower part of the basin. It will also provide water for 86 000 dwellers.

Climate financing by multilateral development banks in 2018 reaches a record high of $43.1bn. The regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and East Asia were the top three to invest MDB climate finance. Extract (pdf): Figure 9 in the joint MDB report shows total adaptation finance by region. The largest proportions of adaptation finance were in the following regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Figure 14 shows total mitigation finance by region. The largest proportions of mitigation finance were in the following regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Non-EU Europe and Central Asia. [Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project: environmental and social review summary; SADC: Lowest rainfall in 38 years; 11th World Chambers Congress, closing today in Rio de Janeiro, spotlights climate change and sustainable development]

Today’s Quick Links:

Sub-Regional Coordination Mechanism for Eastern and Southern Africa: summary of outcome statement from 2019 Annual Stakeholders’ Meeting

First African Union Workshop on Pre-Shipment Inspections: WCO update

South Africa: DTI forges ahead with product standardisation task; Aviation manufacturing can be showcase for industrial stimulation; Ford’s expansion unleashes new potential for SA: R3bn investment, 168 000 vehicles a year

Repositioning, refocusing the AU’s communication and outreach functions

Egyptian President inaugurates African Anti-Corruption Forum


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