Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: CCTTFA

The US-Africa Business Summit 2019 starts today in Maputo. The event, a Corporate Council on Africa flagship conference, will be addressed by a large number of African Heads of State. A highlight of the proceedings will be tomorrow’s session on Prosper Africa. A DW preview: US African policy’s lost ‘dynamics’

AU Member States, RECs meet over the next two days in Lusaka: the meeting will validate a draft implementation plan of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Africa

Malabo communique: We, the Governors, representing member countries of the AfDB and State Participants of the African Development Fund

Take note of the on-going negotiations for a Fifteenth Replenishment of the African Development Fund and look forward to a timely and successful outcome; Approved the application of Ireland to become a State Participant in the African Development Fund and a member of the African Development Bank; and authorised a Special Capital Increase for the purposes thereof. We encourage the speedy conclusion of all processes towards effectuating these decisions; Consistent with the theme of the Annual Meetings “Regional Integration for Africa’s Prosperity”, encourage the Bank Group to continue to work with the AU and the RECs to fast-track Africa’s integration and economic and social transformation particularly in view of the entry into force of the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, which has the potential to increase growth, enhance competitiveness, improve the business climate, as well as ensure greater investment and development of regional and continental global value chains. [Zimbabwe: Mthuli Ncube’s speech to AfDB boards of governors]

Cross-border road corridors: the quest to integrate Africa (AfDB)

This publication provides an insightful new look at Africa’s regional road corridors, the significant leadership role played by the Bank, and the tremendous development outcomes achieved or expected. The quest to Integrate Africa is one of the African Development Bank strategic High 5 priorities. The Bank Group has been a trusted partner and has played a lead role in supporting the development and construction of regional corridors throughout the African continent. In addition to removing infrastructure bottlenecks, the Bank has also supported trade and transport facilitation initiatives including the construction of one-stop-border-posts and the harmonization of documentation and customs procedures. Over the past 12 years, the Bank has financed nearly $8bn of regional transport projects. As a result, close to 13000km of regional highways have been built on 17 road corridors, along with 26 OSBP facilities. Enabled by the corridors, new trading routes have emerged, and positive development outcomes have been recorded along the way. In West Africa for example, 10 years after the Bank financed the Bamako-Dakar highway to the tune of $400m, the route now carries more than 50% of Mali’s import and export goods from and to the port of Dakar and has allowed the country to diversify its trading routes, reduce costs by more than 20% and increase international trade by 10%. [ pdf Cross-border road corridors: The quest to integrate Africa | AfDB (4.85 MB) ]

The 19 profiled corridors, by regionEast & Southern Africa: Nacala Corridor, Mtwara Corridor, North-South Corridor (North section), North-South Corridor (South section), Northern Corridor, Mombasa–Addis Ababa Corridor, Nairobi–Lusaka Corridor; Central Africa: Brazzaville–Libreville Corridor, Brazzaville–Yaounde Corridor, Douala–N’djamena and Douala–Bangui Corridor, Cameroon–Nigeria Corridor; West & North Africa: Central Corridor of the TSH, Bamako–San Pedro Corridor, Dakar–Bamako–Ouagadougo–Niamey Corridor, Dakar–Abidjan, Abidjan–Lagos Corridor, Lome–Ouagadougou Corridor, Tema–Ouagadougou Corridor, Trans-Tunisia Corridor.

African Union RFP: Consultancy services for definition of norms, standards for the African Railway Network. Extract from the bid document: The AUC has identified 10 corridors linking the following countries (pdf)

Emerging Capital sees profit in 13,000 trucks linking Africa (Bloomberg)

Emerging Capital Partners LLC paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in Inter Africa Transport Forex, which began as a startup in Mauritius in 2007 and now spans 10 countries. It specializes in online fuel orders, cash pay-outs, road tolls, border payments or parking. The investment is being made by the Washington-based firm’s $640m ECP Africa Fund IV. “We’re looking for more opportunities, more recently also in southern Africa,” said Paul Maasdorp, a director at ECP. An almost 10% depreciation in the rand against the dollar over the past 12 months is making it easier for ECP to compete against bids from South African investors in the region, he said. ECP plans to inject additional cash into Inter Africa Transport Forex for expansion as it seeks to ensure ongoing double-digit growth, Maasdorp said.

East African states count losses over Uganda, Rwanda row (The East African)

Kampala has lost more than $664m worth of exports to Rwanda while Kigali has lost $104m during the three months the Gatuna border has been closed, according to Uganda’s East African Community Ministry. The data excludes losses incurred by other service providers like transporters, health and education providers. Although Kenya does not share a direct border point with Rwanda, it has been affected indirectly by the closure as Kenyan exports passing through Uganda were also locked out. Rwanda’s minerals, tea, and coffee are transported to the port of Mombasa through Uganda. Now, more than 80% of Rwanda’s imports pass through Tanzania. Ugandan Junior Minister for EAC Affairs, Julius Maganda Wandera, said economics rather than politics is responsible for efforts to open the border.

Tanzania: Freight agents brace for 10,000 clearing jobs loss (IPPMedia)

Presenting the 2019/2020 budget estimates to the National Assembly on Thursday, Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango said that starting next month people will be allowed to clear their good at the port without the need to assign the work to clearing and forwarding agents. The Secretary General of the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association, Tony Swai, said in an interview that the decision is likely to make a good number of people employed in the profession jobless. “I don’t think this will be possible. The parliamentary budget committee made a false step because we are legally recognized and operate in accordance with the law,” said Swai. [Dar es Salaam port container handling set to double capacity]

EU asks for formal consultations with SACU on trade in poultry (EC)

The EU considers that the extra duties imposed by SACU in September 2018 are not in conformity with the provisions of the EPA between the EU and the Southern African Development Community to which SACU member states – South Africa, the main poultry importer, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho - are signatories. The EU has on numerous occasions sought an amicable solution to the issue, to no avail. The EU hopes that both sides can still find a mutually satisfactory solution in the course of the 40-day dispute settlement consultations. If no solution is reached, the EU will be entitled under the EU-SADC agreement to request the establishment of an arbitration panel. Safeguard measures can be legally adopted in exceptional circumstances to temporarily counter surging imports that threaten domestic industry. The safeguard measure only had the effect of replacing EU imports, worth earlier some €183 million a year, with the imports from other countries, such as the US and Brazil. [The EU’s Note Verbale, pdf]

Full esteem ahead? Mindset-oriented business training in Ethiopia (World Bank)

Is there a mindset gap holding women back in business? Can entrepreneurship training instill a set of attitudes, behaviors, and strategies that are thought to underpin success in business such as motivation, perseverance, and self-confidence? This study conducted two randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of mindset-oriented business trainings on the performance of women-owned micro and small enterprises in Ethiopia.

East Africa: World Bank, IUCEA, three governments launch $293m regional skills development project (EASTRIP)

According to the World Bank EASTRIP Team Leader, Xiaoyan Liang, a quality demand-driven TVET system can be a powerful engine for youth skills development leading to employment and poverty alleviation, and for economic restructuring and transformation, as already demonstrated in the Republic of Korea, Singapore and China, where TVET has been used as an instrument and channel for technology transfer and skills upgrading of workers. Based on government nomination and competitive selection, 16 Regional Flagship TVET Institutes were selected from the three participating countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania). Each flagship will specialize in specific sectors and occupations with niche programs in highly specialized TVET diploma and degree programs, as well as industry-recognized short-term courses. EASTRIP will strengthen the capacity of the 16 RFTIs to produce skills for the regional sector markets in transport, port management, energy, light manufacturing, and ICT. [Project documentation can be accessed here]

Supporting smallholder farmers against Big Agriculture (Open Society Foundations)

In the face of this problem, how can we shift the balance of power in the agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa? How can we enable smallholder farmers to capture more of the gains? Is impact possible beyond economic gains? In search of an answer, our Soros Economic Development Fund is partnering with Pearl Capital Partners, a Ugandan, Kampala-based fund manager, alongside co-investors that also have chosen to put smallholders at the center of a €20 million debt and equity fund that invests in small and growing agribusinesses in Uganda. Our co-investors in Pearl’s Yield Uganda Fund are the International Fund for Agricultural Development (an agency of the UN), the Ugandan National Social Security Fund, and Finn Church Aid Investments. In many ways, the portfolio is similar to other agriculture-focused impact funds; in other ways, it is not: [Axios: Investors are dubious of Africa’s new cocoa cartel; Daily Nation: How neighbours reap big from Kenya’s faltering farming]

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement at core of deliberations in Nairobi (NEPAD)

“It is difficult to form a compelling vision of prosperity without a role for trade. But for the market to kick off effectively infrastructure that intensifies connectivity and access is necessary,” said Dr William Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. He was addressing Parliamentarians, Government of Kenya representatives, the African Union institutions and the representatives of the key CAADP constituencies during the opening ceremony of the 15th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting which started on the 11th June 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. “I want to persuade you, political and knowledge leaders, that this is our moment to take steps that change the fortunes of our continent,” he told participants.

AUC launches digital toolkit, knowledge compendium on agricultural transformation (AU)

The toolkit focuses on the core concepts of CAADP and the results of the January 2018 pdf Inaugural Biennial Review Report (4.18 MB)  on the Implementation of the Malabo Declaration. The results of the 2018 report showed that 20 of the 47 countries were on track towards achieving the Malabo Declaration commitments, and 27 countries were not on track. Overall, the 2018 Biennial Review indicates that AU states are not on-track to meet CAADP/Malabo goals by 2025. The Knowledge Compendium focuses on the domestication of the Malabo Declaration into country national agriculture investments plans and processes. The online interactive version includes the ability to view interactive maps by commitment area, view individual country and regional scorecards and results, compare country scores side-by-side, view all scores side-by-side and download resources and tools, including the PowerPoint presentations and the Knowledge Compendium on Malabo Domestication. [The Toolkit is available here; The Knowledge Compendium is available here]

UNCTAD: Report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-commerce and the Digital Economy (3-5 April, Geneva)

On regulatory issues and challenges: The third panellist discussed digital markets and e-commerce and their implications for competition policy. As required under previous industrial revolutions, it was important to address challenges while embracing change. In Africa, for example, regional integration could be a response to the need to reach critical mass and facilitate intraregional trade. Competition-related concerns included resale price maintenance, cross-platform parity agreements, online sales bans or limitations and geographic price discrimination. The panellist noted that firms had become large and dominant in the market, and network effects were leading to high entry barriers and market power, and that existing competition regulation tools might be inadequate. Reviewing previous cases was useful in improving understanding of new business models. The anticompetitive actions of platforms often implied cross-border effects, which required coordination between authorities. National policy alone could not solve problems, given the size of the issues involved, including privacy, consumer protection, market power and network effects. [The report is an input for the Trade and Development Board’s 66th session, 24-28 June]

Today’s Quick Links:

Ghana seeks Gambia’s support to host AfCFTA Secretariat

Adesina: “I will run for 2020 AfDB presidency”

7th session of Mauritius-EU political dialogue focuses on elevating existing partnership

Quartz: Ghana is betting on a digital census in 2020 to transform its informal economy

A review by Axel Schimmelpfennig (IMF African Department) of Taxing Africa

Mauritius: Second Generation of the Decent Work Country Programme (2019-2023) finalised

Coping with falling oil prices: the different fortunes of African banks

World’s population is projected to nearly stop growing by the end of the century


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