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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Dominic Chavez | World Bank

29 Jul 2019

Diarise: The launch of UNCTAD’s Digital Economy Report 2019 (4 August)

Featured infographic, @martinslabber: “Good news, as South Africa’s total trade with Germany increases to R229bn over the 12 months to the end of May 2019. Our exports now above R100bn per annum for the first time in five years (and I imagine longer than that).”

Nigeria and the AfCFTA: selected updates

  1. Buhari establishes committee for implementation of AfCFTA. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a National Action Committee for the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement, which he signed on behalf of Nigeria at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Heads of State on 7 July in Niamey. The National Action Committee will be comprised of representatives of ministries and agencies with competent and relevant jurisdiction, and selected stakeholder groups from the private sector and the civil society to coordinate the implementation of all the AfCFTA readiness interventions. On the list of the President’s approval are: fast-tracking domestic work, for the implementation of AfCFTA readiness interventions to enhance productivity, competitiveness and facilitate trade which include policies to grow local capacity to produce and export goods and services; infrastructure projects, trade facilitation, ease of doing business and trade rules enforcement initiatives. And support, actively, Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises. The National Action Committee will upon inauguration, undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitize them on the opportunities and challenges of the AfCFTA, with preparedness plans for the Nigerian economy.

  2. Nigeria will lose out on AfCFTA if issues around ports, taxes remain unresolved – MAN DG. Segun Ajayi-Kadir is the director general of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. In this interview with Odinaka Anudu, Business Day’s industry editor, he speaks on why the association recently changed its earlier position on the AfCFTA and how the country should position itself to benefit from it. Extract: There is a moratorium for us to get our acts right, and it could be anything between five and 10 years. I believe strongly that if government is willing, and this president has told us that he is willing, we can mitigate those risks and manage the process robustly and become net gainers of the free trade. The only thing is that if we carry on as business as usual, the Nigerian economy will suffer badly.”

  3. Nigeria traders to Akufo-Addo: Protect our members after winning AfCFTA. The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has appealed to President Akufo-Addo to guide against what they describe as needless humiliation of Nigerians citizens sojourning in Ghana. NANTS notes that the hosting right given to Ghana is indeed a victory for the entire people of ECOWAS, contrary to happenings to their members, after Ghana’s successful hosting of the AfCFTA Secretariat. “We believe that in order to guide against needless humiliation of Ghana’s integrity herein secured by the hosting of AfCFTA Secretariat, your Government will need to weigh down on politicians as well as miscreants who masquerade as leaders and fan the embers of xenophobic attacks against citizens of other nationals trading in Ghana”, NANTS president, Ken Ukaoha, said.

  4. Standards Organisation of Nigeria set for full implementation. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria said it is prepared for the imminent implications of Nigeria’s signature to the AfCFTA, recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. The organisation has been working in close collaboration with other Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government as well as development partners to develop the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to cater for the free movement of goods and services in Africa. These assertions were made by the Director General, Osita Aboloma, at a media interview on the AfCFTA in Abuja. He enumerated some of the NQI project already delivered by SON to include a National Metrology Institute nearing completion in Enugu, international accreditation of SON laboratories, its training and management systems certification services as well as ongoing automation of all services to stakeholders. These he said, are aimed at promoting the ease of doing business in and with Nigeria. Nigeria, through SON, holds the Chairmanship and Secretary of many of the Technical Harmonization Committees of ARSO, in addition to promoting the participation of many stakeholders in Nigeria in the standards harmonization process, the SON helmsman disclosed. Aboloma acknowledged the imminent challenge of combating the possible dumping of substandard and life-endangering products through the Seaports since the agency is not present to carry out quality verification of products on arrival.

Ghana:  pdf Mid-year fiscal policy review of the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy (1.72 MB)  (GoG)

Selected extracts: In view of the various reforms and implementation of the government’s priority programmes we believe that Ghana is well positioned to take advantage of the Free Trade Area. As part of measures to ensure that Ghana derives maximum benefit from the AfCFTA, a National Strategy and Action Plan will be developed to further boost industrial production and exports. Government will also undertake the needed institutional, legal and regulatory reforms to facilitate the new trade regime.

The industry sector remained the best performing sector for the third year in a row, growing at 10.6% in 2018, despite the considerable slowdown of the petroleum and electricity sub-sectors. The petroleum sub-sector recorded a growth of just 3.6% in 2018 compared to 80.4% in 2017, while the electricity sub-sector grew by 5.5% in 2018 compared to 19.4% in 2017. The agriculture sector recorded a growth outturn of 4.8% in 2018 compared to a target of 6.8% and 2017 outturn of 6.1%. The less than expected performance of the agriculture sector was attributed to the slower growth of the cocoa sub-sector and the continuous decline of the fishing sub-sector. That notwithstanding, growth in crops other than cocoa posted an annual growth of 6.1% partly reflecting progress on government intervention in the sector including the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme which commenced in 2017. The services sector recorded a growth of 2.7% in 2018 against a target of 4.9% and the 2017 outturn of 3.3%. The services sector remained the dominant sector in 2018, increasing its share marginally from 46.0% of GDP in 2017 to 46.3%. The industry sector increased its share of GDP from 32.7% in 2017 to 34.0% in 2018, while the share of the agriculture sector declined from 21.2% in 2017 to 19.7% in 2018.

South Korea targets Africa infrastructure deals with Nairobi office (Business Daily)

The Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation (KIND) will use its new Nairobi office to push for a piece of the countries mega infrastructure deals currently dominated by China and use the country as a stepping stone to the rest of Africa. Kenya now becomes the Korean corporation’s fourth overseas office after Indonesia, Vietnam and Uzbekistan. KIND Executive Vice President Han Kyu Lim said the organisation which supports Korean companies for project planning, feasibility studies, project information and project bankability will soon be a major player in the continent through financed projects and Public-Private Partnership business models. “We are looking into four major deals this year and Kenya is both strategic and still full of business opportunities considering the infrastructure gaps that exists within the country and its neighbours. Our PPP models means we are part of the investment and this is going to be a game changer,” Mr Lim said. The Korean firm also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank to facilitate financing of the infrastructure deals that will come from the region as its settles in Nairobi.

India: President Ram Nath Kovind, Defence minister Rajnath Singh to visit African nations this week (Mint)

India is stepping up the intensification of its outreach to Africa with two high-level visits to the resource-rich continent on Sunday. President Ram Nath Kovind will travel to three countries in West Africa, Benin, Gambia and Guinea, the highest-level visit from India ever to the three nations. The second will be a three-day visit starting on Sunday by defence minister Rajnath Singh to Mozambique, seen as a maritime neighbour of India across the Indian Ocean. Kovind’s week-long visit is seen as one that will lay the foundations of India’s engagement with a part of Africa that hasn’t figured very high on India’s agenda, partly because the countries in the region were part of Francophone Africa. [Related: India, Mozambique sign two MoUs to further strengthen defence co-operation]

Refining Uganda’s draft Urban Strategy (ECA)

The ECA and Uganda’s National Planning Authority are this week hosting a workshop to review the country’s draft Urban Strategy and its associated Ten-Year Perspective Plan. The workshop (1-2 August) will allow experts from the two institutions to collect feedback and inputs from government officials and other stakeholders before the finalization of the strategy. Cities account for close to 70% of Uganda’s non-agricultural GDP, with the informal sector being a significant source of employment. Thus, urbanization is both a driver of growth and facilitator of development in Uganda. Speaking ahead of the workshop, Ms Edlam Yemeru Abera, Chief of the ECA’s Urbanization and Development Section, said successful planning and managing the ongoing process of urbanization is a precondition for Uganda to become an upper middle-income country, as part of achieving its Vision 2040 agenda.

Judd Devermont: How Africa is leaving its rural mantle behind (Business Day)

Africa is rural. Or that’s what senior Western officials envision when they talk about the continent. America’s top diplomat for the region, Tibor Nagy, recently said that Africa is “by and large an agricultural society.” He isn’t alone: Germany’s recent Marshall Plan with Africa insists that “rural areas will determine Africa’s future.” This is wrong. Dangerously wrong. Africa is increasingly urbanised, and its future will be shaped not in sleepy remote spaces but in the dense, vibrant clusters of Lagos, Addis Ababa and Kinshasa. Big cities are becoming the engine of the continent, with huge implications for future energy needs, security, governance and public services - as well as rising risks if urban growth is poorly managed. How can the US and its allies change their approaches to face the challenge Africa’s burgeoning urban areas will pose?

Here are four good ways to start: First, US policy and investments should be shifted heavily toward major urban clusters, rather than to countries as a whole. USAID could programme more funds to tackle urban development, while the Millennium Challenge’s city programme in Zambia could be replicated with subnational compacts across the continent. [The author is the director of the Africa programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies]

PAP backs SADC Parliament bid (The Herald)

The Pan African Parliament has thrown its weight behind plans to establish a SADC Regional Parliament, which will, among other things, enact robust legislation to combat climate change in the wake of recurring natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai that swept across Southern Africa early this year. Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the 45th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Maputo last Monday, PAP vice president Chief Fortune Charumbira said the SADC Regional Parliament would bring Southern Africa into the league of other regional blocs, such as ECOWAS, which have such institutions. “Recent benchmarking visits, including one to the PAP, have keenly been followed by the PAP and be assured that the PAP is in support of a SADC Regional Parliament,” he said. “If the EALA and ECOWAS have parliaments, why not SADC? The Bureau of the PAP is privileged to interact with Heads of State and Government at various forums. I assure you that we will push your agenda until we realise the dream of a SADC Parliament. It will not, and never die a pipedream. Be assured. A transformed SADC PF will work better towards addressing climate change through legislation for the region.”

Speaker of SA’s Parliament, Ms Thandi Modise: “Our Parliament, like all Parliaments, is expected to be part of the global community. We influence and are influenced by others we interact with internationally. We need to take the South African participation at both the SADC-PF and the PAP seriously. We have the responsibility to ensure that the host agreement for PAP is concluded and honoured. We fail the continent if we do not ensure that the PAP delivers as excepted and that its administration is up to scratch. The SADC-PF is set to finally become the regional Parliament. This is important as we need to tighten regional cooperation in the same way as West Africa and East Africa have managed to do.”

East African leaders must anchor durable integration (The East African)

After months of despair during which East African regional integration increasingly appeared to be in peril, the past couple of weeks have given cause for optimism. President John Magufuli played back-to-back host to his Kenyan and Ugandan peers in what were described as private visits at Chato home in Geita President Yoweri Museveni, seen as being on a briefing mission, arrived in Chato straight from Luanda, where he had attended a meeting that tried to broker rapprochement between Kampala and Kigali, among other issues affecting the Great Lakes region. Beyond the camaraderie and the difficult situation between Uganda and Rwanda that refuses to go away, there has been some tangible movement. Tanzania this week opened the door for Ugandan sugar while Ugandan cane growers, facing potential ruin from a glut, struck a deal to export the surplus to struggling millers in western Kenya. [Note: Editorial comment in The East African]

 

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