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tralac's Daily New Selection

tralac's Daily New Selection
Photo Credit: Xinhua

20 Sep 2019

Keynote African trade policy discussions yesterday in Kampala:

(i)  African Union Sub-Committee of Directors General of CustomsThe entry into force of the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA - implications for African Customs Administrations

(ii)  Mid-term review of Afreximbank's Fifth Strategic Plan, IMPACT 2021: Africa Transformed. @AmbMuchanga discussed the status of AfCFTA implementation and the role Afreximbank could further play in supporting AU member states in implementing the AfCFTA.

(iii)  @AmbMuchanga also met the leadership of the East African Business Council.  Discussions covered an enhanced role for the private sector in the implementation of the AfCFTA and BIAT Action Plan and the establishment of the African Business Council.

(iv) Afreximbank President visits Uganda finance minister. President Oramah is in Kampala for a series of activities by Afreximbank, including a three-day retreat for the mid-term review of its Fifth Strategic Plan;  the quarterly meeting of the Bank’s Board of Directors (18 September); and the signing of the hosting agreement for the East Africa Regional Office (scheduled for 20 September). 

Next week, in Malabo:  Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa: second policy dialogue (24-26 September)

The main objective of this second policy dialogue is to provide a platform for member states to create synergies between the different implementing institutions, regional and continental stakeholders. More specifically, the dialogue aims to sensitize stakeholders on the state of PIDA implementation, on the development process of the next phase of PIDA PAP (2021-2030,  more particularly on how to formulate a continental strategy for resource mobilisation for the preparation and implementation of priority projects.

Expected outcomes include:  Establishment of national coordination teams of PIDA at national and regional levels; Definition of a roadmap for the implementation of PIDA projects at national level;  Definition of modalities for financial contributions from Member States to the Special Fund of NEPAD IPPF and the PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism;  Promotion of the revised 2010 African Charter on Maritime Transport; Valorisation of the maritime sector in the implementation of the PIDA PAP 2; Validation of the strategy for unlocking access to rural and remote areas with basic integrated infrastructure;  First recommendations for the Selection Criteria for PIDA PAP 2 and the PIDA Corridor Approach. [Downloads:  Concept note, Draft agenda

Diarise:  African Private Sector Forum (6-8 November 2019, Antananarivo)

The main objective of the African Union's 11th Private Sector Forum is to strengthen the role of the private sector in Africa as an engine of growth while capitalizing on the experiences and lessons learned from other parts of the world for the transformation of African economies and achievement of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.  [Download the concept note (pdf)]   

SADC Regional Gas Master Planning RFP (SADC)

During the 38th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Windhoek in August 2018, the SADC Secretariat was directed to operationalise the Regional Gas Committee and to develop the Regional Gas Master Plan.  The SADC Secretariat has secured funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to secure the services of a reputable and well experienced service provider to undertake a study over a five-month period (November 2019 to April 2020).  Given the complexities of the natural gas sector and the imperative to build consensus at national and regional level with regards to the role and future of natural gas in the region, we have resolved to develop the Regional Gas Master Plan in two phases:  Defining the Conceptual and Policy Framework (focused on investigating natural gas supply and demand dynamics),  Master Planning (Visioning and Mapping the Strategic Location of Natural Gas Based Industries/Projects) and Final Master Plan and Investment Blueprint.  This study aims to equip public and private sector decision-makers/executives with independent and objective information about the comparative social and economic impacts of the various possible uses of natural gas.  [Note:  Closing date for the RFP is 8 October 2019 (pdf)]

Promoting SME Competitiveness in Kenya (Intracen)

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya are an underexploited resource with significant potential to boost inclusive growth. Drawing on data from the SME Competitiveness Survey, this report finds that even though Kenyan companies organize their production processes professionally and have a supportive business ecosystem, targeted solutions could help address shortcomings in specific areas of competitiveness. Certification and finance institutions need innovative ways to reach out to small companies, as well as women- and youth-led firms. There are acute shortages of skilled labour in the southern part of Kenya. Costly logistics services are of particular concern to agri-food companies. The Kenyan SMECS was a national firm-level survey. To facilitate the collection of data across the country, 125 to 250 companies were to be surveyed from each region of Kenya. Data on firms operating in the primary (i.e. agriculture and mining), manufacturing and services sectors were to be collected in roughly equal proportions for each region. To the extent possible, each subsector was to be composed of exporting and non-exporting firms. KNCCI conducted the SME Competitiveness Survey, gathering data from 893 enterprises in 23 counties in Kenya between 2017 and 2018.

South Africa: Ramaphosa wants to clamp down on fake goods – here's why that may be nearly impossible (Business Insider)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that illegal counterfeit goods are strangling the local economy – and pledged that government will do more to clamp down on illegal imports of these products. But that may be nearly impossible, best-guess expert estimates of the scale of the problem suggest. Perhaps 2% of the thousands of containers that arrive in Durban's harbour every day are scanned for illegal items, estimates Amanda Lotheringen, senior manager of copyright and intellectual-property enforcement for the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.  [Ramaphosa: Government dealing with illegal immigration; Tove van Lennep: The state of SA's bordersPolicy recommendations for the South African migration regime]

Nigeria:  CBN's Emefiele says border closure positive for economy (ThisDay)

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele yesterday  expressed appreciation to the federal government for the recent border closure, noting that it had yielded positive results for the economy, particularly agriculture. Speaking at a crucial meeting with state governors on how to collaborate towards making their respective states economically viable through agriculture, at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, he said though the apex bank had tried its best to curtail smuggling of rice by blocking bank accounts, the closure of the borders had proved to be a game-changer. He said:  “Our story in rice production has yielded positive results. At this point it really fit to thank and commend the federal government for the border closure. Whereas at the CBN we have been doing everything possible through blocking of accounts and all that to restrict smuggling of rice into the country, but we think the border closure has resulted in very good result for all of us and I will give you an example.”

According to Emefiele, prior to the closure, about two rice millers had approached him “and said they had about 30,000 metric tonnes each. All of these had large quantities of processed rice in their warehouses that they needed to be purchased but they were not being purchased because of the incidence of smuggling.  One week after the border was closed, these millers came back and said that all the rice in their warehouses had all been purchased and that in fact, they were even stopping people from paying monies into their accounts because they can’t meet demand again. That is a good example. What are we doing through this – it is creating jobs for our people. We need to support any efforts that would create jobs and avoid exporting jobs to other countries.” [Related:  Border Communities Development Agency strategizes on tackling Nigeria’s security challengesNIS unveils National Border Management Strategy 2019-2023]

No commercial shipping on Zambezi, insists Mozambique (Club of Mozambique)

The Mozambican government has once again rejected calls from Malawi to allow commercial shipping along the Zambezi River. Last Sunday, Malawian President Peter Mutharika told reporters that he is awaiting the go-ahead from the Mozambican authorities to begin use of the Nsanje inland port which Malawi built on its side of the Shire River, the main tributary of the Zambezi. Speaking at Nsanje, Mutharika claimed that his government is in discussions with the Mozambican authorities, and as soon as it receives the expected authorisation from Mozambique, it would push ahead with building those facilities which are still lacking at the port. But the Mozambican Transport Ministry has denied that there are any talks with Malawi. Cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Horacio Parquinio, head of the Bilateral Cooperation Department in the Transport Ministry, said:  “In a recent meeting on the Nacala Corridor, they wanted to bring the question of Nsanje port to the negotiating table.  We, the Mozambican delegation, made them understand that this was not a matter up for discussion, and the question was withdrawn from the agenda”.

Second International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (UNCTAD)

Sustainability standards can support trade and spur economic growth, while promoting environmental protection and inclusive social development, said UNCTAD’s Santiago Fernández-de-Córdoba, coordinator of the UN Forum on Sustainability Standards.  It co-hosted the convention, 16-18 in Rio de Janeiro, in conjunction with the Brazilian National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology and the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro. “Consumer demand for sustainable products continues to increase,” Mr. Fernández-de-Córdoba said, underscoring the significance of sustainability standards as a tool for sustainable development and market access. He said world markets currently boast about 500 sustainability standards, excluding those considered to be traditional, and added that certified sustainable production of crops such as coffee and cocoa has grown year after year to 26% and 23% of world production respectively.  [Download the concept note, pdf) 

The keynote presentations for the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2019 (17-18 September, New Delhi) are available for download.  Downloads from the following profiled side events are also available:

(i)  Making trade facilitation happen through Public-Private Partnerships: role of national trade facilitation committees

(ii)  OECD-ESCAP workshop: Helping SMEs internationalise through trade facilitation

(iii)  APTFF capacity building workshop:  Cross-border paperless trade facilitation

Today's Quick Links:

Djibouti: ITFC signs $600m agreement for trade financing

Malawi needs to ratify the AfCFTA as soon as possible says Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism

Ethiopia made $183.57m in two months from coffee exports

India to launch National Logistics Policy

Canada: First-time exporters grapple with rapidly changing trade landscape that can suddenly shift with a tweet