tralac’s Daily News Selection
Burundi’s National Trade Facilitation Committee meeting (28-31 January, Bujumbura)
Indian Ocean Rim Association experts’ meeting on intra-regional trade and investment (30-31 January, Mauritius)
UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board (5-7 February, Geneva)
EAC Coffee Business Forum (11-14 February, Mombasa)
Tripartite Capacity Building Programme: Phase II appraisal report (AfDB)
The proposed Bank operation will provide technical assistance and capacity building to the 3 RECs and their RMCs to operationalize the TFTA Agreement, which was signed in Sharm El Shekh, Egypt in 2015. Key outputs from the Bank’s intervention will be the development of guidelines, procedures, regulations and manuals required to operationalize the Agreement in areas such as rules of origin and dispute settlement. The Project will also support the establishment of online databases for non-tariff measures in Tripartite RMCs, building on the pilots under phase I. This will improve transparency in trade, speed up the resolution of NTBs, deter arbitrary application of regulatory measures that hinder trade, and improve awareness of traders about legitimate regulatory requirements, which provides a foundation for them to improve their capacity for compliance.
The project will enhance awareness of traders and the business community on the market access opportunities now availed by the Agreement, with a view to effectively harnessing such opportunities. To this end, the project will provide training to members of business bodies on TFTA Agreement. The Project will also leverage existing platforms, notably the Bank-funded 50 Million Women Speak Platform, to disseminate such information to a wider audience, in particular women. The project will also support the implementation of Tripartite Simplified Trade Regime. This will especially benefit women traders and the youth, who constitute over 70% of small-scale cross-border traders.
The expected project impact is an expansion in share of intra-Tripartite trade from 18% in 2018 to 24% of total trade by 2025, resulting from reduction in trade costs, NTBs and improved awareness of stakeholders. The design of the Project took into account lessons from TCBP Phase I and similar capacity building projects (see Paragraph 2.7). The Project will also complement ongoing initiatives supported by other development partners as indicated in Appendix 3.
The project will be funded through an ADF-14 Regional Public Goods grant of UA850, 000 and in-kind counterpart contribution, estimated at UA150,000 from COMESA Secretariat. Implementation will take a period of 24 months, from grant effectiveness.
Component I: Improving the capacity to implement the TFTA Agreement. This component will support capacity building of the three RECs and businesses in the tripartite countries on areas critical to operationalize the TFTA Agreement. It will focus on the development of guidelines, regulations and manuals for all the 10 Annexes to the TFTA Agreement, training on TFTA Rules of Origin, Stakeholder sensitization on the TFTA Agreement (including preparation and dissemination of user friendly versions of the guidelines and dissemination through the 50 Million WS platform), support negotiations on the Tripartite built-in agenda focusing on Trade in Services and Competition Policy.
Component 2: Improving transparency in trade to tackle non-tariff barriers in the TFTA. This component will support the roll out of NTMs databases to remaining Tripartite countries (in addition to the 9 covered in phase I), establish a Tripartite Simplified Trade Regime, and disseminate information on TFTA to increase awareness of traders, and especially women, on the TFTA trade rules and opportunities.
African Medicine Agency update: The Republic of Chad is the 11th AU member state to sign the Treaty for the establishment of the African Medicine Agency. The AMA treaty was adopted by Heads of States and Government during their 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly on 11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa. The African Medicine Agency will enter into force once ratified by 15 AU member states.
pdf Mauritius Government Programme 2020-2024 (3.22 MB) : Towards an inclusive, high income and green Mauritius (GoM)
Another core objective of the new industrial and trade policies will be to strengthen the resilience of key sectors of the economy. A new reform package will be implemented for the cane industry, while encouraging the shift to modern organic and niche production in agriculture. A plan for optimising the use of agricultural land will be developed. With regard to tourism, Government will work with all stakeholders to re-engineer the whole industry, target new markets, enhance efforts to further diversify the product and client base and consolidate traditional markets. The tourism branding will be reviewed.
As regards the financial services industry, Government will build on the progress achieved in developing the fintech eco-system in Mauritius and further accelerate the country’s growth and consolidate the image of Mauritius as a thriving international financial centre of repute. The Bank of Mauritius is currently working on the creation of a central bank digital currency and is further developing a modern technology-driven payment system.
In order to usher in a paradigm shift in the development of the manufacturing sector, Government is devising a strategic plan. It will focus on the promotion of innovation-led and technology-intensive production on building export competitiveness and on import-substituting activities.
As part of its new trade policies, Government will use economic diplomacy more intensively. It will leverage agreements already negotiated with trading partners, namely, the USA, Europe, UK, key African nations, China and India. [Note: Delivered by the President of Mauritius, 24 January; Integrated governmental clearance centre to facilitate trade in Mauritius]
Trade wars among EAC members cast doubts on summit (The East African)
Trade wars among East African Community members have put in doubt the 21st Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit slated for February. A cloud of uncertainty now hangs on the summit that was supposed to be held in November last year but was called off at the last minute in unclear circumstances. “A date has so far not yet been set for the Heads of State Summit. However, we expect that it will either be held in late February or March,” said Simon Peter Owaka, head of communications at the EAC Secretariat. He added that the summit is responsible for setting its own date and agenda, which are shared at least one week in advance with various stakeholders. Kenya’s EAC and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed and EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko are tight-lipped on the issue, a clear indication of a region that on the surface is propagating integration but beneath is pulling apart. Recently, Kenya and Uganda spurred over dairy products exports that have seen the confiscation and barring entry of dairy consignments from Uganda into Kenya. “Failure to meet sends a worrying message,” said Richard Kamajugo, senior director of Trade Environment at TradeMark East Africa.
Tussle heats up over Regional Court of Justice. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are locked in a tussle over who should host the East African Court of Justice , straining relations among the three founder members of the regional bloc. The court, currently based in Arusha, Tanzania, hears cases on violations of the rule of law, a key principle in the EAC Treaty. In a classic case of horse trading, Kenya is reported to have offered to pull out of the running to host EACJ headquarters on condition that it is allowed to house agencies created under the EAC Monetary Union Protocol.
Trade wars cost Uganda $454m worth of exports (Daily Monitor)
Trade wars and border blockades within the East African region cost Uganda $454.7m (Shs1.6 trillion) worth of export revenue for the year ended December 2019, according to data sourced from Bank of Uganda, Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda Coffee Development Authority. The data indicates that Uganda lost much more revenue from Kenya and Rwanda compared to other EAC member states. For instance, according to the data, Uganda’s export receipts from Rwanda declined to $173m (Shs640b) in 2019 from $250m (Shs925b) in 2018. Uganda at last lost $75.6m (Shs280b) of revenue specifically due to a decline in exports from companies such as Hima Cement, Roofings and Movit, among others. Exports revenue to Kenya, according to the data, declined to $535m (Shs1.9 trillion) in the period from $825m (Shs3 trillion) in 2018. This means that at least export revenue worth $290m (Shs1 trillion) was lost mainly due to cautious purchase of Uganda’s maize, sugar, beef and poultry products.
The COMESA Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) is developing a framework which will act as the regulatory oversight for the electricity sector in the region. The association believes the framework will help control the area and enhance the efficiency of regional power trading on the continent. As a way of moving this process, COMESA/RAERESA has conducted a regional consultative workshop (22–23 January, Dar es Salaam) for the study to develop a framework for regulatory oversights for the regional electricity market in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian ocean region under the EU funded Enhancement of Sustainable Regional Energy Markets (ESREM) Project.
Attracting private participation and financing in the power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: findings from a survey of investors and financiers (World Bank)
Private financing and private participation in service delivery will be required if Sub-Saharan Africa is to achieve affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030. To find out how to elicit private interest in power sector investments in the region, we surveyed 51 private investors and financiers. The results indicate that investors perceive three segments of the market - power generation, off-grid electrification, and mini-grids - as ready for private solutions.
“We, the Ministers of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, Uruguay, remain committed to work with the whole WTO membership to find a lasting improvement to the situation relating to the WTO Appellate Body. We believe that a functioning dispute settlement system of the WTO is of the utmost importance for a rules-based trading system, and that an independent and impartial appeal stage must continue to be one of its essential features.
“Meanwhile, we will work towards putting in place contingency measures (pdf) that would allow for appeals of WTO panel reports in disputes among ourselves, in the form of a multi-party interim appeal arrangement based on Article 25 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, and which would be in place only and until a reformed WTO Appellate Body becomes fully operational. This arrangement will be open to any WTO Member willing to join it. We have instructed our officials to expeditiously finalise work on such an arrangement. We have also taken proper note of the recent engagement of President Trump on WTO reform. “ [India, Brazil agree to resolve sugar subsidies issue bilaterally]