Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News selection


tralac’s Daily News selection

tralac’s Daily News selection

The AfDB has posted its pdf North Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper 2020-2026 (891 KB)

The North Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP-NA) 2020-2026 has been designed to support the efforts of six regional member countries of the African Development Bank Group - Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. RISP-NA 2020-2026 has gone through an unusually long process given the Bank’s experience in the area. Several factors have delayed the RISP-NA finalisation process. Internal reasons, particularly the revision of the Regional Integration Strategic Framework 2018-2025, also contributed to delays in RISP-NA preparation, as well as the decision in 2019 to adopt a bespoke approach before favouring a formal RISP which incorporates it as a cross-cutting theme. However, the new strategic framework provides a better response to North Africa’s regional integration challenges and issues. The bespoke approach is based on:

  • A panel of independent and influential personalities who can conduct dialogue and advise policy makers to increase their commitment level and implement RISP-NA 2020-2026

  • The development of a pragmatic vision for North Africa regional integration building the capacity of existing support structures, with the possibility of creating a regional economic community for the six North African countries.

With the exception of Mauritania and Egypt, whose main trading partners are in Asia, North African countries, which are very closely linked to the EU in terms of trade, are struggling to increase their exports within the region and to the rest of Africa. North African countries’ trade is more geared towards Europe (50% of their total trade in 2017 compared to 8.4% towards the rest of the African continent). The structure of exports and imports accounts for the predominance of trade with Europe, which meets the supply and demand of North African countries but carries high economic risks when Europe’s economic performance is weak. Nevertheless, it is should be noted that for North African countries, with the exception of Mauritania which trades with sub-Saharan African countries, the five main destinations of their exports are countries in the sub-region (Table 4).

The prospects for greater cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa are promising. Membership in AfCFTA (ZLECA) and overlapping membership in other RECs can provide a boost to regional integration in North Africa. There is currently renewed interest in regional integration in North Africa, as well as in strengthening cooperation between North Africa and other regions, particularly with the creation of AfCFTA. In addition, the countries of the region have taken bilateral initiatives to strengthen their trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa, through applications for ECOWAS membership by Morocco and Tunisia, as well as Morocco’s re-admission into the African Union in 2017. Furthermore, there are a significant number of technical cooperation agreements and experience sharing initiatives between North African and sub-Saharan African countries in various sectors, particularly energy, transport and finance.

The prospect of increased cooperation could benefit from the good infrastructure in North African countries, although good connectivity at regional level will be necessary. In this regard, for example, significant efforts have been made to build the Trans-Maghreb Highway, some sections of which are still to be completed, particularly at the borders. This highway, also known as the Maghreb Unity Highway, which is expected to link the five Maghreb countries, comprises an Atlantic road section from Nouakchott to Rabat, and a Mediterranean section from Rabat to Tripoli, through Algiers and Tunis. The highway extends beyond the Maghreb to Egypt, linking Tripoli to Cairo. The improvement of transport and logistics services can create huge business opportunities in the region, with multiplier effects that could unlock North Africa’s economic cooperation potential.

Besides the introduction, this Paper has five chapters. Chapter II describes the regional context. Chapter III analyses the regional integration agenda and the progress made, as well as regional integration related challenges and opportunities. It makes some proposals for strengthening regional integration, and presents previous and ongoing support operations, outcomes and lessons learned by the Bank. Chapter IV describes the Bank’s strategy for 2020-2026. Chapter V presents the strategy implementation in the region, and Chapter VI presents the conclusion and recommendation.

  • Annex 4: How multi-membership in various RECs impacts regional integration and the AfCFTA

  • Annex 5: The cost of non-integration in North Africa

  • Annex 6: The Bank’s High 5s in North Africa

  • Annex 7: Outcomes of country consultations

  • Annex 8: Implications of the COVID-19 crisis on North African economies

ECA supports ECOWAS 2020 vision independent and final evaluation. The independent and final evaluation, under the technical leadership of ECA, was informed by national consultations. The aim of the national consultation was two-fold: to handle the population perception on ECOWAS Commission performances along the 2020 vision implementation during the last fifteen years and to collect population aspirations for the next 30 years. This last outcome is mainly to inform the formulation of the 2050 prospective vision, which stared since March 2020 and already made available the two first deliverable beside the Covid-19 impediments.

TradeMark East Africa launches a Sh2.1bn Safe Trade initiative (Daily Nation)

Donor-funded trade organisation, TradeMark East Africa, has unveiled a Sh2.1 billion emergency fund to support safe trade in the region even as Covid-19 trade wars threaten the East African Community. “The Safe Trade Emergency Facility will be quickly rolled out in all the countries TradeMark East Africa has a foot print in the region,” TMEA chief executive Frank Matsaert said in an emailed interview with Smart Company. The emergency fund will also ensure the smooth functioning of food and critically required medical supply chains and support measures to prevent job losses and make the region more resilient to future crisis. Further, it would introduce rapid inspection and clearance of goods as well as carry out regular research and surveys to inform regional governments’ response.

Why Tanzania, Kenya trade ties blow hot and cold (Daily Nation)

The price of Tanzania’s onions imported by Kenyan traders keep shifting. It increased from Sh108 per kilo in February this year to Sh118 in April due to logistical challenges posed by coronavirus testing at the Kenya-Tanzania borders. When President Kenyatta ordered the closure of the border except for cargo vehicles in May, and Tanzania retaliated by banning all cargo trucks, the price shot up to Sh150. The volatile onion prices mirror the erratic relations between the two countries. The challenges faced by onion traders are also representative of the woes businesses have to grapple with whenever there is a misunderstanding between the two countries, whose sibling rivalry is always never far from the surface. The question then is how does the trade between the countries look like? Who stands to lose more in case of an escalated dispute?

Mr Sallu Johnson, a regional expert on customs and logistics, told Smart Company that politics tends to get in the way of bilateral ties, with businesses bearing the brunt of any diplomatic tiff. He said that although there are agreements among, for instance, the buyers, sellers and transporters of onions, which specify who bears liability for the goods in transit, the contract does not deal with such an occurrence as the border closure. “Borders are meant to be transit points, not interchange terminals. A political order that goods should be offloaded and changed creates a logistical nightmare,” Mr Johnson said. “As a transporter ferrying the onions, you’re aware that it starts deteriorating as soon as it leaves the farm and any further delay reduces the quality, and you may end up selling them in Mombasa at a throw-away price so you do not incur a huge loss.” [The author: Otiato Guguyu]

Ghana: Call to implement ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmaceutical Protocol in livestock sector (Business Ghana)

The Women in Poultry Value Chain has called for the speedy implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy Protocol in Ghana. The group, which is an umbrella organisation of women poultry value chain actors, believe that supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmaceutical Protocol will allow Ghana’s livestock sector actors to prioritise action that safeguards the development of the livestock value chain. The Protocol was presented to Ghana’s parliament on 13 June, 2017 and ratified on 1 February, 2018 but implementation has since been delayed due to key recommendations made by Parliament to be carried out, including; the enactment and update of animal production and veterinary laws to align with the protocol.

pdf AU Guidelines on Gender Responsive Responses to COVID-19 (1.59 MB) . It is important that the AU considers how COVID-19 will disproportionately affect women including young women and girls, particularly the vulnerable and those living in crises and conflict affected countries and ensure a gendered perspective in the analysis and responses to the pandemic. This will enable the designing and implementation of programmes and strategies, as well as the establishment of monitoring and reporting systems that are appropriate on differential preventive measures. Applying a gendered lens implies, among others, questioning how socially-constructed roles and identities may affect vulnerability to and experiences of COVID-191. A gendered lens to COVID-19 responses will improve outcomes for not only women, but all people affected by the virus and contribute to saving lives in Africa.

COMESA: pdf Guidelines for the movement of goods and services across COMESA region during COVID-19 pandemic (740 KB)

World Bank Group’s Global Economic Prospects: advance analytical chapters .

Winners and losers from COVID-19: global evidence from Google search (World Bank)

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, researchers are attempting to quantify the economic fallout from the pandemic as it continues to unfold. Estimating the economic impacts of a prevailing pandemic is fraught with uncertainties about the epidemiology of the disease and the breadth of disruption of economic activities. This paper employs historical and near real-time Google search data to estimate the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on demand for selected services across 182 countries. The analysis exploits the temporal and spatial variations in the spread of the virus and finds that demand for services that require face-to-face interaction, such as hotels, restaurants and retail trade, has substantially contracted. In contrast, demand for services that can be performed remotely or provide solutions to the challenges of reduced personal interactions, such as information and communications technology, and deliveries, has increased significantly. In a span of three months, the pandemic has resulted in a 63% reduction in demand for hotels, while increasing demand for ICT by a comparable rate.

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