tralac Daily News
Uganda Seeks Sustainable Growth Through Regional Trade (Mirage News)
KAMPALA, December 15, 2022 – As the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, Uganda is returning to its pre-pandemic path to growth, with economic recovery boosted by the strong performance of the services and industrial sectors, buoyant private consumption, and an uptick in private investment.
The 20th edition of the Uganda Economic Update (UEU): Unlocking the Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area and Regional Integration, a twice-yearly analysis of Uganda’s near-term macroeconomic outlook, foresees sustained recovery driving real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 5.5% during fiscal year 2022/23 from 4.7% in fiscal year 2021/22, not very different from the forecast in June 2022.
This broad-based recovery started at the beginning of the year and accelerated throughout 2022. The medium-term outlook also remains broadly positive, hinged on continued implementation of the government’s Third National Development Plan (NDP III) and full recovery of global trade.
President Ruto in U.S. to Profile Kenya as an Investment Hub (Nairobi Wire)
President William Samoei Ruto is in Washington, D.C. for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. He is expected to make a robust case for the expansion of trade between Kenya and the United States.
President Ruto will also be seeking to deepen the economic ties between the two countries during a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden.
“We will be pitching to American companies to scale up and direct their investments to Kenya now that we are aggressively pursuing pro-business policies,” explained President Ruto.
‘COVID -19 unlocked innovation in industries’ (Zimbabwe Independent)
Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza says the outbreak of COVID-19 brought new opportunities and innovations to the manufacturing sector.
According to the state of industry and commerce report released on Wednesday, post COVID–19-induced lockdowns, Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector remained highly diversified consisting of 94 sub-sectors producing over 6 000 products.
Over 1,282 Regional Customs Transit Bonds, amounting to US$1billion have been executed in the Northern and Central transport corridors in 2022 alone signifying a reduction in cost of transit and transport of goods by between 15 and 20 percent.
The two Corridors link Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and DR Congo which are part of 13 countries that have joined the COMESA Regional Transit Guarantee (RCTG) Scheme. Other countries in the scheme are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The RCTG, also known as Carnet, is a Customs transit regime designed to facilitate the movement of goods under Customs Seals in the region. It provides a uniform basis for transit movement through the region, where only one guarantee is used to cover goods in transit throughout all transiting countries. Currently, it is fully operational in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Over 2000 delegates, including Africans from across the continent, attended the World Circular Economy Forum 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda held from 6-8 December.
The event positioned Africa as a potential global leader in driving adoption of the circular economy paradigm owing to its youthful population, immense resources and entrepreneurial dynamism. It also showcased circular solutions from Africa and the global south, including reused construction materials, textile garment recycling and aquaponics food systems.
The African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), the Government of Rwanda and the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, jointly hosted the Forum. The African Development Bank, which hosts ACEA’s secretariat, played a role in the event’s agenda.
West Africa poised for apparel sector investment (just-style.com)
Participants at the recent West Africa Roadshow validated the organiser’s vision for the West Africa Region, which comprises the need for a vertically integrated and sustainable industry with capabilities in recycling, renewable energy and traceability of materials.
“The textiles and apparel industry plays an important role in industrialisation,” said organiser the Tony Blair Institute (TBI). “Most countries that have industrialised have started with textiles and apparel before moving to higher value-add sectors. The industry is typically labour-intensive in the apparel segment and technology-intensive in the textiles segment (i.e., the production of fabrics by transforming cotton or producing man-made fibres).
“In a country like Bangladesh, textiles and apparel represents more than US$40bn in exports and employs more than 5 million people. West Africa has all the ingredients to be able to attract investment in the region, especially as the industry is moving out of China (which represents more than 40% of global T&A exports) and the consumer market is continuously growing. Bringing key industry leaders and decision-makers to the region is key for the region to be able to benefit from the current changes in the supply chains and seize this opportunity.”
The Government of China has granted an opportunity for exporters in Ethiopia to export duty-free some 1,644 types of products to China.
The duty-free export privilege given to Ethiopia by the Chinese government doesn’t require Ethiopia to reciprocate or allow any Chinese products imported duty free to Ethiopia, according to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.
Most products listed to be exported duty free from Ethiopia are manufactured goods the country is not manufacturing at the moment.
These include parts and accessories of various machineries, electronics equipment, sunglasses, contact lenses, hand drying apparatus, cameras, projectors, electric smoothing irons, warships, vessels, sailboards, vacuum cleaner, soldering irons and guns, sound signaling equipment, etc.
Africa Business Forum: U.S., Benin, Niger sign $504 million Regional Investment (Millennium Challenge Corporation)
WASHINGTON (Dec. 14, 2022) — The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) took center stage at today’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum as the United States, Benin, and Niger governments signed the first-ever MCC regional program — the $504 million Benin-Niger Regional Transport Compact.
Benin’s President Patrice Talon, Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, and MCC’s Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright were joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to sign the compact and celebrate taking a significant step in advancing two-way trade between the United States and West Africa.
“Connecting vibrant African regional markets is a critical piece of a broader and inclusive strategy to create sustainable economic growth,” said Albright. “Countries can grow faster, create more jobs, and attract additional private-sector investments when they are a part of dynamic regional markets. Nowhere is this more applicable than in West Africa. I am honored to be part of this historic partnership with Benin and Niger.”
EALA passes bill to set up financial services commission for EAC (The East African)
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a bill for the establishment of the East African Financial Services Commission as an institution of the community.
“This is one of the legacy bills this House has passed. It’s a bill that touches directly on a pillar of our integration. Therefore, we hope that the remaining step to assent by the heads of state will not be delayed,” said the EALA Speaker Martin Ngoga after the bill was passed.
East African Financial Services Commission Bill 2022 aims to establish the East African Financial Services Commission, pursuant to Article 21(a) of the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Monetary Union, to provide for the functions of governance, funding and headquarters of the commission.
Authorities in Kenya and Eritrea have reached an agreement to facilitate the travel process by lifting the visa requirements for citizens of each other’s countries.
According to both countries’ authorities, the new decision would further tighten the bilateral relations, and also facilitate the travel process.
The decision was reached at a meeting held between the President of Kenya, William Ruto as well as his counterpart from Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki. The leaders also agreed to tighten cooperation in the African Union, “in the spirit of Pan-Africanism”.
“We will keep working together to promote regional trade and investment,” President Ruto said.
US announces $1bn investment package to accelerate African innovation (Engineering News)
The US White House’s Prosper Africa initiative the US-Africa Business Forum’s Deal Room announced on December 14 a package of investments totalling $1-billion over the next five years, to boost African exports and infrastructure and mobilise private investment to accelerate African innovation.
Prosper Africa is a US government initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between African nations and the US.
Prosper Africa COO Leslie Marbury says Africa offers some of the greatest growth opportunities for shared prosperity in African nations and the US.
Africa’s integration into global markets, demographic boom, and continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation present an extraordinary opportunity for the United States to invest in Africa’s future. The United States will support and facilitate mobilizing private capital to fuel economic growth, job creation, and greater U.S. participation in Africa’s future. Together, business and government leaders will strengthen trade- and investment-enabling environments, including fostering the development and implementation of effective policies and practices across all sectors, and identify and promote new opportunities for Africans and Americans. Through initiatives such as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and Prosper Africa, the United States will provide timely, coordinated support that meets the needs of businesses and investors, including micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises and diaspora- and women-owned businesses, to advance infrastructure priorities and boost two-way trade and investment.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and U.S. Eximbank have signed a $500m Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost trade and investment, especially to help revive and strengthen African airlines through re-fleeting.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the ongoing U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit.
Oramah said through the renewed partnership, the two banks would support trade and economic integration in Africa by helping to provide other technical supports and facilitate strategic investments in healthcare.
At their last meeting of the year held on 12 December, members of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender took stock of the work undertaken in 2022 and considered their next steps. The co-chairs highlighted that the mandate of the Informal Working Group was strengthened by the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) outcome document, which recognizes the importance of women’s economic empowerment. They announced that 2023 should be dedicated to developing a long-term work programme containing concrete actions and deadlines.
Several WTO observers, representatives from the private sector, and academia gave presentations on issues related to women and digitalisation, female exporters, links between free trade agreements, disability and gender.
Reporting on the work carried out by the WTO Secretariat, Anoush der Boghossian, Head of the Trade and Gender Unit, said a publication with some of the research papers presented at the World Trade Congress on Gender held on 5-7 December will be released in 2023 as well as a full report highlighting the new data and findings discussed at the event.
WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told African counterparts on Tuesday that she wants to improve participation in the U.S. trade preferences program that provides access to U.S. markets for nearly 40 African countries.
Tai said she wanted to conduct an "honest assessment" of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has underpinned U.S.-Africa trade for more than two decades, during remarks to a meeting of trade ministers from Africa at the start of a regional leaders summit in Washington.
Tai said in her remarks that she was "interested in discussing today ways in which we can improve AGOA – including how we can increase the utilization rates, particularly among smaller and less-developed countries, as well as ensure that the program’s benefits fully reach all segments of society."
Trade Policy Review: United States of America (World Trade Organization)
The fifteenth review of the trade policies and practices of the United States of America takes place on 14 and 16 December 2022. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of the United States of America.
China’s 2023 outlook clouded by global recession, developing world debt risk (South China Morning Post)
Uncertainty facing the global economy next year will exacerbate challenges at home for China, economists in Beijing say, while urging swift support to help counter external headwinds.
As the risk of global recession looms, China should stay alert to turbulence in international markets and the potential of another financial crisis, said former vice-finance minister Zhu Guangyao at a forum organised by web portal Sina on Wednesday.
“There could be greater challenges for 2023,” he said.
Debt crises have broken out in some less developed countries following US monetary policy tightening, while war in Ukraine has roiled energy and food markets.
One of the world’s largest port operators in emerging economies sees some signs of weaker demand but heads into 2023 in a stronger position to charge higher rates and weather a surge in energy costs.
The profit windfall that container shipping lines made through the pandemic “made it easier for us to bring up what we call a lot of the mandatory charges in the ports,” said Christian Gonzalez, executive vice president at Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. “That situation allowed us to mitigate the impacts of inflation early on, and a lot of that pricing is going to stick.”
After two years of improving profits, terminal operators globally are bracing for hits to their margins. “The ports industry now faces the dual challenge of skyrocketing costs and market downturn,” the maritime consultancy Drewry said in report on Tuesday.
BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 15. China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway is a symbol of regional cooperation, Trend reports citing the Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM), a think tank based in Türkiye.
According to ANKASAM, the implementation of transport and logistics projects helps to strengthen regional ties, as well as economic interests. Both the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are keen on the construction of the railway.
"Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will become a bridge that provides the connection between Europe and Asia. Therefore, as stated by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, global challenges and new challenges make alternative transport corridors essential," ANKASAM said.
Global Gateway: EU and its Member States to mobilise €10 billion for South-East Asia (European Commission)
During the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, the EU and its Member States, in a Team Europe approach, announced the mobilisation of €10 billion as part of Global Gateway to accelerate infrastructure investments in ASEAN countries.
This package will focus on the green transition and sustainable connectivity in South-East Asia, underpinned by two Team Europe Initiatives: the Sustainable Connectivity Initiative and the Green Team Europe Initiative.
Investments will focus on energy, transport, digitalisation, education and promote trade and sustainable value chains. They will support South-East Asia's transition to a green economy, better access to essential services, and economic opportunities and jobs.
The Hong Kong government expects to begin discussions next year to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP, the largest free trade agreement ever, should have the effect of lowering tariffs, expanding services trade, harmonising rules of origin and, for Hong Kong, establishing its role as a vital gateway into the fifteen cities of the Greater Bay Area. The Hong Kong government is predicting an early accession to the agreement.
Hong Kong is readying itself to join RCEP, the world's largest free trade agreement. The agreement, which entered into force on 1 January 2022 for most of its member states, covers 30 per cent of the world's population (2.2 billion people), with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$38 trillion, about a third of global GDP.
Accession into RCEP will offer Hong Kong preferential tariffs for its member countries; improved mechanisms for addressing non-tariff barriers, including customs procedures, quarantine, and technical standards; and a common set of rules on intellectual property, trade, and e-commerce.
Two large shocks to the global economy – the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have caused major disruptions to global value chains (GVCs) in the EBRD regions.
But how are firms in GVCs coping, and what is the EBRD doing to help them survive and even prosper through the turmoil?
A new paper by EBRD economists Beatrice Ravanetti and Peter Sanfey provides answers by drawing on a recent EBRD enterprise survey, covering more than 800 firms across 15 EBRD countries, and on selected examples of recent interventions by the Bank.
GENEVA, Dec 14 - China accused Washington on Wednesday of using subsidies to prop up national industries and refusing to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization.
China's ambassador to the WTO Li Chenggang said in a speech that he was disappointed in the U.S. trading record, saying it had not lived up to President Joe Biden's inaugural pledge to lead "by the power of our example".
"The United States puts 'America First' by prevailing its domestic laws over international rules and (the) laws of others, disregarding WTO rules and concerns of other members," he told a closed-door U.S. trade policy review at the Geneva-based WTO.
The Federal Government of Nigeria recently signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with Seychelles, one of the biggest tourism destinations in the world.
BASA is an air transport agreement between two countries that allows designated airlines to operate commercial flights, covering transportation of passengers and cargoes.
Advocates for BASA say if well utilised, it will promote air services and connectivity between two countries, enhance business, and promote tourism.
The Dubai International Chamber — one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chamber — has opened a new international representation office in Cairo on Sunday, reinforcing strong business links between Egypt and the UAE.
- The strategic step is part of the Dubai Global initiative launched by Dubai to attract foreign investment, talent, and new business to reinforce the emirate’s position as one of the world’s leading commercial hubs while enabling Dubai-based companies to expand their business in 30 priority markets overseas.