Western multinationals used cheaper labour in underdeveloped countries to manufacture products that relied on inputs from all over the world and technologies developed in their more expensive labour markets. Studies now suggest these advantages are being lost. Labour is no longer as cheap in many places.
“Significant amounts of lost revenue and foreign exchange earnings to the state due to trade misinvoicing (underinvoicing and overinvoicing) have devastating implications for African countries – most of which are commodity dependent,” says Prof Charles Adjasi, head of the Development Finance programmes of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). A study published by UNCTAD last year revealed huge discrepancies in trade accounting in South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. Adjasi says the report shows that records of trade data (both exports and imports) over a period of 14 to 20 years by the respective developing countries did not match those of their reported trading partners (destination) for selected commodities.
Tanzania wants a study conducted on the impact of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union on the East African Community, ahead of the Summit of Heads of State scheduled for next month. The demand reiterates Tanzania's position that Kenya and Rwanda should not have signed the EPA last year and, given the inadequate time before the summit, there won't be much progress on the matter before April 1, when the EU expects the EAC to sign up to the accord.
The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat says the 15-member regional integration movement has reached an agreement with Cuba on the expansion of preferential access to each other’s markets. In a brief statement, the secretariat said that the agreement was reached during the 10th meeting of the Joint Commission established under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba held in Guyana late last month.
Madam Lulu Xingwana, the South Africa High Commissioner, has called on African business leaders to consider rural areas in their investment options. She said the business community should look at projects, which could be operated in the rural areas to create the needed development to their various countries. Madam Xingwana was speaking during a business panel discussion on how the Gauteng Province, from South Africa could do business with their Ghanaian counterparts in Accra. She commended Ghana for being one of the best countries on the African continent for its stable good governance and peaceful transition.
Preparatory to the 2017 establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa, Nigeria has commenced negotiations to facilitate the adoption of the trade deal after several months of lagging behind among other trade blocs. Indeed, three Regional Economic Communities (RECs)—the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC)—had reached an agreement in 2015 to expedite the process towards the operationalization of the tripartite Free Trade Area by finalising outstanding issues.
Kenya’s bid to build a shared customs with its neighbours in East Africa remains in limbo as Tanzania continues to show reluctance to sign a crucial pact with the European Union as deadline nears, a new report says. The report by financial advisory firm Citi says Kenya’s quest to rally the bloc to ratify the economic partnership agreement (EPA) will likely hit a brick wall as Dar es Salaam sticks to its guns in shunning the pact. “Tanzania’s relationship with the EAC (East African Community) often seems to have parallels with that of the UK to the EU: a somewhat reluctant member who is far from fully committed to greater integration which creates periodic tensions,” says the report.
Kenya is mulling a credit guarantee scheme to encourage farmers to raise production as 26 countries move to eliminate cross border barriers on goods.Vision 2030 director-general Julius Muia said the loan guarantee framework being worked out will target export producers, especially those eyeing the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). “The loan guarantee scheme framework is aimed at upscaling production since it would form a good base for industrialisation through agro-processing and product diversification,’’ said Dr Muia. Due to agriculture’s dependence on unpredictable weather and volatile markets, traditional risk-averse financial institutions have over the years scaled down their lending to the sector. The state-guaranteed loans are expected to finance production and cross-border integration of value chains.
A regional organization says the European Union (EU) plans to boost Caribbean competitiveness by strengthening regional partnerships. On Saturday, the Guadeloupe-based STC INTERREG Caraïbes said that INTERREG V Caribbean, a multimillion dollar EU-funded programme to strengthen regional partnerships, will be officially launched in St. Lucia on Wednesday. In addition to boosting the economic competitiveness of the region’s countries, the INTERREG V Caribbean programme will also respond to environmental challenges and health issues, while promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region. According to STC INTERREG Caraïbes , the programme focuses on priority areas such employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will disburse $6.6 billion through the African Development Fund (ADF) to African countries in 2016. Speaking at the Final Pledging Session for the ADF 14th Replenishment meeting in Luxemburg November 28, 2016, the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said four of the five High Five strategies of the Bank were developed and approved by the Board within a period of six months.