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Regional Trade

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2018
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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

There are still several bottlenecks preventing the East African Common Market becoming a reality. “Common market, open space can only be achieved if the environment is open. If we are going to have free flow of goods and services, mutual recognition agreements all the non tariff barriers have to be eliminated,” Stephen Ruzibiza the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) said last week. He was speaking during a dialogue organised by the East African Trade and Investment Hub (EATIH) together with PSF in Kigali. Ruzibiza said, “This is when we shall say we have a vibrant common market.

Structural transformation of the Namibian economy is based on three main pillars namely market access, industrial development and infrastructure development. The market access pillar has two components; market access at home and market access abroad. Market access at home will be achieved through the adoption and implementation of the Retail Charter Policy framework while market access abroad is realised through international trade agreements. Namibia’s international trade arrangements include SACU, SADC Free Trade Area, Economic Partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union, EFTA (Norway beef market) and the on-going Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations (to combine COMESA-EAC-SADC into an FTA).

The Rules of Origin, which determine whether a product is produced within a particular trading partner, are pivotal to any preferential trade arrangement. “These rules of origin that we set for ourselves have the power to render the preferences useless or to actually promote industrial growth of the continent,” Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary in the Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry said last week. Hategeka was speaking at the at the recently concluded First Tripartite Private Sector Regional Dialogue on the theme ‘Towards a Private Sector position on TFTA Rules of Origin for increased Market Access’, in Kigali last week. The meeting focused more on a private sector position that is common and harmonized with respect to the tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) Rules of Origin for increased market access.

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) invested $16 million in the Agricultural Value Chain Facility (AVCF) project in its five year project to enhance agriculture in the country. About 70,000 farmer households from the three regions of the North and Brong Ahafo who benefited directly and indirectly from the project were able to produce an average of 3.2 metric tons of their crops as compared to previous production to reduce the poverty rate. The project also assisted some agro dealers, small scale and medium enterprises in capacity building to acquire more knowledge on their businesses while 385 demonstration plots were set up as training grounds for farmers.

Urbanisation, mobility, infrastructure, natural resources, telecommunications investments and inter-regional trade are just a few of the untapped opportunities making Africa the last growth frontier. The continent is set to become the second fastest growing region by 2025, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $4.5 trillion. In a new video, Mega Trends in Africa, Frost & Sullivan experts and C-level executives note that Africa is the only continent that has the potential to achieve double digit economic growth within the next decade.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s first state visit to Kenya last week sparked the interest Africa’s business community. Speculation was rife as to what the outcome of trade and political talks with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta would be. This is the fourth time in under three years that presidents of the two countries have held bilateral talks, whose ideal goal is the integration of the East and West African trading blocs. The plan would create a 450 million-strong consumer base expected to propel the two countries to new economic heights.

Satya Capital, a private fund established and chaired by African communications magnate Mo Ibrahim, in partnership with Portuguese group Sonae, has agreed to buy the Extra supermarket chain from the ADC group of Mozambique, according to online newspaper Zitamar News. Citing the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the newspaper also reported that the purchase will be carried out by S2 Africa, an acquisitions vehicle focused on retail set up in 2014 by Satya Capital, based in London, and Sonae Distribution, which owns the Continente hypermarket chain in Portugal.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP), in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Yesterday’s launch follows a two-day meeting with more than 40 representatives from eight Caribbean countries, including government officials, technical advisors, NGO and UN partners to set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sub-Saharan African sugar producers will shift sales to growing regional and domestic markets when exports to the European Union become less attractive after production quotas are dismantled in 2017, industry sources and analysts said on Friday. EU sugar production is forecast to expand when quotas are lifted after Sept. 30, 2017, diminishing import needs. Gavin Dalgleish, managing director of Africa's biggest producer Illovo Sugar, part of Associated British Foods, said that while the reform process had reduced the attractiveness of the EU market, it will have limited impact on the company’s growth strategy due to expectations of rising regional consumption.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The African Development Bank has approved two substantial loans to support agriculture in Uganda and Cameroon. A total of €89.291m will be directed at Cameroon’s oil palm, plantain and pineapple sectors to enhance the competitiveness of the three plants’ value chains by developing infrastructure such as roads and warehouses and training young entrepreneurs. The project will “also create jobs and sustainably improve stakeholders’ incomes in targeted crop sectors” and is expected to “boost inclusive growth” by creating jobs for young people and enhancing food and nutritional security. The project will see the development of rural roads, warehouses, markets, electricity networks and drinking water supply systems and provide support for the establishment institution-building farmer organisations, technical guidance and training.