Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

August 2018
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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Ghana has refused to implement the Common External Tariff (CET) agreed by West African states. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began the implementation of the CET in June, 2015. The major thrusts of the new tariff regime include, among others, easy movement of goods and persons across borders, removal of major trade barriers, and establishment of a common market in West Africa in order to make goods from ECOWAS countries affordable. The regime comes with an elimination of Import and Export Prohibition Lists of individual countries, except in transition compliance regulation situations.

About 70% of the population in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region depends on agriculture for food, income and employment, and the sector contributes in the different member states between 4% and 27% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The SADC Secretariat also says agriculture is a major source of exports in several countries, contributing on average about 13% to total export earnings and about 66% to the value of intra-regional trade.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde urged central African states Friday to diversify their economies, which have been hit by plummeting petroleum prices and terrorism. The IMF managing director's three-day visit to Cameroon comes at a time when the war against terrorism and the crisis in the Central African Republic have negatively impacted the region's economies. Christine Lagarde says although all six central African states counted on their petroleum resources to improve their economies, Gabon, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have suffered most as a result of reducing world prices.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is reporting major success in promoting and facilitating investment and employment opportunities for the 2014/15 financial year. Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on January 13, President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, said “we have recorded capital expenditure/capital investment of $27.1 billion for JAMPRO-facilitated projects.”“(This) represents a 33 per cent overachievement of our targets for that financial year,” she added.

Just before the December festive season got underway last year, East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera and Arancha González, the International Trade Centre Executive Director announced a joint project to boost intra-Africa trade. Note that intra-Africa trade is less than 15% of overall African trade, which makes this project important and worthy of strong support.Dr. Sezibera said the deal will contribute to improving the global competitiveness of the EAC region and to trigger sustainable economic growth. Implementation of the five-year $8.5 million TRIP for EAC project is set to begin this month.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Council of Ministers has appreciated the progress made so far in the negotiating process that include finalising the outstanding work in Phase 1 of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA). His Majesty King Mswati III signed the TFTA agreement on June 15, 2015, five days after the official launch by heads of state and government in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt on June 10, 2015. In its 35th meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia in December 2015, the council appreciated the progress made in the negotiations process which included finalising the outstanding work in Phase I relating to rules of origin, elimination of import duties and trade remedies.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Dynamar recently launched a review of container trades in the region of East and Southern Africa. According to the report, the area has produced a significant growth, despite challenging conditions in many ports, in terms of infrastructure and other various bottlenecks, mainly associated with inland transportation. In the mind of many, this study’s part of Africa forms an altogether insignificant trade. That may be true if comparing it with a high volume area such as the Far East. Yet, this region’s combined port throughput is approaching 8 million TEU, which is technically more than the whole of the Australian continent. And then, there is so much scope for growth of these 23 different African countries with their 437 million inhabitants.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss will lead a five-day trade mission aimed at increasing this island’s exports to three neighbouring Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states. Inniss, who is to be accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Philmore Best and five other officials, is scheduled to visit St Lucia, Grenada and Guyana on the mission, which also seeks to enhance the development of trade relations, joint ventures and other investments. Organized by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), the mission includes three BIDC export and business development officers, along with a representative from the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association and Foreign Service Officer Corey Archer.

PACER Plus, or the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus negotiation is comprised of countries including Australia, Cooks Islands, Federates States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Negotiations on the PACER Plus were first launched at the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in 2009 and its conclusions are yet to be made come mid 2016. While conclusions are still pending, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have raised concerns on the current form of PACER Plus with concerns on each country’s benefits on a larger perspective economically, socially and politically.

Crop production prospects in Southern Africa have been weakened by the El Niño weather phenomenon that has lowered rains and increased temperatures, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said. A reduced agricultural output would follow on last year's disappointing season, which has already contributed to higher food prices and "could acutely impact the food security situation in 2016," according to a special alert released on Dec. 22 by FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).