Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

June 2018
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EDITO
Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A plan to create a single continental market for goods and services in Africa would be implemented by end of this year, African Union Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert M. Muchunga said. “…Negotiations are moving in the right direction and at the desired pace. We are on target to deliver Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by December this year,” Muchunga told reporters on the sidelines of the foreign ministers meeting ahead of Monday’s African Union leaders’ summit. According to Muchunga, currently intra-Africa trade stands at 14 percent of all transactions and there was a plan to double the figures by 2021. “The CFTA will bring 54 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3 trillion,” an African Union publication said.

Intraregional seed trade is set for a boost following the introduction of seed labels and certificates to be utilized by seed companies for large consignment crossing the borders. The move is intended to spur regional trade through improved seed varieties across the region. The COMESA Seed Labels and Certificates will be used by member States to identity seeds in the market that meets the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations of 2014. This development is line with the COMESA Seed Harmonization and Implementation Plan (COMSHIP) that provides a framework for the 19 COMESA Member States to trade, facilitate seed industry and support local seed companies.

Thursday, 06 July 2017

Zambia signed trade contracts worth US $100 million with grain traders from eastern Africa on Thursday for the export of 382,640 metric tonnes white maize, soyabeans and other grains. The deals were sealed in Lusaka during a regional Trade Facilitation Forum organised by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) in collaboration with Zambia Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE), with support of USAID’s East Africa Trade and Investment Hub and USAID’s Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The forum brought together over 195 sellers and buyers of maize, soya beans, common beans, millet and other grain commodities from, Burundi, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, 04 July 2017

The European Union (EU), and the National Association of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), have insisted that the imperative of economic integration in West African sub region cannot be over emphasised. The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, during a visit to NACCIMA, in Lagos recently, noted that Nigeria plays a vital in the promotion of economic integration in the sub region. According to him, by 2050, Nigeria will be the third largest country in the world after China and India, adding that the EU is ready to work with Nigeria and other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries to promote trade in the region. Noting that the country is also one of the biggest markets in the world, he said Nigeria in ECOWAS is like Germany in Europe - with huge population and the biggest economy.

Monday, 03 July 2017

Britain’s exit from the EU has brought into question the benefits of intra-regional trade, with some commentators suggesting that it could sound a warning for Africa’s regional integration project. Advocates of Brexit pointed to a decline in Britain’s trade with its EU partners as an indication that a focus on intra-EU trade is no longer a priority for Britain. It is worth noting that since 2012, Britain’s trade with the rest of the world has overtaken its trade with the EU. This is in part because emerging economies have shown higher growth than Europe and have thus offered more opportunity. Brexiteers also argued that Britain’s EU membership has hindered the growth of the UK’s trade with non-EU nations (including with its former colonies), with insufficient benefit gained from trading with EU member states to compensate.

The Agriculture Sector in OECS Member States is on the brink of a new era in collaborative production for regional and international trade. A comprehensive grouping of regional agriculture stakeholders, which include Ministers, Manufacturers, Traders, representatives from the Bureau of Standards and the OECS Commission, are working together to ensure the success of the initiative. The virtual OECS Agri-Export Working group began in June of 2016 and, only one year later, has seen many achievements due to the influence and reach of the agricultural stakeholders involved, paired with the technological nature of the ongoing online meeting, which facilitates speedy action and decision making. Main achievements of the Agri-Export Initiative to date include:

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently met to discuss the investment climate scorecard targeted at unlocking investment in the region. In a chat with CNBC Africa, Kalilou Traore, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, spoke on the need for more formal trading in the region and Morocco’s integration into the organisation. In the area of economic integration, our aim to create a regional common market regarding trade, industrialization, investment and many other issues in different sectors. We noticed that one of the biggest challenges is the investment ratio. The gap of investment in our region is very huge. An estimation of our need may be around $45 to $50 billion every year.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Board of the Ghana Netherlands Business & Culture Council (GNBCC) last week paid a courtesy visit to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. With members such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Unilever Ghana, Wienco, the Vlisco Group, Vivo Energy, Dutch&Co, PwC Ghana and IOI Loders Croklaan, the GNBCC serves as a bilateral Chamber of Commerce for Ghana and the Netherlands. It represents the business interests of both Ghanaian and Dutch companies and renders business development and support services to its members. The Netherlands is currently Ghana's fifth largest export destination, third largest import partner and among its biggest investment partners.

Ghana and Sierra Leone have agreed to ratify the agreement for cooperation between them to provide the legal framework for addressing their trade and investment concerns. Despite the good relations that exist between the two countries, there is no framework for cooperation to guide those relations, a situation which is undermining the deepening of bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries. The resolve of the two countries to ratify the agreement was one of the outcomes of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s one-day official visit to Sierra Leone last Wednesday. Speaking after the visit, the President gave an assurance that he would work with Parliament to ratify the agreement. The two countries signed the agreement for cooperation on December 19, 2013, but it is yet to be ratified by Ghana’s Parliament.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a $110.1m (Shs396b) budget for the financial year 2017/18, an 8 per cent increase from $101.3m (Shs364b) for the year ending in June. The new budget seeks to prioritise the development and promotion of nine sectors, including regional infrastructure, trade and investment. Presenting the budget to the Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, last week, Uganda's Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the chairperson of the Council of Ministers of EAC, said: "The new budget seeks to consolidate the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods including agricultural and other widely consumed products."