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East African trade and investment news

Roaming charges high in EAC despite network deal

Published on October 18, 2018

Kenyans are paying up to 20 times more to call within the continent as roaming charges shoot up. New data on the cost of voice calls from Kenya to several African countries indicates a sharp spike in the last three years.Burundi, a member of the East African Community, charges the highest at an average of Sh56.25 per minute. This is more than three times the Sh13.25 per minute that subscribers were charged in 2015 when the region came together to implement the one area network (ONA). Started by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, ONA was aimed at bringing down costs for calls originating and terminating between countries across the region, with South Sudan joining later. Read more. Source | Standard Digital 

Tea production across region rises, but Rwanda, Burundi quality is best

Published on October 18, 2018

Favourable weather has boosted East Africa’s tea production in the six months to June this year, even as prices have dropped in the wake of oversupply and enforcement of aflatoxin testing rules last year, which have halved exports to Pakistan, the region’s largest export destination. The onset of rains drives production in the region, which is mainly supplied by Kenya. Read more. Source | East African 

Kenya eyes bigger pie of US trade plan AGOA to increase exports

Published on October 18, 2018

Kenya's trade officials have said they will be taking steps to expand exports and raise the country's share of new investments during the second edition of Trade Week at the end of this month.

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said Kenya will particularly be focusing on trade windows such as African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and European Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) which have not been fully exploited. Read more. Source | Business Daily 

Kenya looks beyond apparel to double earnings from AGOA

Published on October 17, 2018

Kenya is betting on bigger shipments of processed food, tea and coffee to help double its export earnings from the US free-trade deal in five years’ time — marking a shift from its long dependence on apparels.

Several Kenyan products, notably apparel and agricultural produce, are big beneficiaries of the preferential African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) arrangement, which has lifted import duty on all eligible products and granted preferential market access upon compliance with Rules of Origin.

Apparels have long dominated as Kenya’s biggest export earner in the US with most other product lines unexploited. Read more. Source | Business Daily

Ethiopia Opens Another Industrial Park to Grow Apparel and Textile Production

Published on October 17, 2018

Already considered a burgeoning country for apparel and textile manufacturing, Ethiopia received a boost this week with the official opening of a new industrial park dedicated to production. The Adama Industrial Park, located about 100 kilometers southeast of the capital city of Addis Ababa, was inaugurated on Sunday. Read more. Source | Sourcing Journal 

USAID backs East African firms to become more competitive

Published on October 17, 2018

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Hub in East Africa is helping companies in the region become more export competitive by helping them obtain Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certifications, a minimum standard for social compliance, as US textile and apparel buyers want to source from ethical and socially compliant companies. 

From November 2018 to March 2019, the Hub will provide direct support in the audit and WRAP certification process, according to a USAID press release. WRAP is a US-based non-profit. Read more. Source | Fibre2fashion

Kenya exports 0.3 per cent of AGOA goods 18 years on

Published on October 17, 2018

Lack of awareness and trade barriers have restricted Kenyans to just 0.3 per cent of trade lines under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), officials have said as the country seeks to grow its export.

Export Promotion Council chief executive officer Peter Biwott said Kenya is only able to export about 20 product lines against the total of 6,400 provided for under the initiative, 18 years since the trade window was opened. Read more. Source | Business Daily 

How Global Trade Can Promote Growth for All

Published on October 11, 2018

Today’s generation of policymakers will be measured by their ability to help create a lasting bond of union and friendship, a trade system that works for all. How? I see three priorities:

First—we need to work together to de-escalate the current trade disputes and enter into a constructive discussion. Here I am hopeful because there is an appetite to improve and expand trade.

Think of the flurry of welcome discussions and proposals to strengthen the WTO. Or think of all the new trade deals, such as TPP-11 and the African agreement, and the progress made on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal. So, let us use that momentum to turn tension into rapprochement.

Second—we need to join hands to fix and modernize the global trade system, not destroy it. This means looking at the distortionary effects of state subsidies, improving the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and taking steps to ensure effective competition—to avoid the excesses of market-dominant positions. Read more. Source | IMF

Experts advocate for ‘made in Africa model’ to drive CFTA

Published on October 11, 2018

Business experts have challenged the African youth, the continent’s biggest market, to consume products made in Africa if the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement is to be successfully implemented.

According to some leading African entrepreneurs, trade and business experts, the profile of African products will be enhanced once Africans place them on top of their preferential list. Read more. Source | New Times 

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slower than expected ‑ World Bank

Published on October 11, 2018

Though Sub-SaharanAfrican economies are recovering from the slowdown in 2015-16, growth is slower than expected, according to the latest World Bank report.

According to the October 2018 issue of Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies, the average growth rate in the region is estimated at 2.7 per cent in 2018, which represents a slight increase from 2.3 per cent in 2017.

Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, said that regional economic recovery is in progress but at a slower pace than expected. Read more. Source | New Times