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East African trade and investment news

Rwanda: most affordable internet on the continent

Published on March 10, 2015

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has ranked Rwanda as the African country with the most reliable internet . The Alliance announced the rankings at the mobile world congress in Barcelona, Spain. Read more. Source | BIZTECH AFRICA

Can Ethiopia’s teff grain ‘super food’ help boost agribusiness?

Published on March 10, 2015

Ethiopia’s indigenous grain teff is garnering global interest as a new super food, while Ethiopia’s government tries to ensure local prices don’t rocket for Ethiopians. Every six days a week an Ethiopian Airlines flight departs Addis Ababa for Washington in the US with a fresh batch of 3,000 injera on board. Read more. Source | Africa Insider.

 

 

Closing the infrastructure investment gap in Africa

Published on March 10, 2015

Poor and insufficient infrastructure remains one of Africa’s starkest development challenges. Despite the continent’s sustained growth and rapid urbanisation rates, its infrastructure investment deficit remains staggeringly high: $50bn annually, according to the African Development Bank.

Despite the growing appetite for African market risk in global companies that was on display at last summer’s US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, many firms remain squeamish about the greenfield risk that infrastructure projects often entail. Africa’s development partners must innovate to act as effective bridges to increased investment. The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a Pan-African trade finance multilateral organisation headquartered in Cairo, is quietly pioneering this effort. Read more . Source |  beyondbrics

Growing Kenya economy hinges on renewal of US trade pact

Published on March 10, 2015

Kenya has emerged third among the top 20 fastest-growing economies in the world, according to a 2015 survey by Bloomberg. Kenya and Nigeria are the only African countries that made it on the list, which placed China first, followed by the Philippines.  However unemployment in Kenya remains high and some industries face a shock unless the U.S. renews a key trade agreement.

Pankaj Bedi, the founder and chairman of United Aryan Limited, said his company would face serious consequences if AGOA is not renewed.

“It will be disaster. We all have been lobbying, pushing doing whatever we can.  In fact government is very proactive, even the Kenyan government has been, you know, following through. If it is not there then we are not there. Simple. We’ll lose all the jobs; there will be social, security all kind of disaster happening,” said Bedi. Read more. Source | Voice of America.

Towards AGOA 2.0

Published on March 09, 2015

In the budget sent to the US Congress earlier this month, the Obama Administration backed a full renewal of AGOA, calling for lawmakers to enact a 15-year extension.

The current version of the trade legislation, which expires on 30 September, provides about 6,000 African products with preferential quota- and duty-free access to the US market. The bill expands upon the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a set of formal exceptions from the WTO’s most-favoured nation (MFN) principle, which allows developed countries to offer developing countries preferential treatment on specific goods.

During the US-Africa leaders’ summit held last August, leaders agreed on the importance of a long-term renewal of the scheme and also pledged to work together to increase its utilisation by African countries. US Trade Representative Michael Froman had then declared  that the reauthorisation of the scheme would serve as an opportunity to “lay the foundation for AGOA 2.0” based on the “lessons” learned so far. Read moreSource | International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Museveni reiterates need for EAC integration

Published on March 09, 2015

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has re-emphasised the benefits of integration and observed that for over 50 years East African leaders have been working towards the integration of the region in particular and the African continent in general because of the numerous advantages for Africans.Museveni was addressing the 9th Northern Corridor Integration Summit at Serena Hotel in the Rwandan Capital of Kigali on Saturday.

Museveni also saluted the Kenya's President , Uhuru Kenyatta for waving off taxes levied on goods entering Uganda at the customs which, he said has reduced the delay of goods entering the country.

East African Community inter-connectivity to boost trade-Uhuru

Published on March 09, 2015

President Kenyatta said better infrastructure would also boost competitiveness and attractiveness of the economies and countries in the region.

The President spoke in Kigali, Rwanda during the 9th Northern Corridor Integration Summit that brought together the host President Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

President Kenyatta won personal praise from Presidents Museveni, Kagame and Kiir for his reforms at the Mombasa port, which has fueled faster movement of goods through the vital Mombasa regional lifeblood.

President Kenyatta said EAC member countries’ efforts in eliminating congestion and delays in movement of goods and people will enable sharing of surplus milk and energy produced in Uganda and Tanzania respectively for regional prosperity. Read more. Source | Capital Fm Kenya

Americans give East African Community chance to show off

Published on March 09, 2015

The United States Federal government has given business people and exporters in the East African Community (EAC) a first crack at imposing their will on the US market as part of Trade Africa Initiative.

This is a chance for the EAC to show off what it can do. After all, the US chose East Africa first, probably because compared to other regions in sub-Saharan Africa, it is making far faster progress towards economic integration. We should play this card constantly to drum up  large investment from the US in the future. Read more. Source | East African Business Week

Talking AGOA with USTR's Witney Schneidman

Published on March 09, 2015
AGOA is set to expire on 30 September 2015 this year. Even though there are signs that AGOA should ultimately be extended, some concerns have been raised about the delayed renewal process, which could undermine certain exports and investments especially in the apparel sector. Can you explain why the extension has not occurred yet?
 
[Witney Schneidman] We are trying to get the scheme extended as we speak. I think we’re hopeful to get the extension in late March, or in early April, so hopefully  there will be no delay. 
Due to the United States Congress elections in November 2014, we had to wait until January for the new Congress to work on the extension and right now they are trying to resolve some issues that revolve around American exports of poultry to South Africa which are currently at the heart of the on-going discussions. (See Bridges Africa, 24 February 2015) Read more. Source | International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Food security: New report presents roadmap for U.S -Africa trade policies

Published on March 09, 2015

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs last week released recommendations on how U.S. trade policy could advance food security in Africa and position American businesses to tap a burgeoning African agriculture and food market, which is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030.

The report, Grow Markets, Fight Hunger: A Food Security Framework for U.S.-Africa Trade Relations, presents evidence that an effort by the United States focused on bolstering regional trade and harmonizing food standards and regulations across countries would drive economic growth while improving the availability and affordability of nutritious foods throughout Africa. 

“This year, the U.S. government is working to complete two landmark trade agreements and renew Trade Promotion Authority and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” said Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Read more. Source | Vanguard

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