Happy Labour day! Here is the latest update on trade policy and trade law issues that should be on interest to readers who are keen on Africa’s trade relations with the world, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and regional integration in Africa generally.
Proposed Kenya- US Free Trade Area.
There has been a lot going on regarding this proposed FTA for some time now with the latest indication being that the Biden administration indication its willingness to complete the negotiations which were commenced by the Trump Administration. The latest report on this was undertaken by the American Chamber of Commerce which has just released an in-depth analysis of the proposed trade deal which you can access here.
USA- China Geopolitics
The US – China relationship recently moved from the trade wars to control of influence. In this regard, the US Senate is considering a law ,that would allow the US to spend millions of dollars to “counter” Chinese influence in Africa. The Strategic Competition Act puts Africa at the centre of the China-US rivalry. Interestingly, there is no mention of how this approach will aid Africa agency.
Effect of Bilateral Economic / Trade Deals on AfCFTA
The Economic Commission for Africa recently held a roundtable to discuss the likely impact of bilateral economic and trade deals on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This event has powerful presentations and ideas which are worth exploring.
With the rising cases of the COVID-19 infections and deaths in India , manty Africa countries have taken various precautions chief among them the banning of flights from India. But two things stand out and are worthy of consideration by African countries. First, are any lessons that African countries can learn for this given Africa’s state of public health facilities. In this regard Africa’s medics have urged African governments to take measures to avoid the medical facilities being overrun should Africa experience India- like infections.
Currently there is acute need for COVID-19 vaccines supply in the continent with most countries which received the initial batch from the Covax Facility running out of supplies. With the WHO continuing to approve more vaccines including the vaccines from China for use, there is hope that the Covax facility with have more doses and hopefully equitable distribution. The bigger question thus remains the ending of vaccine hoarding by the rich countries. The ultimate solution that can address this , and which is welcome, is the African leaders call for vaccine manufacturing in the continent. This was subject a recent conference in which the Africa CDC launched the Partnership for Vaccine Manufacturing. One of way of doing this is by enhancing what African countries like Egypt which is already in advance talks with a Chinese vaccine manufacturer to will enable Egypt to star manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines. These are some of the initiatives that can help Africa integrate into the Global Value Chains (GVCs) for essential commodities such as medicines and vaccines which Africa desperately needs at this moment.
Trade and Security
Total suspends gas project in Mozambique due to militants attack on its site, with the company making this decision under the force majeure legal principle.
Please stay tuned for more coverage of interesting updates on trade and integration issues in Africa.