Welcome Africa Trade Policy and Law Update which puts together some of the  key developments in  trade policy and trade law in Africa, while at the same time spotlighting what these mean for trade regional integration  in Africa.

Infrastructure

The AfDB reports of an approval of its first strategic framework for the development of public-private partnerships. With Africa’s infrastructure investment gap being estimated to be $100 billion per year. There are already different views out there on PPPs and whether they are the best model for addressing Africa’s infrastructure gaps.

Speaking of infrastructure, one of  the African Union avenues for realizing infrastructure ambitions is the Programme For Infrastructure Development In Africa (PIDA) . Kenya’s President  has invited African leaders to attend the seventh Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) week in Nairobi from February 28 to March 2, 2022.

Kenya will continue spending massively on infrastructure projects in the five years to 2027, in what will keep the country as a big construction site for the next decade. This can be deduced from country’s treasury announcement that it [the Treasury] will prioritize spending to upgrade the nation’s rail system, road network and building of new power plants.

Energy

Chinese and French oil giants finally sealed a $10-billion deal  to unlock Uganda’s energy resources and build a vast regional oil pipeline. This is despite protests from environmental conservationists  on the impact of the project on the ecosystem.

Trade

The  GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Connection has become a destination to watch  in terms of Kenya’s meat exports.

North-South Cooperation

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (-AU) plan to have a Summit this  February  this year and aims to discuss several issues of concern to Africa-EU relationship, including growth financing health systems and vaccine production, agriculture and sustainable development, education, culture and vocational training, migration and mobility, private sector support and economic integration, peace, security and governance, climate change and energy transition, digital and transport [connectivity and infrastructure.

Regional Integration

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade in Services has entered into force following ratification by two thirds of the Member States. The SADC Protocol   provides the framework for a preferential trade agreement covering all commercial and tradable services in any services sector. It aims at increasing  intra-regional trade in services through the gradual removal of unnecessary or overburdensome regulation affecting the cross-border supply of services within the SADC region. It is worth pointing out that Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and United Republic of Tanzania plus the Union of Comoros, are yet to ratify the Protocol.

The Gatuna-Katuna Border Post by the Republics of Rwanda and Uganda was recently opened and this is important for cross-border trade.

Trade Facilitation

The WTO DDG González highlighted the importance of supporting least developed countries (LDCs) in implementing the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Trade facilitation is the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes—has therefore emerged as an important issue for the world trading system.