A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations

 
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
August - November 2018                                  www.un.org/africarenewal

                            FREE TRADE AREA
      A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA

                         Youth: ‘Not Too Young To Run’
                          campaign gains momentum

                                Female-led tech
                              startups on the rise
                          Special focus on the Sahel:
                          opportunities & challenges
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
CONTENTS                                                                                                             August - November 2018 | Vol. 32 No. 2

                                       3 SPECIAL FEATURE
                                        COVER STORY

                                       Africa set for a massive free trade area

  6     Interview: Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General
  8     Southern African trader: one stop border post will boast trading                                        “Education is the most powerful
  9     West African traders: infrastructure key to intra-African trade                                         weapon which you can use to
                                                                                                                change the world.” Nelson Mandela
 10     Trading while caring for people and planet

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
 12     Africa-made luxury loungewear takes on big brands
 14     China’s ‘Little Africa’ losing its allure                                                               Acting Editor-in-Chief
 16     Interview: Prof. Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM                                                           Zipporah Musau

 18     The state of African elections in 2018                                                                  Acting Managing Editor
 20     Youth: getting ready for public office                                                                  Kingsley Ighobor

 22     World Cup: lessons from Russia
                                                                                                                Staff Writers
 24     Strengthening bonds in the Sahel                                                                        Franck Kuwonu
 26     Interview: Ibrahim Thiaw, special adviser for the Sahel                                                 Sharon Birch-Jeffrey

 28     Confronting sexual violence in schools
                                                                                                                Research & Media Liaison
 29     UN calls on countries to stand against genocide                                                         Pavithra Rao
 30     What future for commercial nuclear power in Africa?
                                                                                                                Design & Production
 32     Gender: women tech entrepreneurs break barriers
                                                                                                                Paddy D. Ilos, II

DEPARTMENTS                                                                                                     Administration
                                                                                                                Pavithra Rao
 35 UN Appointments
                                                                                                                Distribution
                                                                                                                Khalid Halloumi
Cover photo: Graphic depicting trade in Africa.

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2     AfricaRenewal       August - November 2018
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
Following the unveiling of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda,
in March 2018, Africa is about to become the world’s largest free trade area: 55 countries
merging into a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion. In
this edition, we examine the benefits and challenges of a free trade area for countries and
individual traders.

  FREE TRADE AREA

Africa set for a massive free trade area
Experts say the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a game changer
BY KINGSLEY IGHOBOR

T
         he shelves of Choithrams Super-      countries in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018,     (From left) African Union chairperson and
         market in Freetown, Sierra Leone,    is meant to create a tariff-free continent      president of Rwanda Paul Kagame, president of
         boast a plethora of imported prod-   that can grow local businesses, boost intra-    Niger Mahamadou Issoufou and African Union
         ucts, including toothpicks from      African trade, rev up industrialization and     Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat
China, toilet paper and milk from Holland,    create jobs.                                    at the launch of AfCFTA in Kigali in March 2018.
sugar from France, chocolates from Swit-          The agreement creates a single conti-           Office of President Paul Kagame
zerland and matchboxes from Sweden.           nental market for goods and services as well
    Yet many of these products are pro-       as a customs union with free movement of
duced much closer—in Ghana, Morocco,          capital and business travellers. Countries           The ECA adds that intra-African trade
Nigeria, South Africa, and other African      joining AfCFTA must commit to removing          is likely to increase by 52.3% by 2020 under
countries with an industrial base.            tariffs on at least 90% of the goods they       the AfCFTA.
    So why do retailers source them half-     produce.                                             Five more countries signed the AfCFTA
way around the world? The answer: a patch-        If all 55 African countries join a free     at the African Union (AU) summit in Mau-
work of trade regulations and tariffs that    trade area, it will be the world’s largest by   ritania in June, bringing the total number
make intra-African commerce costly, time      number of countries, covering more than         of countries committing to the agreement
wasting and cumbersome.                       1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of        to 49 by July’s end. But a free trade area has
    The African Continental Free Trade        $2.5 trillion, according to the UN Economic     to wait until at least 22 countries submit
Agreement (AfCFTA), signed by 44 African      Commission for Africa (ECA).                    instruments of ratification. By July 2018,

                                                                                              AfricaRenewal      August - November 2018      3
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
only six countries—Chad, Eswatini (for-        Renewal, emphasizing that the youth will            cooking utensils, food items—from China
merly Swaziland), Ghana, Kenya, Niger          mostly benefit from such job creation.              or somewhere in Europe than from South
and Rwanda—had submitted ratification              In addition, African women, who                 Africa, Nigeria or Morocco,” Mr. Paelay
instruments, although many more coun-          account for 70% of informal cross-border            added.
tries are expected to do so before the end     trading, will benefit from simplified trad-             African leaders and other development
of the year.                                   ing regimes and reduced import duties,              experts received a piece of good news at the
    Economists believe that tariff-free        which will provide much-needed help to              AU summit in Mauritania in June when
access to a huge and unified market will       small-scale traders.                                South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised
encourage manufacturers and service                If the agreement is successfully imple-         economy, along with four other countries,
providers to leverage economies of scale;      mented, a free trade area could inch Africa         became the latest to sign the AfCFTA.
an increase in demand will instigate an        toward its age-long economic integration                Nigeria, Africa’s most populous coun-
increase in production, which in turn will     ambition, possibly leading to the establish-        try and another huge economy, has been
lower unit costs. Consumers will pay less      ment of pan-African institutions such as            one of the holdouts, with the government
for products and services as businesses        the African Economic Community, African             saying it needs to have further consulta-
expand operations and hire additional          Monetary Union, African Customs Union               tions with indigenous manufacturers and
employees.                                     and so on.                                          trade unions. Nigerian unions have warned
    “We look to gain more industrial and                                                           that free trade may open a floodgate for
value-added jobs in Africa because of intra-   A piece of good news                                cheap imported goods that could atrophy
African trade,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, sec-      Many traders and service providers are              Nigeria’s nascent industrial base.
retary-general of the UN Conference on         cautiously optimistic about AfCFTA’s                    The Nigeria Labour Congress, an
Trade and Development, a body that deals       potential benefits. “I am dreaming of the           umbrella workers’ union, described
with trade, investment and development,        day I can travel across borders, from Accra         AfCFTA as a “radioactive neoliberal policy
in an interview with Africa Renewal (see       to Lomé [in Togo] or Abidjan [in Côte               initiative” that could lead to “unbridled
page 6).                                       d’Ivoire] and buy locally manufactured              foreign interference never before wit-
    “The types of exports that would gain      goods and bring them into Accra with-               nessed in the history of the country.”
most are those that are labour intensive,      out all the hassles at the borders,” Iso                However, former Nigerian president
like manufacturing and agro-processing,        Paelay, who manages The Place Entertain-            Olusegun Obasanjo expressed the view
rather than the capital-intensive fuels and    ment Complex in Community 18 in Accra,              that the agreement is “where our [eco-
minerals, which Africa tends to export,”       Ghana, told Africa Renewal.                         nomic] salvation lies.”
concurred Vera Songwe, executive secre             “Right now, I find it easier to import the          At a July symposium in Lagos organ-
tary of the ECA, in an interview with Africa   materials we use in our business—toiletries,        ised in honour of the late Adebayo Adedeji,
                                                                                                   a onetime executive secretary of the ECA,
                                                                                                   Yakubu Gowon, another former Nigerian
    Mapping intra-Africa trade flows                                                               leader, also weighed in, saying, “I hope
                                                                                                   Nigeria joins.”
                                                                                                       Speaking at the same event, Ms. Songwe
             Origin                                                       Destination              urged Nigeria to get on board after con-
                                                                                                   sultations, and offered her organisation’s
     Central Africa                                                       Central Africa           support.
     Eastern Africa                                                       Eastern Africa               Last April, Nigerian president Muham-
                                                                                                   madu Buhari signalled a protectionist
    Northern Africa                                                       Northern Africa          stance on trade matters while defending
                                                                                                   his country’s refusal to sign the Economic
    Western Africa                                                        Western Africa           Community of West African States-EU
                                                                                                   Economic Partnership Agreement. He said
                                                                                                   then, “Our industries cannot compete with
    Southern Africa                                                       Southern Africa          the more efficient and highly technologi-
                                                                                                   cally driven industries in Europe.”
                                                                                                       In some countries, including Nigeria
                                                                                                   and South Africa, the government would
                                                                                                   like to have control over industrial policy,
                                                                                                   reports the Economist, a UK-based pub-
                                                                                                   lication, adding, “They also worry about
                                                                                                   losing tariff revenues, because they find
                                                                                                   other taxes hard to collect.”
                                                                                                       While experts believe that Africa’s big
                                                                Source: World Trade Organization
                                                                                                   and industrialising economies will reap

4     AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
AfCFTA Countries
                                                                                                              (by mid-July 2018)

                                                                                                    Countries that have ratified

                                                                                                    • Rwanda
                                                                                                    • Ghana
                                                                                                    • Kenya
                                                                                                    • Chad
                                                                                                    • Niger
                                                                                                    • Eswatini (formerly
                                                                                                      Swaziland)

                                                                                                    AU Member States that have
                                                                                                    signed the agreement

                                                                                                    • Angola
                                                                                                    • Algeria
                                                                                                    • Benin
                                                                                                    • Burkina Faso
                                                                                                    • Burundi
                                                                                                    • Cameroon
                                                                                                    • Cape Verde
                                                                                                    • Central Africa
                                                                                                      Republic             • Mauritius
the most from a free trade area, the ECA       Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta (top) and
                                                                                                    • Chad                 • Mauritania
counters that smaller countries also have      Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo signing
                                                                                                    • Comoros              • Mozambique
a lot to gain because factories in the big     the AfCFTA.      Office of President Paul Kagame
                                                                                                    • Congo                • Morocco
countries will source inputs from smaller
                                                                                                    • Cote d’Ivoire        • Namibia
countries to add value to products.
                                                                                                    • Democratic           • Niger
    The AfCFTA has also been designed          ambitious list of regional projects. Its 20
                                                                                                      Republic of Congo    • Rwanda
to address many countries’ multiple and        priority projects have been completed
                                                                                                    • Djibouti             • Saharawi
overlapping memberships in Regional            or are under construction, including the
                                                                                                    • Egypt                • Sao Tome and
Economic Communities (RECs), which             Algiers-Lagos trans-Saharan highway,
                                                                                                    • Ethiopia               Principe
complicate integration efforts. Kenya, for     the Lagos-Abidjan transport corridor, the
                                                                                                    • Equatorial Guinea    • Senegal
example, belongs to five RECs. The RECs        Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya power transmis-
                                                                                                    • Gambia               • Seychelles
will now help achieve the continental goal     sion line and the Brazzaville-Kinshasa
                                                                                                    • Gabon                • Sierra Leone
of a free trade area.                          bridge.
                                                                                                    • Ghana                • Somalia
    Many traders complain about RECs’             The AfCFTA could change Africa’s eco-
                                                                                                    • Guinea               • South Africa
inability to execute infrastructure projects   nomic fortunes, but concerns remain that
                                                                                                    • Kenya                • South Sudan
that would support trading across borders.     implementation could be the agreement’s
                                                                                                    • Lesotho              • Sudan
Ibrahim Mayaki, head of the New Partner-       weakest link.
                                                                                                    • Liberia              • Swaziland
ship for Africa’s Development (NEPAD),            Meanwhile African leaders and devel-
                                                                                                    • Libya                • Togo
the project-implementing wing of the AU,       opment experts see a free trade area as an
                                                                                                    • Madagascar           • Tunisia
says that many RECs do not have the            inevitable reality. “We need to summon
                                                                                                    • Malawi               • Uganda
capacity to implement big projects.            the required political will for the African
                                                                                                    • Mali                 • Zimbabwe
    For Mr. Mayaki, infrastructure devel-      Continental Free Trade Area to finally
opment is crucial to intra-African trade.      become a reality,” said AU Commission
NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastruc-              chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the
                                                                                                                             Source: African Union
ture Development in Africa (PIDA) is an        launch in Kigali.

                                                                                                  AfricaRenewal    August - November 2018            5
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
INTERVIEW

Africa has phenomenal potential
for intra-continental trade
— Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General

F   orty-nine of Africa’s 55 countries have signed the framework for the African Continental Free Trade
    Agreement (AfCFTA) to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free and
unfettered movement of businesspeople and investments. When at least 22 countries ratify it, the
AfCFTA will officially come into force, potentially making the continent the largest trading bloc in the
world. Africa Renewal’s Zipporah Musau spoke with Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the secretary-general of the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), on what countries stand to gain
and what challenges to expect. Excerpts:

    FREE TRADE AREA

Africa Renewal: What do you say about Africa’s push        industrial and value-added jobs in
for a free trade area at a time when some countries in     Africa because of intra-African trade.
the West are becoming increasingly protectionist?          Secondly, it will build competitiveness,
Dr. Kituyi: For Africa, a clear determination to           which you can then unleash onto the
expand trade among ourselves is an important step.         rest of the world. Thirdly, we will be
Uncertainties in international trade increase the          removing domestic market distortions,
premium on regional intra-African trade. Secondly,         which have been adding a burden to
what we have learned from the rest of the world is         domestic consumers because of too much
that even if there is populist protectionism, it is a      protectionism.
short-term phase that we’ll ride out. But for Africa
to learn from the experience of East Asia and Latin        Will the AfCFTA influence UNCTAD’s approach
America even as we wait for protectionism to end,          in its operations in Africa? Will you, for exam-
we must build productive trading capacities through        ple, deal with the continent as a single entity as
regional value chains. Africa trading among its            opposed to individual countries?
component states strengthens its ability to trade.         At a personal level, I was involved in designing the
The experiences gained from that will deliver a            architecture for AfCFTA, so I’ve been working with
greater market share internationally. Africa needs         this from day one. As an organization, UNCTAD has
to build the capacity and structural transformation        not only encouraged the AU to create a free trade
necessary to be a competitive international player.        area, but we have also been training negotiators for
The creation of a continent with a free trade area         the regions and the countries. For example, we have
is therefore an important step towards building,           been training the regional technical officers from
collectively, the competitiveness of African labour        ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African
and African products internally and internationally.       States] and SADC [Southern African Development
                                                           Community] on service negotiations. What are the
What are the three most immediate gains for an Afri-       offers? What are the implications? What can you
can country in a free trade area?                          do? What should you not do? What are the remedial
All studies show that what Africa sells within Africa      actions in case of a flood on certain services? This
has more value added than what Africa sells to the         technical support to national negotiators has
rest of the world, which is mostly raw materials. That     been a role we played before the AfCFTA, and we
means intra-African trade creates more employ-             are intensifying it now as we prepare for the next
ment in the source country than Africa trading             phase, which is more attention to trade in services
with the rest of the world. We look to gain more           beyond goods, for building a continental common

6     AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
marketplace for electronic commerce. So we are working with            Cultivating goodwill requires that nontariff barriers are rolled
AU member states and organs to build capacity and translate            back and trade is increased between African countries.
the promise of the AfCFTA into actual economic gains.                  Doesn’t this affect women traders more?
Tariffs alone are not the biggest impediment to intra-Africa trade. Last month I released a just-completed study in Nairobi on
 Poor infrastructure and the low level of manufacturing in some gender and trade in East Africa. It is true women have more
    countries mean they don’t produce a significant amount of than the usual challenges of cross-border trade. Sometimes they
      finished goods to export. What is your take?                     are victims of sexual abuse and harassment. Sometimes they
        Tariffs are not the only problem, that’s a mainstream          are victims of the typical problems of small traders, because
         truth. There is a lot standing in the way of realizing the    the architecture of East Africa integration defines a 40-foot
          potential of intra-African trade. But the claim that we      container being transported from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi as
          are producing similar goods is not true. Even neighbou-      regional trade, but a 20-kilo sack of maize is seen as “smuggled
           ring villages trade with each other. I come from a          goods.” Because the framers were catering to the interests of big
            place near the border between Kenya and Uganda             business in the cities, they did not pay attention to the right of
             and I know from my early days that we traded with         border communities and small-scale traders to cross the border.
              our neighbours. Africa trades quite a lot across         The inordinate trouble that women traders go through is basi-
               borders. For example, there’s a large market in West cally because they are not a politically strong constituency that
                Africa for East African tea and coffee. There’s        gets responses from the policymakers about regional trade. One
                a large market in East Africa for plantains and        of the things we have been pushing for is facilitating simplified
                specialized nostalgia products out of West Africa.     procedures for cross-border trade and destigmatizing small-
                There’s a large market for the creative industry, for scale trade. These represent a major inhibition to the potential
                example, Nigerian movies and music, in the rest of     of regional trade and integration in Africa.
               Africa. Africans have a phenomenal potential for
              intra-continental trade. Similarly,
             trade is not static. There is no law
            that says that a country like Tanzania,              One of the main challenges to intra-African trade
           for example, must only trade in a
          certain set of products. Countries will
                                                                 is the nontariff barriers. When there is a deficit of
          always build capacities and opportu-                   political goodwill, excuses are made to slow down
         nities, and innovators will bring in new                trade.
        products that you add into the market-
    place. So diversification is taken in stride as
     trade deepens economic interaction.
                                                                       What should be done?
      What about infrastructure challenges?                            Agreements have always been there, but there has not been
      True, we have a colonial extractive infrastructure,              sufficient mobilization of political goodwill to protect the inte-
      where you find a railway line is from Kasese in Uganda           rests of small-scale traders, specifically artisanal traders and
      to the Indian Ocean port to transport copper for export.         women traders, in cross-border trade. It is not that they are
      Integrative infrastructure is a critical consideration for       breaking any law, but they are frustrated by officials behaving
    intra-African trade, and I’m glad something is being done          arbitrarily and acting with impunity.
    about that. Currently we have the Cape Town to Cairo road,
   which has been tarmacked up to Addis Ababa. There are               Trade agreements can take years for the impact to be felt. When,
   other initiatives, like the Northern Corridor, and the Chinese realistically, can all countries be expected to be on board and
   are encouraging investments to build the road from Kampala begin to implement the AfCFTA?
  to the Atlantic Ocean. I see the importance of the railway line If there is sufficient political goodwill, it can be done overnight.
  from Dar es Salaam to Rwanda, and others. So the integrative There is no reason why we would repeat the mistakes that have
  infrastructure already being built today is going to be ready        been done in other countries. We have to learn these processes
  for the test of infrastructure challenges tomorrow.                  within existing regional integration mechanisms and then scale
                                                                       them up. Scale up best practices.
  What then are the main challenges to intra-Africa trade?
  One of the main challenges to intra-African trade is the             Are there any benchmarks to assess progress?
  nontariff barriers. When there is a deficit of political             We must ask, what are the areas of improvement? What are
  goodwill, excuses are made to slow down trade. Many times,           the issues being talked about on policy and operations? For
  traders will reach the border and be told, “This product             example, I hope there will be more gender studies on integra-
  looks too old to be sold to us” or “The quality doesn’t seem         tion and trade which can unlock the potential of women traders.
  to be right,” or “We cannot ascertain that this was made in          Most small-scale traders in Africa are women, yet the structure
  your country.” The absence of goodwill leads to the use of           of regional trade caters more to men than women. So we are
  too many nontariff measures as excuses to slow down trade.           holding back one of our most important facilitators.

                                                                                            AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018     7
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
FREE TRADE AREA

One-stop border post will boost trading
Southern African trader is cautiously optimistic about a free trade area
BY TONDERAYI MUKEREDZI

A
             s the marketing executive of       times as long as three weeks, and this affects Customers shopping for groceries in a supermar-
             Dairibord Zimbabwe, a stock        export competitiveness,” she told Africa ket in Cape Town, South Africa.               Panos / N. Rixon
             exchange–listed exporter of        Renewal.
             food and beverages in South-           Countries have their own individual
ern Africa, Tracy Mutaviri is looking for-      standards, and exporters must meet each                The World Trade Organisation (WTO)
ward to a bigger market share for her goods     one, she says.                                     says that a one-stop border post would inte-
when the African Continental Free Trade             The African Union and the Economic grate different border agencies into one that
Area (CFTA) becomes operational.                Commission for Africa, two key                            would, among other benefits, reduce
    The economies of scale of serving a         players in the AfCFTA push, con-                             transit times for traders and trans-
larger market will mean her company             tinue to assert that mechanisms                                porters. It will lead to an effective
can trade its beverages and food products       will be in place to address these                               use of available resources and
beyond its current markets: Botswana,           tariff and nontariff barriers.                                  assets at a lower cost, as well
Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and                Still, Ms. Mutaviri adds                                    as improved competitiveness
Zambia. The company may even begin to           that      cumbersome                                           of goods due to reduced pro-
look at countries in West and East Africa.      border documenta-                                                        cessing times—which,
    Ms. Mutaviri is excited about the oppor-    tion requirements                                                           the WTO assumes,
tunities that a big market presents, particu-   and administrative                       Tracy Mutaviri,                     will translate into
larly the benefits of standardized proce-       and bureaucratic            Marketing Executive of Dairibord Zimbabwe        reduced costs.
dures for export. She is currently concerned    delays at ports of                                                            Particularly
about tariff and nontariff challenges to her    entry can mean                                                            cumbersome is the
business.                                       delays of seven days or more. To expedite            process of getting the necessary sanitary
    “We have mostly been affected by non-       clearance, she suggests a one-stop border            and phytosanitary documents. Sanitary
tariff barriers such as obtaining the neces-    post to harmonise the export documenta-              and phytosanitary measures are plant- and
sary licences or permits for trading our        tion process and expedite administrative
goods. The process takes a long time, at        processes.                                                                              see page 34

8     AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
Infrastructure key to intra-African trade
West African traders demand investments in roads, rails and telecom
BY EFAM AWO DOVI

K
            en Ukaoha knows something
            about infrastructure and intra-
            Africa trade. He is the founder
            and chief executive officer of
Kenaux International Concept, a shoe and
garment manufacturing company based in
Aba, southeast Nigeria. Kenaux’s products
sell in Nigeria and other African countries,
including Ghana, South Africa and parts of
Central Africa.

Infrastructure challenges
The poor state of infrastructure is the bane
of Africans doing business within Africa,
says Mr. Ukaoha, who is also the presi-
dent of the Association of Nigerian Trad-
ers. Despite decades of common market
agreements within the Economic Com-
munity of West African States (ECOWAS),           FREE TRADE AREA
poor transportation continues to impede
market access.
    “We do not have railway to move mer-        production. “All these make us uncom-          Tomato trader, Margaret Lartey, in a market in
chandise from one country to the other.         petitive,” Mr. Ukaoha admits.                  Ghana.      Efam Awo Dovi
Sea-freighting goods is also a problem—the          Speaking recently on the African Con-
sea links are not there,” Mr. Ukaoha told       tinental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA),
Africa Renewal, underscoring the need for       Senegalese finance minister Amadou Ba              “Construction of road networks, tel-
domestic shipping lines that can transport      affirmed the prospect of meaningful gains      ecom and rail will dramatically open and
goods across countries.                         from the newly signed treaty.                  expand markets and grow business,” notes
    Mr. Ukaoha, who is also an expert in            “Our countries are individually and col-   Mr. Ukaoha optimistically. “If we have a
international trade law and globalisation,      lectively committed,” Mr. Ba declared, but     cost-efficient and easy way of moving goods
explained the difficulties in transporting      he added a cautionary note that African        from Ghana to Nigeria and other parts of the
goods among ECOWAS countries: “When             policy makers must prioritize investments      [West African] region, that will be a market
I import raw materials like leather from        in regional infrastructure that catalyse       of more than 350 million people.”
Hamburg in Germany to Lagos in Nigeria, I       integration and facilitate intracontinental
pay 850 euros [$986] for a 40-foot container.   trade.                                         Weakness in financial system
But the same container transporting our             “In Ghana, Margaret Lartey, an Accra-      Some business leaders, however, fear the
products from Lagos to Tema Port in Ghana       based tomato trader, has firsthand experi-     border-free agreement could harm local
costs 1,350 euros [$1566].”                     ence moving goods by road among different      industries.
    Road transportation, he adds, also pre-     countries. She buys tomatoes from Burkina          Trade liberalization, Mr. Ukaoha points
sents challenges. “We don’t have good roads,    Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and different regions      out, could be a “killer” because a flood of
and in the mix of that, you experience a lot    in Ghana to sell in Accra and is appalled      imports, even from other African countries,
of hiccups along the route,” including police   by multiple police checkpoints on the road     may dislodge the local industry. “Unre-
and customs checkpoints, where bribery is       and extortion at the borders by police and     stricted imports do not allow local produc-
common.                                         customs officers.                              ers to grow.”
    Even within countries, the state of             In addition, transportation costs keep         Ultimately, Mr. Ukaoha is scepti-
infrastructure is so bad that business          rising due to fluctuating fuel prices. “We     cal about AfCFTA. “We have ECOWAS,
owners sometimes construct the roads            used to transport a truck of tomatoes from     the Southern African Customs Union,
leading to their factories, dig water bore-     Burkina Faso to Ghana for $738, but this
holes or buy electricity generators for         has gone up to $843,” Ms. Lartey grumbles.”                                      see page 34

                                                                                               AfricaRenewal    August - November 2018          9
A NEW DAWN FOR AFRICA - FREE TRADE AREA - Youth: 'Not Too Young To Run' campaign gains momentum - the United Nations
Trading while caring
for people and planet
Compliance standards can protect ecosystems
BY RICHARD MUNANG & ROBERT MGENDI

R
           atifications are moving ahead,       risking their lives crossing a dangerous
           if slowly, on the newly signed       Mediterranean Sea in search of better
           African Continental Free Trade       opportunities overseas. Many have died
           Agreement        (AfCFTA)—the        on the way, some are detained, and recent
world’s largest free trade agreement (with      reports claim others are sold in modern-
the most member countries) since the            day slave markets.
founding of the World Trade Organization.           Still, the huge and obvious problem
    The African Union and its member            is climate change, which is projected to
countries hope that, among other benefits,      shrink average income in the poorest 40%
a free trade area will improve Africa’s         of countries (most of them in Africa)by
economy.                                        a whopping 75% by 2030, according to a
    For the 49 African leaders who have         2015 study by the University of California,
signed AfCFTA’s framework agreement             Beckley, USA.
(by end of July), a free trade area offers          The study focused on the relationship
hope for improving socioeconomic condi-         between temperature and economic activi-
tions on the continent. Africa’s current        ties in countries, and found that climate
economic indicators are not exactly stel-       change will exacerbate global inequality,
lar—low economic productivity, estimated        which will be harmful to particularly poor
to be 2000% lower than that of devel-           countries.
oped regions, is compounded by a lack of
value addition to commodities in which          Africa’s “machete”                               FREE TRADE AREA
the region holds a comparative advantage.       “The path does not close for a man with a
    For example, because of low value           machete,” says an African proverb, sug-
addition, Africa earns a mere 10% of the        gesting the AfCFTA could be the machete         industrialization, particularly in the agri-
total value of its agro-value chains. In the    that catalyzes Africa’s economy. If all 55      cultural sector. An industrialized agricul-
cocoa value chain (Africa produces 70%          countries join, the free trade area will con-   tural sector could become Africa’s stra-
of the world’s cocoa), only a dismal $2 bil-    solidate a market of 1.2 billion people with    tegic growth engine and a tool to rapidly
lion out of the more than $100 billion in       a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion, accord-        expand its middle class, currently esti-
chocolate revenues annually returns to          ing to ECA. The US business publication         mated at 300 million.
the continent.                                  Bloomberg estimates the combined GDP                Africa could rake in $150 billion annu-
    Similarly, up to 90% of income from         at over $3 trillion.                            ally of value-added agro-produce, expand
coffee goes to rich consuming countries,            A free trade area could boost intra-        its economy, create thousands of jobs for
according to the Economic Commission            Africa trade to 52%. That percentage could      the youth, mitigate carbon emissions and
for Africa (ECA). And the domino effect of      rise to 70% by 2022, a figure higher than       enhance its ecosystems’ resilience to cli-
job loss worsens the situation.                 trade within the European Union, cur-           mate change, states the New Partnership
    Low productivity exacerbates unem-          rently at 65%.                                  for Africa’s Development, the implement-
ployment. About 12 million African youths           The AfCFTA also includes a protocol         ing arm of the African Union.
join the labour market every year to com-       for the free movement of people that will           Overall consumer spending amounted
pete for just three million new jobs. A huge    consolidate labour opportunities across         to $1.4 trillion in 2015, according to McK-
population of jobless youth is a ticking        the continent and put a brake on brain          insey & Company, a global management
time bomb, warns Alexander Chikwanda,           drain. Currently about 33% of Africa’s          consulting firm, and business-to-business
Zambia’s former finance minister, alluding      skilled workforce is seeking greener pas-       spending, including in agriculture and its
to its potential to fuel unrest and political   tures overseas.                                 ancillary sectors, would be $3.5 trillion
violence.                                           At a glance, AfCFTA looks likely to         by 2025.
    With few prospects for economic             create unprecedented demand that                    In a 2013 World Bank report titled
security, many young Africans have been         will drive local manufacturing and              Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential

10 AfricaRenewal      August - November 2018
for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA)
                                                                                                 policy implementation framework, estab-
                                                                                                 lished and adopted by AMCEN, is pro-
                                                                                                 viding technical assistance to countries
                                                                                                 adopting its compliance standards.
                                                                                                     The EBAFOSA compliance standards
                                                                                                 are adapted from the International Organ-
                                                                                                 ization for Standardization, a body that
                                                                                                 promotes worldwide proprietary, indus-
                                                                                                 trial and commercial standards to ensure
                                                                                                 that certified products are exported to
                                                                                                 other countries.

                                                                                                 Evaluation criteria
                                                                                                 Under EBFOSA’s compliance standards,
                                                                                                 experts evaluate agro-products along the
                                                                                                 entire supply chain—from on-farm produc-
                                                                                                 tion, processing and distribution to mar-
                                                                                                 keting—based on three criteria. The first is
                                                                                                 “climate and environment compliance,” a
                                                                                                 measure of the extent to which production
                                                                                                 relies on nature-based approaches that
                                                                                                 enhance ecosystems. The goal is to protect
                                                                                                 and enhance ecosystems.
                                                                                                     “Climate and environment compli-
                                                                                                 ance” also involves powering processing
                                                                                                 with clean energy and using ICT-enabled
                                                                                                 marketing and supply chain activities to
                                                                                                 reduce high carbon emissions.
                                                                                                     The second criterion is “health compli-
                                                                                                 ance,” meaning nature-based approaches
                                                                                                 are used in production.
                                                                                                     The third criterion is “quality and
                                                                                                 safety compliance” along the production
of Agribusiness, the bank projects Africa’s   Textile workers at a factory in Kampala, Uganda.   process and value chain.
agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion          Alamy Stock Photo / Jonathan Rosenthal              Several African countries, including
by 2030 if it expands Africans’ access to                                                        Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic
capital, electricity, better technology and                                                      of the Congo, the Gambia, Ghana, Uganda
irrigated land to grow high-value nutri-      for example, that attiéké, processed cassava       and Zambia, are at various stages of adopt-
tious foods.                                  from Côte d’Ivoire, is marketed to Kenyan          ing the EBAFOSA compliance standards,
    But how do CFTA and its market oppor-     shoppers as pure, natural and grown with-          which will be a step toward creating an
tunities ensure food-secure homes and         out GMOs, chemicals or pesticides. A com-          open market for healthy, high-quality and
increase economic productivity, wealth and    pliance standard could also ensure that            environmentally friendly agro-produce
the income of the ordinary citizen? How       ecosystems are not damaged during pro-             across the continent.
does it address climate vulnerabilities?      duction and that processing and marketing              As Africa moves toward full ratifica-
                                              create no harmful emissions.                       tion of AfCFTA, the EBAFOSA-promoted
Compliance standards                              At the 16th African Ministerial Con-           compliance standards represent a key item
To achieve AfCFTA’s goal of opening           ference on the Environment (AMCEN) in              in the agreement’s implementation toolbox.
market opportunities, Africa needs to         Libreville, Gabon, in June 2017, African           Socioeconomic transformation need not
adopt compliance standards, experts say.      ministers and policy makers called for             come at the expense of people or planet.
Africa’s disproportionate vulnerability       increased investment in innovative envi-
to climate change underscores the need        ronmental solutions and urged countries            Dr. Richard Munang is UN Environment’s
to ensure that the process of producing,      to adopt compliance standards on eco-              Africa regional climate change programme
marketing and supplying products meets        nomic activities in environmental, energy          coordinator and Mr. Robert Mgendi is UN
certain standards and that it does not        and health sectors.                                Environment’s adaptation policy expert.
damage the ecosystems.                            In response, the UN Environment,               These are the authors’ views, not those of
    A compliance standard could ensure,       through its Ecosystems Based Adaptation            their institution.

                                                                                                 AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018   11
TEXTILE TRADE

Africa-made luxury loungewear takes on
A 30-year-old sets up ‘Walls of Benin’ to export finished high quality garments from Africa t
BY RAY MWAREYA

F
         or centuries, unfinished materials       The brand name Walls of Benin refers        brand Fiorelli,” according to facetofacea-
         for clothing manufacture—silk,       to the world’s largest man-made structure,      frica.com, an online publication.
         cotton, hides—have been sold and     which was completed in the 15th century:            He is now setting up production opera-
         shipped from Africa to the fash-     a system of moats and ramparts designed         tions in a “special economic zone” out-
ion capitals of the West, such as London,     to defend the ancient Kingdom of Benin,         side the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya’s
Paris and New York. In return, a small        which is Benin City, the capital of present-    second-largest city.
number of ready-to-wear clothes, cheap        day Edo State, Nigeria.                             “Our concept is not about riding the
shoes and secondhand garments head back           Mr. Atanga calls himself “chief evange-     stereotype, Africa-to-Europe, textile/raw
to Africa—at vastly marked-up prices or as    list,” instead of chief executive officer, of   materials value chain, but a new paradigm,”
charity donations.                            Walls of Benin, and says that the compa-        he declares. “Can we take on the Goliath
    Now an ambitious startup called the       ny’s goal is “to spread soft power through      Victoria’s Secret on lingerie in Africa?” he
Walls of Benin, led by 30-year-old Chi        culture.”                                       asks, and answers with a firm “Yes!”
Atanga, a man of Cameroonian descent                                                              How will it work? “Our business model
born in Manchester, England, seeks to         Taking on the Goliath                           is simple: we take the spirit of African
break with history by building facto-         Mr. Atanga researched and designed the          print textiles and swap wax and heavy
ries in Africa that make sleepwear and        business plan for Walls of Benin. Buoyed by     cloth for more luxurious and ecological
loungewear—comfortable casual clothing        $100,000 seed money from the Portuguese         fabrics,” he says. Kente, Ghana’s famous
that is stylish and sophisticated, suita-     government and an apprenticeship with           silk-and-cotton blend, is an example of
ble for “all night raves, boats, trains and   the Erasmus European Entrepreneur Pro-          an African fabric, while silk and Tencel
jet planes,” according to the company’s       gramme, he was able to finance his dream.       are natural fibres with extra softness and
website. Finished items are sold to high-     “Using his gift for networking, Mr. Atanga      moisture-wicking properties. “We feel
end shops in Europe for their fashion-        secured an investment from the Lunan            fashion brands in top cities in Europe
hungry clientele.                             Group, the team behind the well-known           should manufacture some of their wares

12 AfricaRenewal     August - November 2018
building the value chain,” enthuses Mr.         jobs. Mr. Atanga predicts that with wages
                                                     Atanga. He believes that the loungewear         rising, many Chinese textile companies will
                                                     fashion industry in Africa, once ignored,       relocate to Africa.
                                                     has a bright future.                                “Monthly wages are rising to $200 per
                                                         Meanwhile, rapid changes are taking         employee in China, while it’s about $120 in
                                                     place on a continent that a top British         East Africa,” he says.
                                                     supermodel once chided for not having a             Mr. Atanga is pleased that some coun-
                                                     Vogue magazine. “Africa’s fashion indus-        tries in East Africa want to ban the import
                                                     try is right now super exciting! It is new,     of secondhand clothing. Rwanda already
                                                     at the same time it is centuries old. We are    has. Tanzania and Uganda were considering
                                                     talking about the 55 countries in Africa        the bad, while Kenya seemed poised to but
                                                     and huge diaspora populations with bil-         later backtracked on its decision. Angered
                                                     lions of dollars of spending power,” says       by the ban, the US is threatening to exclude
                                                     Mr. Atanga.                                     such countries from AGOA eligibility status.
                                                                                                     The ban on used clothing “is a master-
                                                     Exciting times ahead                            stroke,” insists Mr. Atanga.
                                                     The rise of the middleclass in Africa and           Also, relative political stability and the
                                                     partnerships with established foreign           ease of doing business in East Africa is
                                                     brands help boost the fashion industry          good for investors, according to the young
                                                     on the continent. In addition, the African      entrepreneur. “In some countries, one must
                                                     Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US         pay bribes to get the necessary business
                                                     law that seeks to expand trade and invest-      permits, and electricity supply is pitiful,”
     Walls of Benin loungewear.   Lara Jacinto       ments with sub-Saharan Africa, “gives           he says.
                                                     duty-free access to the US for selected             Other challenges abound in the textile
                                                     sub-Saharan African countries,” according       industry. “Although African textile has an

 big brands
                                                     to African Business, a leading publication      annual value of $4 billion, only 19% of it
                                                     on Africa. American companies are looking       is branded. We lack adequate finance to
                                                     to invest in Africa’s fashion industry.         patent and effectively secure our fabrics
                                                         Africans can tap into the $12 billion US    ecosystem. We also don’t want women and
to Europe                                            loungewear market through AGOA, which           children to spend 18 hours in factories while
                                                     was recently extended to 2025, maintains        missing out on school,” Mr. Atanga adds.
                                                     Mr. Atanga.                                         His mixed heritage is inspiring him to
                                                         His company helps to create jobs by         use Africa as a backdrop for his investments
                                                     working with eucalyptus farmers and other       in the loungewear industry. As a young child
     in Africa and create jobs, and not merely       suppliers who produce raw materials. Euca-      he sold bonbons shipped from Cameroon on
     export jeans, suits and other garments to       lyptus pulpwood is industrially spun to pro-    school playgrounds in Manchester. “I would
     Africa.”                                        duce fabrics that are breathable and cooling.   add my own ‘import tax,’ because they were
          His first trip to Africa as an adult was       Also, a dozen local smallholder Kenyan      made in Cameroon. They were a little more
     to Ghana in 2014, and it was an eye-opener.     cotton producers have received specialist       valuable, being imported from Africa,” he
     “Everything was bright, vibrant and alive.      textile training from Walls of Benin to spin    says, smiling.
     It amazed me to see African print textiles      and twist fibre into yarn, weave and knit the       “I knew that creating a brand that
     everywhere. It dawned on me that this was       yarn into fabric, and bleach, dye and print     covers African-made loungewear for sale
     a part of my heritage.                          the fabric to create fashionable sleepwear.     in Europe could be profitable. This drove
          Currently, Walls of Benin operates             Why begin operations in Kenya? Africa       me to Portugal to work with high-quality
     from Kenya and Rwanda and it is import-         Renewal asked Mr. Atanga.                       tradesmen, brands and garments, and to
     ing silk and Tencel from Portugal. In April         “We chose Kenya because, along with         East Africa.”
     2018, the company partnered with Wildlife       Ethiopia, citizens know the value of a home-        On the luxury price point for the pajama
     Works, a wildlife conservation group based      grown fashion industry. [These countries]       sets, he told facetofaceafrica, “We think at
     in Kenya, to launch an African produc-          have established training centres to edu-       £195 [$260] we are being fair. Silk is not
     tion. The hope is to export luxury loung-       cate indigenous entrepreneurs about diver-      cheap and we have taken a lot of time and
     ewear made of extra-soft silk and Tencel        sifying into luxury garments.”                  effort to create a luxury product but at the
     to Europe and elsewhere. The production             Fashion giants such as Sweden’s H&M         same time keep the retail price accessible.”
     is first of its kind on the continent.          also have their eyes on Africa’s fashion            For now, Mr. Atanga is focused on his
          Wildlife Works can manufacture             industry. With support from Swedfund, the       passion for making quality clothes in Africa
     a thousand loungewear items per week            Swedish government’s development financ-        and exporting them to Europe. “I want to
     using digital screen prints. “From the east     ing arm, H&M is establishing a textile fac-     create wealth in the fashion industry in an
     of Africa to the south of Europe, we are        tory in Ethiopia that will create about 4,000   ethical way,” he concludes.

                                                                                                     AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018     13
CHINA-AFRICA

China’s ‘Little Africa’ losing its allure
A downturn in a Chinese city once bustling with African traders and brokers
BY FRANCK KUWONU

I
     n a sweltering monsoon afternoon           advertising different products and services   Traders from Africa buying goods in Xiaobei,
     in Xiaobei, in Guangzhou, a city in        are plastered on nearly all surrounding       China.     Gwenn Dubourthoumieu
     southeast China, a group of young and      buildings.
     middle-aged African men take posi-             This is Xiaobei, also known as ‘Little
tions up and down a street lined by shops,      Africa’, in the central neighborhood of       companion try to negotiate fare with a taxi
alert to the passing of potential clients.      Guangzhou, China’s megacity, where the        driver. Sensing a lack of progress in the
Not far from them, in an adjacent street,       Oversea Trading Mall is the main attrac-      negotiations, due perhaps to a language
another group of Africans—three women           tion for thousands of sub-Saharan African     barrier, one of the African men gathered
and a man holding a child in his arms—          traders in search of good value merchan-      around the porch of a nearby shop steps in
huddle around bales of merchandise. As          dise. Guangzhou, nicknamed “Chocolate         to facilitate the transaction.
the sun slowly sets, the town square fills up   City” because of the large number of Afri-        “This is what we do,” Magloire, an
with people.                                    cans living there, is a megalopolis with a    immigrant from Côte d’Ivoire, told Africa
    “Welcome to Oversea Trading Mall,”          population of 13 million.                     Renewal. “We are helping our brothers and
reads a neon sign in front of a midrise             Having dragged their bales to the edge    sisters with their business needs.” He was
building overlooking the square. Posters        of the square, three women and their male     reluctant to give his full name.

14 AfricaRenewal      August - November 2018
Like Magloire, hundreds of Africans             Barry, a Guinean migrant who declined        Africa and China is reversing as Chinese
who live in Xiaobei and its neighborhood        to give his full name, is a part-time student,   entrepreneurs sense greater possibilities
in Guangzhou see themselves as “brokers.”       a part-time electronics dealer and a smart-      offshore and Africans feel the squeeze on
    As the capital city of Guangdong,           phone repairman, alludes to an overall           the mainland,” the paper remarked.
China’s richest province and arguably           feeling of slow business. Around him and         Local media in China once put the popu-
its economic powerhouse, Guangzhou is           across the mall, many shops are closed at        lation of Africans living in Guangzhou at
famous for numerous wholesale markets           midday, while those that are open see few        100,000. Then at the height of the Ebola
and its annual International Canton Trade       customers coming in.                             epidemic in 2014, local officials speculated,
Fair.                                               A trader who used to attend to scores        and the media report too, that up to half
    Inside Xiaobei’s subway stations, on its    of buyers and sellers from Africa cuts a         a million Africans lived in the city, stok-
streets and at the bougainvillea-adorned        lonely figure arranging her displays of          ing anxieties. But authorities were quick
pedestrian overpass along the main road,        wigs, weaves and hair extensions while           to debunk those figures, announcing the
Africans can be found speaking Arabic,          waiting for customers who now come in            official number to be about 20,000.
Bambara, French, Portuguese, Lingala,           trickles.                                            Chocolate City residents routinely
Malagasy, Yoruba or Igbo—a reminder                 Barry, Magloire and other Africans           lament what they perceive as the heavy-
of the cultural diversity of this migrant       here blame the plight of Little Africa on        handedness of the police in enforcing
community.                                      an economic slump in Angola, Nigeria and         immigration laws—another reason for the
    Until about three years ago, Xiaobei        Zambia, greater competition from Chinese         population decline in Chocolate City.
bustled with business activity. Wholesale       importers based in sub-Saharan African               “While a first-time entry visa is rela-
traders from sub-Saharan Africa regularly       countries, restrictive visa requirements         tively easy to get, renewing the visa once it
streamed in.                                    and police crackdowns on undocumented            expires is anything but, compelling many
    In the first nine months of 2014, for       workers.                                         in Little Africa to go underground. Those
example, 430,000 people from sub-Saha-              “Angolans don’t come anymore,”               who overstay their visas are subject to
ran Africa entered or left the city’s border    laments Amadou from Mali. More Ango-             heavy fines and detention if unable to pay.
posts, according to official Chinese data.      lans than other countries’ nationals used            Those who can enroll in school retain
    “Booming China-Africa ties attract          to come to Xiaobei to do business, he            a legal right to remain in the country.
Africans to pursue dreams in Guang-             explains. But the total number of sub-           “Some of the migrants enroll in school
zhou,” declared China Radio International       Saharan seasonal traders plummeted as            while doing odd jobs on the side,” Komlan
in 2015, summing up the growing move-           the Angolans sharply reduced their busi-         Semanu, a West African diplomat, told
ments of population and goods between the       ness trips because of economic recession         Africa Renewal.
southern metropolis and several countries       that led to a dip in demand for imported             Barry, the part-time electronics repair-
in Africa.                                      goods.                                           man who is also a part-time student, is one
    And just three years ago, local media                                                        example. “I’ll be going to class later in the
pointed out the economic success of some        Chinese in Africa                                afternoon,” he told Africa Renewal.
of the migrants. A quick survey of resi-        Amadou and Barry believe an appetite                 A growing number of Chinese entre-
dents of Little Africa showed that 2 out of     for cheaper goods is still there in African      preneurs export directly to local African
10 earned over 30,000 yuan (US$4,800 at         cities, but decelerating economic growth,        markets, cutting a big slice of the informal
the time) a month, more than the average        even if temporary, has recently tamed local      trade pie. And with authorities aggressively
monthly income of local Chinese workers.        demands. African traders no longer find it       enforcing immigration laws, Magloire and
The rest earn less, comparable to the earn-     cost-effective to travel all the way to China    other Africans ponder their futures in
ing of the average local Chinese worker.        to purchase goods.                               Little Africa.
    But fast-forward to 2016, and Little            The change of fortune in Little Africa           Some are willing to ride out the slump
Africa is losing its shine. “Commodity dip      is also due to a growing number of Chinese       and others will likely opt for greener pas-
hits China’s little Africa,” the Financial      entrepreneurs setting up shops in coun-          tures elsewhere. Many residents have set
Times reported in July of that year.            tries across Africa, the Hong Kong–based         their eyes on Yiwu, a town, two hours by
                                                South China Morning Post reported in May         train from Shanghai. Dubbed the world’s
Decreasing trade volume                         of this year. The Chinese traders based in       capital of small commodities, Yiwu seems
After reaching $215.91 billion in 2014, trade   Africa benefit from low import duties and        more hospitable than Guangzhou to many
volume between China and Africa declined        levies, which allow them to import from          because, at least, the town is spared of
to $127.97 billion in 2016. The trend would     mainland China and to offer cheap goods          constant police checks.
be reversed in 2017, with the total amount      to local markets.                                    In sum, an economic downturn in sub-
rising by 14.1% over the previous year. Yet         The South China Morning Post reported        Saharan Africa, an increasing number of
the level remains below the 2014 peak.          the number of Chinese living in Ghana to         Chinese traders moving into the continent,
    Little Africa’s Chinese and African res-    be between 20,000 and 30,000, several            tough enforcement of immigration laws
idents feel the pinch of the slump in trade,    thousand times the number residing there         in Guangzhou, among other factors, mean
which has depressed the flow of traders         in the mid-1990s. “In just a decade, the         that for Africans in China, Little Africa is
from the continent.                             flow of economic opportunity between             no longer the place to be.

                                                                                                 AfricaRenewal   August - November 2018    15
INTERVIEW

Good governance
is the solution to
Africa’s problems
— Prof. Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM

U     nder the auspices of the African Union, African leaders estab-
      lished the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in 2003
as an instrument for monitoring governance performance among
member states. A self-monitoring instrument, APRM aims to foster
the adoption of policies, standards and practices leading to political
stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accel-
erated regional and economic integration. Africa Renewal’s Zipporah
Musau sat down with Prof. Eddy Maloka, the CEO of the South
Africa–based APRM Secretariat, to understand how they conduct
their business. Here are excerpts:

Africa Renewal: What is APRM’s mandate and how does it                   The accession to the APRM is voluntary. Countries sign up at
operate?                                                                 different times for different reasons. Namibia recently joined,
Prof. Maloka: We are a specialized agency created by African             and several countries, such as the Comoros, have written
heads of state and governments to review each other as a                 to join. We work with the pace of countries because being a
way of strengthening governance. We are based in Midrand,                member of the APRM comes with a responsibility. You
South Africa. We send teams to member countries to compile               must be prepared to open your house for APRM to look at
comprehensive reports on governance. We focus on four areas:             how you are conducting business and give you suggestions
democracy and political governance, economic governance                  on how to improve. Ideally, all AU members should be
and management, corporate governance and socioeconomic                   in APRM.
development. But recently we were asked to also be a tracking
instrument of the AU [African Union] on the state of gover-              Do countries believe that peer review is in their best interest?
nance in Africa.                                                         We always tell countries that APRM is not about finding faults,
                                                                         but that it is a platform to share best practices. For example,
How many countries have signed up?                                       Uganda is one of the best models in the managing and integra-
We started in 2003 with just six members. Today we have 37               tion of refugees. So our report would capture that, although we
members, the latest being The Gambia. We have reviewed                   also highlight the challenges. After our review, some countries
20 countries so far, including Chad, Ghana, Kenya, Mali,                 may realize that they need to create new ministries, or they
Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and others. We                may say, “We don’t have enough women in parliament” or “We
have reviewed Kenya twice, and we have just completed the                are not doing enough to fight corruption.” So they take the
second review of Uganda. We have national offices in several             necessary measures—institutional and sometimes legislative
member countries. We encourage new members to create a                   measures—to ensure that the issues raised in our report are
national APRM office to follow up on our work.                           used to strengthen governance in their countries.

While you have achieved some success, some countries are reluc-          Do countries have the technical and financial capacity to imple-
tant to join APRM. Why?                                                  ment your recommendations?

16 AfricaRenewal      August - November 2018
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