September 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González




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Friday, 30 September 2016

Palm trees and coconuts are synonymous with the Caribbean. But despite the world’s familiarity with coconuts being found here, there’s a threat on the horizon to this emblematic plant. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently reported that the Caribbean is running out of them. Across the Caribbean, the total number of coconut plantations has shrunk by about 17 per cent since 1994, according to the FAO. This isn’t great timing at all as demand for this unique fruit, nut and seed has skyrocketed across the globe.

The East African Community wants to remove all non-tariff trade barriers in an effort to cut down on transportation time and reduce the cost of moving products and services between the six member countries — Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. Non-tariff barriers include road blocks along highways meant to check issues unrelated to paying taxes or custom duties. These include checking the weight of goods on trucks and trailers, identifying the type of goods being transported, and checking for identification of traders. They also include traffic police checking the condition of vehicles.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States government's development finance institution, has announced plans to open its first- East Africa office in Nairobi. The corporation has appointed Suresh Samuel as Managing Director of the Kenya office. This is the third office OPIC has opened in Africa aimed at increasing OPIC's regional presence. The announcement was made during the ongoing U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF). OPIC says East Africa is a fast growing region and need for investment in power, infrastructure, water, agriculture, and other development sectors is growing.

In an effort to connect and promote regular dialogue between South African individuals and entities with an interest in doing business within the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) trade bloc, the South African chapter of the BRICS Business Council today launched the SA BRICS Business Council Portal. Following the BRICS Business Council’s agenda of encouraging dialogue to drive greater economic trade and investment, the portal presents a solution to address some of the challenges of doing business with BRICS nations.

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Fiji plans to boost its cooperation with China by promoting Fijian agricultural products including fisheries and tropical agriculture products, the Pacific island country's Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu said Monday. The developments followed the Fiji-China 4th Joint Working Committee meeting held in Suva on Monday, where the two countries discussed areas of trade and cooperation, including training for rice, ginger and mushroom farming and capacity building for Fijian agricultural officials. Zhang Taolin, China's vice minister of agriculture, said China is willing to provide training and assistance in the areas of livestock, value addition and food technology.

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