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EDITO
Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regional trade facilitator TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to improve cross border trade and enhance trade links between the country and East Africa Community (EAC) member states. The government of the Netherlands has committed $6.7 million to kick-start the projects. TMEA will invest in projects involving already available resources such as water transport, simplifying trade processes through training and facilitating adoption of ICT around Eastern DRC. They will comprise dredging and rehabilitation of Kalundu Port on Lake Tanganyika; capacity building and implementation of Integrated Border Management Systems on the border crossings in Rusizi between Rwanda and Bukavu; rehalibitation of the Ports of Kasenyi on the DRC side and Ntoroko in Uganda; as well as infrastructure work at the border crossing at Goli, Uganda and Mahagi, DRC.

A United Nations think-tank has warned the East African Community against entering into an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union arguing that it will neither spur economic growth nor bring wealth to the region's citizens. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says in a report that if the EPA is signed, local industries will struggle to withstand competitive pressures from EU firms, while the region will be stuck in its position as a low value-added commodity exporter. "If the EAC-EU EPA is fully implemented, the region risks losing trading opportunities with other partners, industrial output, welfare and GDP," the 45-page report seen by The EastAfrican says.

The European Union has allocated €53 million (Shs202.9 billion) towards easing trade transaction in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (Comesa) bloc where Uganda is a member. The money is part of the 11th European Development Fund's €85 million (Shs325.5 billion) support for Comesa regional integration programmes. Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya at a recent regional meeting of member states held in Lusaka Zambia, to validate the identified projects, said: "The overarching goal of the trade facilitation programme is to make trade transactions easier, quicker, more efficient and less costly, thereby enhancing trade flows in the identified transport corridors." The funding expected to increase intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at specific border posts.

The EU currently has nine Outermost Regions (ORs), which are an integral part of its territory: the Canary Islands (Spain), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Ma rtinique, Saint Martin, Réunion and Mayotte (France). While t he rights and obligations of the EU Treati es apply fully to these regions, Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) recognises that the y have particular features which constrain their development, and allows the adoption of specific measures adapted to the situation of the ORs. Under the current common fisheries policy (CFP) , OR fishing fleets are subject to the same management measures as all EU fleets . A s the CFP sets maximum limits of total tonnage and engine power, the capacity of the OR fleets cannot increase (though Mayotte, which became an OR more recently, benefits from a derogation) OR fleets ' capacity limits are set for each fleet segment of each OR.

For the fourth consecutive year since 2013, East Africa remained the fastest growing sub-region in 2016 on the back of agricultural growth, an emergent manufacturing sector, improved public spending on infrastructure and resilient household consumption, among others. This is according to the 2017 Economic Report on Africa (ERA2017) recently launched in Dakar, Senegal. The report examines how to harness the opportunities from rapid urbanisation to speed industrialisation and accelerate structural transformation. It also identifies and analyses the drivers, enablers and policy levers for strengthening linkages between industrialisation and urbanisation.