Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Monday, 18 December 2017
Preparations for the second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis (16-18 November 2005) have entered a crucial phase. This summit should reach an international consensus on two key unresolved issues from the first phase: Internet governance and financial mechanisms for bridging the digital divide between developed and developing countries. The European Commission has now adopted a communication outlining the EU’s priorities for the Tunis meeting. To promote an Information Society for all, respectful of human rights and of freedom of expression and cultural and linguistic diversity, the EU wishes to preserve and strengthen the sound foundations laid during the first summit in Geneva.
EU principles for second WSIS phase

To achieve results in the areas discussed in the WSIS first phase, it is important not to re-open the debate on questions that have been settled, but to focus on implementing agreed principles. The EU would like to build on progress made in emerging economies by backing wider access to the Internet with comprehensive strategies for developing the Information Society, including the development of creative content and applications.
With respect to financial mechanisms to bridge the digital divide in developing countries, the EU welcomes the voluntary Digital Solidarity Fund created in Geneva in March 2005. However, the EU believes that a more holistic approach is required to mobilise human, financial and technological resources for a better integration of ICTs into development policies.
As regards Internet governance, the question of internationalising the management of the Internet’s core resources, namely, the domain name system, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and the root server system, is currently being discussed. The EU believes that a new cooperation model is needed to give effect to WSIS wording on the crucial role of stakeholders within Internet governance, including governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations.
To ensure the proper implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and the political follow-up of the WSIS, the EU should insist that this mechanism be simple and efficient, making full use of existing UN organisations and government agencies, and ensuring full participation of the civil society and the private sector.
8 June will see the launch of a Europe-wide initiative “Researchers in Europe 2005”. The campaign aims to promote better awareness of the exciting multi-faceted lives and careers of researchers – ordinary people with a passion for science, without whom our society’s progress would not be possible. A wide range of activities will take place between June and November 2005, all designed to improve public understanding of the key role played by researchers in our society, and to attract young people to careers in science. Events include open-door days, exhibitions and theatre productions, with the highlight being “European Researchers Night” on 23 September, where events will be held simultaneously in cities and regions across Europe.
Monday, 06 June 2005
The publication, today, of the European Commission’s fourth annual report on serious breaches to the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), shows that the number of such detected breaches went up from 6,756 in 2002 to 9,502 in 2003. These figures, based on reports from Member States, show that despite substantial strides towards greater participation of stakeholders in the fisheries management process and action to strengthen enforcement, more needs to be done to deter potential rule breakers. However, the figures also underline a persistent weakness in the quality and uniformity of the collection and report of the relevant data by Member States which makes any solid comparison and assessment difficult. This is why the Commission will consult Member States on ways to improve data collection on the detection and follow up of the 19 serious breaches of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), identified in March 1999, and the sending of data to the Commission. The aim of the measure was to increase transparency in order to strengthen fishermen’s confidence in the fair and uniform application of the rules throughout the Union so as to encourage better compliance.
New offices for the European Investment Bank’s Regional Representation for Central and East Africa were officially inaugurated on 30th May 2005. The new representation office is the first to be opened by the EIB in sub-Saharan Africa. It is to play a key role in the EIB’s commitment to build closer ties with its customers and expand operations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), within the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou in June 2000, and of the Investment Facility, a risk taking facility for the private and the commercially run public sector, created under the Agreement and managed by the EIB.
The Nairobi-based Regional Representation intends to increase the effectiveness of EIB activities, in particular in the private sector, and to reinforce its identity with the ACP countries in East and Central Africa. Within the private sector, EIB Nairobi will also work with the network of local antennae of the CDE, Center for the Development of Enterprise in the region and with Pro€invest, both set up as independently managed private sector support instruments under the Cotonou Agreement and its predecessor treaties, the Lomé Conventions.
The EIB Nairobi will also help to improve co-ordination with the European Commission’s grant aid in support of governance, regulatory and judicial improvements through the national indicative programmes (NIP) in the region. In addition it will strengthen synergies with the EIB’s partners in the European Development Financing Institutions group, the EDFI, and with the World Bank group and other peer institutions.
Two other Regional Representations will shortly be officially openend in Dakar, Senegal, for Western Africa, and Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa, for the Southern Africa region and Indian Ocean. The respective host-Governments and the Bank will officially inaugurate new office venues in Dakar and in Pretoria in June and in July.
Summit of Heads of State and Government of COMESA
Kigali, Rwanda, 2 juin 2005
Commissioner for Development Louis Michel declared that in recent years, Africa has given us tangible proofs that the continent is changing. It has developed powerful leadership and strong institutions, and the African Union Commission is gearing up to become the locomotive for integration within Africa. Africa has taken giant steps to further its political and economic integration. It has constructed a continental organisation, with an imagination and creativity that know no precedent.
Such construction, however, can not hold alone. The African house needs to be set on solid regional building blocks. There will be no continental integration without strong and ambitious sub-regional organisations.
Many of your countries are relatively small by world trading standards, many are also landlocked states. These characteristics imply a serious challenge in the current globalisation trend. The EU response in the past was to open our markets to Africa more than to any other part of the world. We have put in place the Cotonou preferences, as well as Everything But Arms for the LDCs. The result is that African exporters today pay full duty on less than 3% of imports into the EU. The remaining 97% enter at zero duty or at very reduced rates of duty.
- the EU wants to enhance the development dimension of the multilateral trading system, through the Doha Development Round, with a special emphasis on Africa.
- to give a big push to our regional trading agreements with Africa, in order to support your own integration and contribute to your development agenda.
- to boost aid for trade.
As far as rules in the WTO are concerned, the UE should focus on measures to facilitate trade, so as to increase revenues by simplified and more efficient customs duty collection, and so as to decrease costs to consumers and businesses. The cost of trade procedures is significant. It may represent as much as 4-5 % of the overall costs of trade transactions, which is about the same as the average tariff applied to industrial goods by developed countries.
The negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the 16 countries of Eastern and Southern Africa, all of which are members of COMESA will provide for even greater market access to EU markets for ACP exports; South/South market creation, which has a great potential and should be seen as a clear priority before increasing market opening of Southern markets to the North; enable the EU to support, financially, the integration processes in the ACP regions.
The EU has an envelope of more than 300 million EUR available to assist the region in the integration process and COMESA is one of the four EU partners in the region.
- The Regional Integration Support Project of 30 m € will contribute to economic integration by developing capacity in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of regional integration. It will also assist the region in their preparations for the Economic Partnership Agreements.
- A second programme, the Trade Integration Budget Support of 80 m €, will give direct support to the member states of COMESA to move forward in their integration agenda.
Both these initiatives aim directly at supporting economic integration.
- And they complement several other programmes which are in place and which contribute to the integration of the region in areas such as management of natural resources, transport, telecommunication and peace and security.
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