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November 2018
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Chief Negotiators from the six Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions that are fashioning the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union met in London last week to compare notes and review strategies, and emerged saying that they had a better understanding of the way forward.
"(It was) an important opportunity for counterpart lead negotiators to exchange experiences and information, but also to coordinate approaches to upcoming negotiations with the EC (European Commission) on a range of issues," said Dr Richard Bernal, head of the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM), the vehicle used by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) for its trade negotiations with other countries. According to Bernal, the negotiators had an opportunity to engage "in frank and open discussions on the state of their respective region's negotiations". The chief negotiators agreed on the need for interchange amongst themselves on a regular basis and decided on mechanisms to strengthen the dialogue and technical specialists.

At present the EU has a single trade and economic assistance treaty with the more than 70 members of the ACP. Europe, however, decided in the 1990s that it would develop specific partnership agreements with regional groups that fall within the ACP.

ACP member states, however, said they would not dismantle their organisation.
Negotiations for EPAs with the EU involves the following regions:
. West Africa (Economic Community of West Africa ECOWAS + Mauritania);
. Central Africa (Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale or CEMAC + São Tomé and Príncipe);
. Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA members); the Southern African Development Community (SADC: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Tanzania + South Africa as an observer);
. Caribbean or CARIFORUM (these include the 14 ACP members of the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic); and
. the Pacific.

Last week's meeting focused on i) EPA and ACP regional integration processes ii) market access issues and iii) the development dimension of an EPA. On regional integration, the negotiators compared progress made in their respective regions in strengthening these processes. In this context, the meeting discussed the content, structure, scope and strategy of an EPA for each region. On market access issues, the meeting reaffirmed that EPAs should increase market access for current and potential exports of ACP countries. There was a call for tariff liberalisation to focus on phasing periods, and for allowance to be made for sensitive products. The chief negotiators also agreed that rules of origin must be development oriented and stressed that neither trade nor market access by themselves are sufficient to promote development.
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Sunday, 09 October 2005
The EU is the world’s largest donor. EU overseas development funding has been increasing since 2000 and in May 2005 the EU made a commitment to double its aid budget by 2010. An increasing proportion of aid goes to developing country governments directly to support their own development plans and budgets. They choose how much to allocate to ICT. Priorities are set locally and EU donors respond to these priorities.

How ICT contributes to development
ICT (new and old technologies – telephones and broadcasting as well as the internet) are an important element of development in many areas such as education, health, economic growth and governance. Most countries seek support for ICT as an integral part of development plans in these areas, while fewer seek support specifically for ICT. Most EU members support this approach, and ICT forms a significant part of many EU funded projects. ICT needs infrastructure, and the EU supports this as part of the new Infrastructure Partnership with Africa due to start this autumn. But hardware alone does not make an effective information system, and many other factors also receive increasing support – such as training, policy and planning, development of applications and content, and improvement of environmental conditions such as energy and education.

The private sector
ICT infrastructure has largely been funded by the private sector, since the 1990s. The private sector has proved itself more efficient than governments in telecommunications service provision: private providers are more flexible and able to keep up with technological change, and competition keeps costs and prices lower. One role of governments, with donor support, is therefore to attract private investment. This sometimes requires financial support such as low-interest loans or risk guarantees; and always requires creation of the right conditions of regulation, competition, and start-up costs.

Creating an enabling environment for investment
It is not enough for governments and aid donors simply to say “Leave it to the private sector”. Areas in which government action is still needed, often with donor support, include: creating an enabling legal and regulatory environment to attract investors; ensuring that the communication needs of the poorest and most marginalised people are met, often through innovative public-private partnerships; and introducing ICT into government functions and services. Donors also play a role in encouraging private operators to enter risky or less profitable areas, by supplying financial assistance and risk mitigation; and in international collaborations, for instance to build ‘backbone’ infrastructure linking countries and regions across Africa.
EADI launches Insecurityforum.org
A new way to debate issues of insecurity and development
We believe that there is an urgent need for a renewed sense regarding insecurities caused by natural disasters, climate change, epidemics and poverty, as well as the violation of human rights. Insecurityforum is dedicated to create an open forum on the internet for substantive and interdisciplinary discussion.
A new online platform on issues of insecurity and development. Insecurityforum with the help of a weblog will create a space for substantive discussion on the internet by attracting new ideas, views, research findings and information on international development issues and trends.
The European Investment Bank has acquired a EUR 3.5 million equity participation in La Fayette Investissements s.i.c.a.r., a wholesale fund for microfinance institutions. Incorporated in Luxembourg, La Fayette Investissements will provide equity and debt financing to microfinance institutions in Africa and Asia, together with technical and management assistance from Horus, the French based microfinance technical assistance and service company.

With a EUR 15.3 million capitalisation, La Fayette will provide start-up capital for microfinance institutions, whereas Horus will provide management support for La Fayette as well as its investee microfinance institutions. The capital of La Fayette is provided jointly by Horus (EUR 1.3 million), International Finance Corporation[1] (EUR 3 million) Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau of Germany (EUR 3 million), Agence française de Développement (EUR 3 million), Financiering Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden of the Netherlands (EUR 2 million and the EIB.

The objective of La Fayette Investissements is to provide socially responsible senior and junior capital contributions to micro finance institutions in low-income countries in Africa. Therefore the equity participation in La Fayette answers to the key objective of the European Investment Bank’s contribution to micro finance institutions in securing economic, social and environmental returns in projects it finances.

The EIB, established in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects that further the European Union (EU) policy objectives. It also participates in the implementation of the EU's co-operation policy towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union.
Financing in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) is carried out under the provisions of the Investment Facility, set up by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou in June 2000. Under the Cotonou agreement the total financial aid available amounts to EUR 15.2 billion for 2002-2006, of which EUR 11.3 billion is grant aid from the EU member states, EUR 2.2 billion is managed by the EIB under the Investment Facility and up to EUR 1.7 billion is in the form of loans from the EIB's own resources. The Investment Facility is a revolving facility (loan amortizations will be invested in new operations), aiming at supporting technically, environmentally, financially and economically sound projects in the private or the commercially run public sector.
Saturday, 08 October 2005
The third phase of negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM countries and the European Union was launched on September 30.th, 2005 in Saint Lucia.

CARIFORUM Trade Ministers and European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson met on the occasion of the Second CARIFORUM-EC Ministerial EPA Meeting. They adopted the Joint Report on negotiations that took place in Phase II, reviewed progress in EPA negotiations so far, and provided political instructions on the future orientation of those negotiations. In addition to discussing the EPA process, this frank and constructive encounter provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round, and commodities of key importance to the Region. The EPA negotiations are poised to undergo a qualitative shift in focus and specificity. Phase III will define the structure and scope of an EPA, and determine the approach to trade liberalization, with the view to promoting sustainable development in CARIFORUM.
Both sides noted the importance of deepened regional integration to promote the international competitiveness of private sector operators, improve the business environment and boost trade and investment. They agreed that development would be at the centre of an EPA. The pursuit of development is a multi-dimensional undertaking that seeks to capture the benefits accruing from trade and integration, but also requires accompanying adjustment measures and institutional capacity building.
Technical and financial assistance is important to facilitate the Region’s effective participation in the EPA negotiations, and to support CARIFORUM regional integration. CARIFORUM underscored that timely access to EU resources is essential to maintaining the momentum of EPA negotiations, and strengthening the regional integration process. This was, therefore, the subject of considerable debate at the Ministerial meeting, which called for expeditious treatment of the relevant support measures.
There was an exchange of views on the status of the WTO Doha Development Round. These negotiations are of the utmost importance, as they seek to place development at the centre of the multilateral trade agenda. Both sides sought an acceleration of the preparations for the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, in December 2005.
Commodities of export interest to the Caribbean, such as bananas and sugar, are facing acute difficulties in preparing for radical changes in the EU market. CARIFORUM Trade Ministers made a strong statement that preferential access to European markets currently safeguards the livelihood and welfare of tens of thousands of families in the Caribbean. Given the vital importance of the banana arbitration process in Geneva, the EU expressed a keen interest in working with CARIFORUM banana supplying countries to obtain a fair and lasting solution. On sugar, the EU acknowledged the painful adjustment that will take place both in the Caribbean and in Europe, as a result of proposed EU sugar reform.
The EU pledged to work closely with CARIFORUM sugar producing countries, to assist them in coping with adjustment. The two sides also discussed vital trade and aid issues relating to the CARIFORUM rum industry. They acknowledged the challenges faced by the Region in this regard, and identified practical ways to advance the industry’s interests. Both sides reaffirmed their decision to convene the Third CARIFORUM-EC EPA Ministerial Meeting before the end of 2006.