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Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2018
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EDITO
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson calls on the G8 to turn “personal conscience into real political commitment” by backing a successful Doha Round and following the European Commission in prioritising ‘aid for trade’ to help build Africa’s capacity to benefit from free trade and market access. He calls on the G8 to “match the partial advances on debt relief and the additional aid pledged, with a fresh act of political will to build Africa’s opportunities and capacities to benefit from free and fair trade.”
- The Trade Commissioner notes that if Africa could gain an additional 1% of global trade would deliver seven times more income every year than the continent currently receives in aid. Pointing to the huge structural obstacles that block African entrepreneurialism he argues: “Free trade is not a magic wand: it is only when it is combined with policies that improve poor countries capacities to trade that it works to deliver higher living standards.”
Better market access for and between developing countries. He calls for the Everything but Arms initiative to be adopted by the United States, Japan and Canada, matching Europe’s tariff and quota free access to all exports from LDC exports. More effective development assistance. He argues that Africa needs much more aid building the capacity to take advantage of market access in the developed world.Development friendly trade rules. He calls for the G8 to commit to reform of rules of origin to make it easier for developing countries to trade. He calls on the G8 push for greater international regulatory convergence of health and consumer standards for key developing country exports such as food and flowers, and for further aid to help developing countries meet our export standards.
More flexibility for some developing countries in terms of WTO rules. He backs the principle of temporary waivers from WTO rules for vulnerable countries. A 1% increase in Africa’s share of global trade would deliver seven times more income every year than the continent currently receives in aid.
Europe gets a bad press on its trade barriers and the CAP. Some of the criticism is justified; some not. But it is not for want of EU effort to help Africa trade.
The EU accounts for 31% of the exports of the 46 countries of sub Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) – in all about 7% of their GDP. 33 of the 46 sub-Saharan African countries enjoy full quota and tariff free access to European markets, including for all agricultural goods, under the EU’s “Everything But Arms” initiative for Less Developed Countries. Of all LDC exports to the Quad of the United States, Canada, Japan and the EU, Europe alone takes 63% of the total and 70% of their agricultural exports.Already EBA has had positive results. Exports to Europe of the range of products that benefit have risen by 100% in 3 years, whereas they had fallen by 11% in the previous ten years. African countries like Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso have seen significant benefits. Thirteen sub Saharan countries are not classed as LDCs and do not enjoy that full and free access, including Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. They do however enjoy a privileged trading relationship with Europe as ACP countries. 88% of their agricultural exports to Europe enter tariff and quota free. Yet, for all of Europe’s trade commitment to Africa, the 46 ACP countries’ overall share in trade has fallen over the last twenty years. In part because commodity prices have fallen sharply in real terms. But African countries also suffer severe competitiveness problems and supply constraints. Free trade is not a magic wand: it is only when it is combined with policies that improve poor countries capacities to trade that it works to deliver higher living standards. From landlocked Zambia it costs more to ship a ton of maize to neighbouring Tanzania than it costs to send the same ton of maize from Tanzania to Europe or the United States. In most European and American ports it takes a day to clear a container through port: in Ethiopia it takes thirty days. Europe recognises this and has been no slouch on aid. Half of all the aid flowing to Africa comes from the European Union and its Member States. At more than 3.5 billion euros since 2001, Europe already provides more “aid for trade” – that is aid to improve trade infrastructure and capacities -than the rest of the world combined. he “Everything but Arms” initiative should be adopted by the United States, Japan and Canada, matching Europe’s commitment to tariff and quota free access to all G8 markets for LDC exports.
70% of developing country tariff payments are made to other developing countries. Average tariffs for manufactured exports are three times higher between developing countries than they are in the developed world. The main beneficiaries of CAP reform are likely to be outside Africa, in more advanced developing countries such as Brazil whose beef and sugar industries are extremely competitive. This is not an argument against reform, which is essential to the Doha overall package – but let us not fall into the simplistic trap of believing that abolition of all or part of the CAP is the solution to the problems of Africa. It is not. disincentive to trade and thus a greater drag on fiscal revenue.
EU’s revised Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in future will have a clearer development focus. They are not conventional trade agreements where both sides seek mutual advantage. The purpose of EPAs is to promote regional integration and African economic development. The Commission is introducing a new monitoring mechanism for the capacity building efforts we are making as part of these agreements.
Africa needs more aid, better co-ordinated and with a significant amount of it devoted to “aid for trade”, progressive liberalisation: development friendly trade rules. We need simplification and harmonisation of the Rules of Origin that will improve poor countries’ abilities to make better use of their existing preferences.
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Thursday, 07 July 2005
The ACP Sugar Group are the eighteen African, Caribbean and Pacific states signatories to the ACP/EU Sugar Protocol. These countries have enjoyed a long standing, traditional place in European sugar markets, and they have become an integral part of the EU sugar regime. The recent European Commission proposal to reform the sugar regime is expected to have a devastating effect on the vulnerable economies of the ACP sugar supplying countries. The sugar industry puts all the information relevant in the ACP context to the impact of this reform as well as the history of the Sugar protocol to have an holistic approach to the problem.
The Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), a platform of non-governmental organizations based in Brussels, has launched its new website, which is now online. CFFA, which was formed in 1992, has the stated aim "to supply detailed information to coastal fishing communities with a view to promoting their active and informed participation in the decision-making processes affecting their livelihoods, with a special focus on fisheries relations between the European Union (EU) and ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries." CFFA documents the development and environmental impacts of EU-ACP fisheries relations on small-scale fishing communities. It campaigns for fundamental changes in EU fisheries policies, with the aim of supporting a multi-functional fisheries model that works for everyone involved, both inside Europe and outside European boundaries.
Apart from detailing the background, history and aims of the organization, the new website offers several resources, including newsletters and press releases, and details of existing and pending ACP-EU Agreements, the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Cotonou Agreement and other relevant issues.
The CFFA website also provides links to related sites on fisheries and fishworkers, as well as an Events page that features a calendar of conferences and meetings like the recent UNEP Workshop on EU-ACP Access Agreements.
The CFFA Secretariat is run by a Co-ordinator and draws on the human and financial support of participating organizations from EU and ACP countries.
A wide group of stakeholders jointly publish today the strategic research agenda ‘Plants for the future’ on how Europe can improve the safe exploitation of the genetic diversity in plants using plant genomics and biotechnology. Input has been collected from research institutions, industry, farmers, politics, financial world, regulatory authorities, as well as consumer and environmental organizations.
The agenda defines the strategic research priorities for the two coming decades. The priorities are to produce healthy and safe food and feed, and to increase competitiveness of the agricultural value chain while contributing to sustainability.
Wednesday, 06 July 2005
EU policies and structures for supporting collaborative efforts in research and technology within the Union and beyond are long-established and have a proven record of achievements. But this effort needs re-shaping via a new strategy to strengthen ties between Europe and international research partners. Doing so will help address global research challenges, such as climate change and bring benefits to the Union’s economy in terms of higher competitiveness and quality of life. The EU has a long tradition of pursuing international science and technology (S&T) co-operation. It has supported collaborative research for more than 20 years with partners in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America, the Mediterranean basin, Russia and OECD countries. For instance, some 40 000 research personnel from both the EU and third countries participated in more than 3 000 agricultural, health and natural resource projects from1983 to 2002.
Such co-operation promotes development of long-term durable partnerships, says deputy director-general of the Commission’s Research Directorate-General, in a recent EU publication entitled Reinforcing European research policy – the international dimension. The focus of these partnerships “is the added value and cost effectiveness that joint research can generate.”
Noting that Europe’s S&T international co-operation stimulates socio-economic development and global competitiveness, and has been increasingly underpinned by bi-regional dialogues at political level, he also insisted that this dialogue must be broadened and developed in a more structured way.
Referring to a new understanding that “the production and use of scientific knowledge is in itself a driving force,” Stančič said “this new paradigm“ calls for a constructive and complex interplay of the Union’s policies. In other words, a new strategy to promote international S&T co-operation is needed.
According to the Research DG, the strategy should have three goals, namely to:
- reinforce and enlarge Europe’s competitiveness by forging strategic partnerships with third countries in selected sectors, thus attracting the best of their scientists to work in Europe
- address problems common to both Europe and its third-country partner(s)
- use S&T co-operation to strengthen Europe’s relations with third countries and to support its position regarding common scientific policy issues
Implementation of the strategy should be based on two integrated approaches, argues the Commission. One requires closer coordination of EU national policies with those of third countries. The other calls for promoting further the participation of third countries in the Union’s Framework Research programmes. This should be done on a case-by-case basis and focused primarily on FP projects designed to increase Europe’s competitiveness.
Besides the four accession and candidate countries of Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey, the Commission has identified four geopolitical groupings of partners as primary participants in the new strategy. These are: countries bordering the EU; developing countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific; industrialised countries (Australia, Canada, USA and Japan, etc); and international organisations, such as the WHO, OECD and the UN.
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