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EDITO
Tuesday, 01 September 2015

The Cameroonian government has invited bids for the inspection and monitoring of construction works of some markets at its borders. These are the markets of Fotokol, in the extreme North bordering Nigeria, Ekok, in the South-West also bordering Nigeria and Garoua Boulaï, located in the Eastern region and sharing a border with the Central Africa Republic. The three markets come in addition to those of Abang-Minko and Kyé-Ossi, both located in the South region of Cameroon, and which are the main places of commercial transactions with Gabonese and Equatorial Guineans traders. Other similar projects should follow in the coming years, we learn from a source close to the project.

Universities across Africa must link their agricultural research and teaching programmes, align their agricultural science efforts and collaborate with each other to compete internationally. At the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chair of the African Union Commission, said that  young people should be encouraged to study agriculture and use better farming technologies. In her view, “The harmonisation of agricultural science is the first step in streamlining university courses so they attract more young people to science and technology (…) We import a ridiculous amount of food, and still many suffer from malnutrition."

The Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants has been agreed and adopted by the Diplomatic Conference in Arusha, Tanzania on July 6, 2015. The Protocol provides a regional plant variety protection system for sustainable Agricultural production. Eighteen Member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation - Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda Zambia and Zimbabwe - were represented at the Diplomatic Conference, alongside international partners, including the World Intellectual Property Organization, the EU's Community Plant Variety Office, France's National Seeds and Seedlings Association, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

At “2nd Regional Steering Committee Meeting of ECOWAS on the theme of “Enhancing the Use of Earth Observation to support Fisheries Management and Safety at Sea in Western Africa”, 14 West African countries agreed to jointly tackle tackle  illegal, unregulated and unreported (‎IUU)fishing activities. The ECOWAS Marine Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) brainstormed and agreed to ensure safety at sea.   Aderemi Abioye, the Permanent Secretary represented by the Ministry’s Director of Fisheries said, “The partnership through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was to build platforms for collaborations and partnerships with other African Countries in the West African regions to harmonise our regulations and monitor the operations of fishing vessels across the Region."

The recent publication by the World Bank from the Africa Trade and Competitiveness Practice underscores the importance of a regional approach of agricultural production for food security. In West Africa, agriculture employs 60% of the labor force and Staple foods, including livestock and meat, cereals, pulses, roots and tubers represent the main source of calories. However, the report notes that the region is highly dependent on imports , which is evidenced by the tripling of imported food products over the past ten years.  The report also notes that the physical nature of West Africa’s agro-ecological zones alone provides a strong rationale for regional collaboration, with soil and rainfall patterns cutting across neighboring countries and creating natural, cross-border economic markets