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Sunday, 02 August 2015

The 32nd edition of the Luanda International Fair (Filda/FIL) got underway this week with the participation of  40 countries and territories and 930 national and international exhibitors. Participants of the four day long fair have come from Brazil, Japan, Spain, France, India, Turkey, Zambia, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, China, Indonesia and Macau. The Germany/Angola and Angola/Italy economic forums on Agriculture and Food Industry are expected to be among the main highlights. Salvador Cardoso, director of institutional relations for the fair explained, “Germany is this year’s special guest country and has strengthened its participation, with 28 companies of international renown, some of which already operate in the country.”

The PACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers met in Suva, Fiji on 17 July 2015 and called for the EU’s commitment to EPA negotiations.  The key issued raised included: (i) concern following the EU’s proposal to defer the EPA negotiations; (ii) the pacific-EU relationship is important even beyond the expiry of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2020; (iii) a comprehensive EPA must be a development-oriented, with flexible rules of origin; (iv) there has been a strong commitment and efforts to maintain sound fisheries management and conservation, including on combating Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing, but ongoing cooperation and assistance is also needed from Distant Water Fishing Nations, including the EU; (v) there are no development benefits in the current interim EPA, especially for smaller island states.

The European Union and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a new partnership agreement to boost food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and resilience in at least 35 countries. The new initiative consists of two linked five-year programmes: (i) The Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) facility, which will enhance the capacities of governments and regional administrations to improve food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture policies and better implement them. This will be done by providing policy assistance and capacity development support. (ii)  The Information for Nutrition Food Security and Resilience for Decision Making (INFORMED) programme will contribute to strengthening resilience to withstand food crises as a result of human-induced and natural disasters.

At the recent 14th regional seminar of the Africa Caribbean Pacific - European Union economic and social interest groups, experts were resoundingly in favour of conducting sustainable impact assessments for the EU-Central African  Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). These assessment, in their opinion, were crucial for addressing the reality of economies, especially consumer interests, the size of businesses, the job market, poverty eradication, women, young people and vulnerable groups. They raised the need to remove technical and economic obstacles which prevent enhanced trade relations and undermine the endogenous process of African regional integration, as well as the issues pertaining to the loss of tax income income resulting from the implementation of the EPA.

The EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II, which was reformed in 2012 may be under attack from the financial sector to restart food speculation, according to Oxfam. The NGO is accusing the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) of watering down the directive , so much so that the latest looks like “a wishlist” for banks and insurance. David Hachfeld, an expert on the economy and globalisation at Oxfam Germany says, “The financial sector has successfully inserted numerous exceptions and loopholes. As a result, the original goal of lawmakers, to prevent market distortions and price fluctuations has been undermined (…) There is reason to fear that the hunger for profit among powerful finance actors may continue to lead to price explosions in agriculture-related commodities.”