Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2018
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Friday, 23 March 2018

Pacific development partners and beneficiaries of the Hub and Spokes Programme, an aid-for-trade initiative, ended a three-day regional planning workshop on Wednesday, with appreciation of the programmes tangible impacts on the ground. Pacific Island Country beneficiaries developed a new framework that is likely to guide the implementation and management of a successor Programme. The proposed framework aims to support sustainable and inclusive development through technical assistance and capacity building in international trade. The Hub and Spokes programme is a multi-donor aid-for-trade initiative of the European Union, the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific states) Group Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF); its current phase ends in August this year (2018).

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and six Southern African countries has been a boost for the Western Cape, with strong gains for the wine and fishing industries since it came into effect in October 2016. The EPA between the EU and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member countries – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland – plus Mozambique, allows increased market access for exports. More than half of South Africa’s fish exports are destined for the EU, with a growth rate of more than 50% since 2013, said the SADC-EU EPA Outreach Initiative.

Ghana's large food import bill presently amounts to two million dollars a year, a development which will affect the country's economy without a quick change in policy. The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Ron striker who said this in Accra, yesterday, observed that Ghana, mainly imports products like rice, sugar, frozen chicken and oil which could be easily produced in the country. Mr. Striker who was speaking at the launch of the first Value Added Agriculture Expo in West Africa, slated for August 2 to 4 in Ghana, said boosting agriculture was essential to attaining the president's vision of 'Ghana beyond Aid'.

A European Union (EU) push to increase the number of goods entering the East African Community (EAC) without paying duty has delayed the signing of a trade pact between the two blocs. The standoff has seen only two out of five states endorse the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) under special arrangement with the EU to continue accessing the duty-free market. If the EAC bows to pressure, the move will mean that 17.5 per cent of goods from Europe that have been blocked from accessing the bloc duty-free allowed entry.

A senior Bahamian private sector official says he hopes local companies will together with their counterparts from Jamaica and Belize, be more aware of the opportunities offered by the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The accord, which was signed in 2008, replaces the trade component of Lomé IV and its successor, Cotonou Agreement in 2000.