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Newsletter 522

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

June 2019
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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Wallonia export investment agency, AWEX, is active encouraging South African businesses expanding into Europe to make the southern Belgian region of Wallonia their home base. Belgium region Wallonia open for SA businesses expanding to Europe Wallonia, recently named one of the European Commission’s two preferred European Creative Districts because of its strategy to drive innovation, offers a favourable tax regime, grants and commercial property pricing designed to attract foreign investment and expansion into the region. Several South African companies, including Bidvest, NTP, Sappi, Mondi and The Airplane Factory, operate from Wallonia.

A regional organization says the European Union (EU) plans to boost Caribbean competitiveness by strengthening regional partnerships. On Saturday, the Guadeloupe-based STC INTERREG Caraïbes said that INTERREG V Caribbean, a multimillion dollar EU-funded programme to strengthen regional partnerships, will be officially launched in St. Lucia on Wednesday. In addition to boosting the economic competitiveness of the region’s countries, the INTERREG V Caribbean programme will also respond to environmental challenges and health issues, while promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region. According to STC INTERREG Caraïbes , the programme focuses on priority areas such employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy.

As the European market continues to dictate strict standards for any product entering its territory, many exporters have been caught out. However, rejected products are finding their way onto local markets. EurActiv Germany reports. Kenya, one of the largest exporters of fresh produce to the EU, has been hit hard by officials wedding out produce that the European market has deemed high in residual levels of pesticides and heavy metals unfit for human consumption and environment. Exports to the EU include flowers, vegetables, fruits, peas and fish. The EU has placed Kenya on the radar as one of the countries with 10% increased Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs), which are the set legal levels of concentration of pesticide residues in or on food.

Some major multinational conglomerates of the European Union (EU) are looking to invest in southern Africa as there will be increasing growth and investment opportunities in the foreseeable future, according to Stefan Sakoschek, regional director of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southern Africa. Sakoschek was one of the keynote speakers at the Limpopo International Investment Conference in Carousel, Hammanskraal, outside Pretoria. He saud that the EU was the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) largest trading partner, and it sees Africa as an important investment opportunity, being home to seven of the world’s top 10 growing economies in 2015.

Despite the current economic hardships in Europe, the Western donors have continued to provide development aid to Uganda, with Germany and France providing 110 million Euros (Shs417b) for electricity project in western Uganda to foster national development. Muzizi hydropower Project (HPP) is being developed at the lower course of the Muzizi River, south east of Lake Albert located in Kibaale District, western Uganda. However, government officials say the project footprint will extend to districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Ntoroko.