Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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Monday, 20 November 2017

Maltese based AquaBioTech is to hold an aquaculture workshop in Cameroon later this month as part of its African development strategy. The event will take place during the Cameroon International SME Trade Fair (PMEXCHANGE), in Douala on November 22. The trade fair attracts more than 150 exhibitors and brings together SMEs and multinational companies, as well as thousands of visitors from across Cameroon. It is organised by Enterprises of Cameroon (ECAM) every two years. The three-hour workshop – titled Aquaculture Opportunities in Cameroon – will cover various topics, from production and operational issues to profitability, opportunities, sharing good practices and the success factors for the aquaculture business.

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said in spite of some challenges, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has the potential to help local and regional companies penetrate European markets. “It (the EPA) has the potential to expand market opportunities for the regional private sector within the European Union (EU) ” she said. Gopee-Scoon spoke yesterday at the Third Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders opened on Tuesday 24th October, in the presence of HRH Princess Astrid, a seminar on human rights in the private sector. The topic of the seminar was more specifically the prevention and abolition of child labor in the cocoa supply chain. Cocoa is the main export product of Côte d’Ivoire. Minister Reynders’ speech was followed by other interventions, testimonies and a debate where all parties involved in this topic were brought together.

Ministers and senior officials responsible for trade from 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries reaffirmed their strong and resounding commitment to the multilateral trading system, at the conclusion of the 20th ACP Ministerial Trade Committee meeting held in Brussels on 18-19 October. The meeting, chaired by the vice president and minister of foreign affairs of Guyana, Carl Greenidge, focussed on enhancing intra-ACP trade, including through a joint approach to commodities and agricultural value chains, as well as examining trade issues between the ACP and EU countries.

Monday, 30 October 2017

An EU-funded index measuring biodiversity in food production is expected to be launched next year, giving investors a benchmark for assessing how companies and governments are making food systems more resilient to climate change. Investing in food species such as drought-tolerant Ethiopian durum wheat or the frost-resistant Andean grain canahua can make food supply chains more resistant to climate shocks, according to research published on Tuesday by Bioversity International.

Friday, 27 October 2017

One year after enacting the EU-South African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), officials from the EU and South Africa gathered in Johannesburg to review its progress and consider next steps. The EU-SADC EPA entered into force in October 2016, and is designed to be an asymmetrical, development-oriented agreement. The accord has been signed by six of the 15 SADC members, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. The EPA grants all of those countries, with the exception of South Africa, duty-free, quota-free access to the European market, while improving market access for Johannesburg. The 28-nation EU ranks as the largest trading partner for these countries, with European Commission statistics placing imports at over €30 billion in minerals, metals, and other products in 2015.

The EU is set to import a record volume of bananas this year as consumption continues to rise across the continent. The 28 countries of the EU imported some 6.1 million tonnes of bananas in 2016, up from 5.9mt in 2015 and 5.4mt in 2014. That represents an average four per cent growth rate since 2012, and a 21 per cent increase since 2006. That trend is set to continue with five per cent growth in imports recorded for the first quarter of 2017 versus the same period the year before, according to figures presented at the International Banana Congress by Carolina Dawson of French research centre Cirad.

Africa and Europe have long-standing relations, based in particular on a series of agreements between the European Union (EU) and the group of 79 ACP countries (Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean, Pacific). The Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000 for 20 years, kept the structure of its predecessors, from a time when Europe was negotiating with its former African colonies. It rests on three pillars: development cooperation, trade relations and political dialogue. It is urgent to realise that the context of cooperation has changed radically and that our partnership with Africa is out of date. Even more importantly, we need to wake up to what Africans expect from us.

The Guyana-Based Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) has introduced four new online platforms to promote trade and develop the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (MEUC). Supported by European Union (EU), CARICOM launched the Online Business Registries of the regional bloc; a Labor Market Information System; and the CARREX platform with a public online portal. CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRoque, explained in the presentation that the Online Business Registers provide partners with the search and reservation of names for the registration of entities, payment and e-signature.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela announced the opening of a Maltese high commission or embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa soon - Malta’s first mission in this African region which will open “a trade gateway to this part of Africa”. The Minister said there are three countries under consideration and the final decision will be announced next month. During a press conference marking the first 100 days of this legislature and Minister Abela taking up his new brief, the Minister explained that trade promotion was an obvious addition to the Foreign Affairs brief after internationally-respected Finch Ratings upgraded Malta to ‘A+’, “meaning Malta has the right environment to do business”. The hard-working and dedicated staff at Maltese embassies and high commissions abroad, including non-resident ambassadors, are building on their solid diplomatic relationships to increase business interactions, the minister said.

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