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Monday, 16 July 2018

A West African Chamber of Commerce and Culture, the "Swedish African West Chamber of Commerce and Culture (SWACC) was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2014 by the Swedish Honorary Consuls of Burkina Faso, Mr. Sten Hagberg from Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Mali and Niger, in cooperation with Swedish economic operators. The SWAAC promtoes sustainable trade and cultural relations of mutual benefit between the countries of West Africa and Sweden.

In Cyprus, 94% of the Eurobarometer respondents agreed that it is important to help people in developing countries. This was the second highest response, just three percent less than respondents in Sweden in the survey conducted in the run up to the European Year for development 2015. Additionally, 64% of respondents in Cyprus also agreed that it is very important to help people in developing countries, again ranking second behind Sweden where 74% of respondents agreed. Cyprus was only one of 4 of the 28 member states for whom a majority of respondents agreed with this last statement, including Ireland (56%) and Luxembourg (51%).

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana explained that South Africa is negotiating renewed market access to the EU, after exports stopped in 2011 following the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease. The 28member economic bloc represents a lucrative market for the export of South African game and beef. The embargo that followed the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease cost an approximately R4 billion. South Africa has been declared disease free by the World Organisation for Animal health from February 2014 and has been negotiating renewed market access since then. South African exporters are also interested in new export markets, namely in Asia.  

Norway and the East African Community (EAC) member states shall hold talks on a future comprehensive free trade agreement along the same line’s as the EU’s EPAs. Currently, Norway and East Africa have a trade pact that will expire in 2021. However, as Norway, along with Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Iceland are members of the European Free Trade Area - and not the EU -  if EAC countries gradate to middle income status their products will no longer be eligible to enter Norwegian markets under the existing criteria. The majority of Norwegian ivestments in Kenya are in the hospitality and energy sectors.

During a press conference yesterday, Tuesday 30 December, the members of the "No to EPAs" coalition called on the President of the Republic Macky Sall to open a national debate on the question of economic partnership agreements (EPAs). They criticized the negotiation process, particularly for its lack of transparency, demanding that the Head of State freeze the process immediately in Senegal. During a press conference yesterday, 30 December, the "No to EPAs" coalition reaffirmed its opposition to the economic partnership agreements (EPAs), urging President Macky Sall to open a national debate in the matter as soon as possible. "We demand that the President of the Republic open a national debate on the EPAs as soon as possible before parliamentary consultation.