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Newsletter 494

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2019
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EDITO
Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The [South Africa] Cabinet has approved the economic partnership agreement between the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the European Union (EU), which will now be submitted to Parliament for ratification, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday. Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing, Radebe said the agreement would establish a single trade regime with the EU and would enhance the preferential access of some products to the EU such as sugar, ethanol, wine, fish and fruit. He noted that the agreement provided additional policy space for SA in a number of areas. SA had also negotiated a bilateral protocol on geographic indicators with the EU, where 102 wine names and three agricultural products — rooibos, honeybush and Karoo lamb — would be protected. Radebe noted that the economic partnership agreement would promote regional value chains in Africa and contribute to regional integration in Africa. The Cabinet noted that despite the global economic headwinds the domestic economy was "poised to forge ahead". The growing number of investments in SA indicated continued investor confidence in the South African economy as an investment destination. "It further demonstrates that our country is on a path to recovery and continues to be a viable investment destination," the Cabinet said in the statement. Investments of about R25bn had been made into the automotive industry over the last five years, which Radebe said indicated the continued confidence of global automotive producers in SA as an investment destination "and the supportive policy environment that government is providing". New investments of R6bn each had been announced by Toyota and BMW. "Through our programme of structural reforms and fiscal consolidation, government will remain within its expenditure ceiling to ensure that our economy emerges stronger when the global economy recovers," the Cabinet said.

Source: BD live

Thursday, 26 May 2016

AgriCord is an initiative of farmers’ organisations and their cooperative businesses to support their colleagues in developing countries by mobilising funds and expertise from organised farmers. Representatives of farmers’ organisations explained the evolution of their position in specific agro - food chains and the impact on incomes of their members (dairy value chain in Uganda by UCCCU, cashew nut value chain in Benin by URCPA).

Source: paepard.blogspot.be

Public procurement - the use of government funds to acquire goods and services - represents as much as one-third of the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries within the CARIFORUM region. That figure was revealed by Trainer with the International Procurement Institute, Adrian Chin, who indicated that in more developed countries that figure stands at ten to 20 per cent. During the first session of a Level One Training Workshop in Public Procurement held at the Barbados Community College, Chin explained that the contribution of public procurement to GDP seen within CARIFORUM is due to a comparatively weak private sector and governments in the region acting as the primary drivers of economic growth and development. Speaking to the media following the opening session of the one-day workshop, Chin said his personal belief is that economies should be private sector driven, but supported with relevant Government policies (...) Chin explained that yesterday’s workshop forms part of the support the European Union is offering to CARIFORUM Member States in the area public procurement to sensitise various stakeholders including procurement officers, suppliers, academia and the media about what procurement can do to enhance national development and solve some of the social issues in countries.

Source: barbadosadvocate.com

Not only did the state company EMATUM (Mozambique Tuna Company) borrow hundreds of millions of dollars on the European bond market to purchase a brand new fleet of fishing boats, but it now turns out that the boats are not fit for purpose. The Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, told deputies of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, last week that ten of the 24 EMATUM fishing boats are being refitted in South Africa so that they meet the technical specifications demanded by the European Union for boats that catch fisheries produce intended for the European market. But the boats were all built at a shipyard, Constructions Mechaniques de Normandie (CMN), in the French port of Cherbourg, and France is a member of the European Union. Maleiane was thus effectively claiming that boats built recently in a European shipyard do not meet the European Union's own specifications for fishing boats.

Source: allafrica.com

A UK departure from the European Union could help African countries to speed up agricultural innovation that is currently held back by stringent health and safety regulations. Next to raw minerals, agriculture is the most promising driver of economic growth on the continent of 54 countries. With commodity prices flat many countries are struggling with low growth, leaving them scrambling for alternative revenue sources. However, trade deals – particularly with powerful trading blocs such as the EU – have not generally gone well for individual African states trying to secure access to one of the world’s wealthiest markets. At the same time, the EU’s raft of health and safety regulations have stifled the deployment of technology such as genetically modified crops (GM), slowing agricultural advancement. “The EU needs to rethink its attitudes towards African agricultural innovation irrespective of the outcome of UK vote," says Professor Calestous Juma from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School in the United States. A Kenyan national, Prof Juma is one of a growing number of African academics who feel restrictive trade policies that rely on unscientific safety barriers are hindering food security on the continent. Currently GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are widely used in the US and many other countries, including South Africa. However the EU places extensive restrictions and controls on their consumption, making it difficult for African exporters to gain access to the market, Prof Juma says.

Source: thenational.ae