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Newsletter 499

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

February 2019
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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Caribbean economies are poised to benefit from a region-wide initiative to expand seafood market share, through the implementation of food safety measures to enable countries to get a bigger piece of the global pie, worth an estimated US $130 billion annually. Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, are now capitalising on a coordinated approach to broaden the gateway to the growing market. CARIFORUM (the Caribbean Community Caricom and the Dominican Republic) now exports about US $400 million worth of fish and seafood annually. Belize and Jamaica are two Caribbean seafood exporters already tapping into markets controlled by the European Union (EU) – a tough market to access because of stringent standards that require countries have systems in place to ensure that their exports are not only safe for consumption but also free from harmful pests and pathogens.

The United Kingdom's planned exit from the European Union will not affect its services to the Pacific, according to the British High Commissioner to Fiji. This was despite 15 percent of the EU's spending in the region coming from its UK contributions. The British High Commissioner to Fiji, Roddy Drummond.The British High Commissioner to Fiji, Roddy Drummond. Roddy Drummond said modes of delivery would have to change but he said the UK and the EU have a shared vision for supporting development in the Pacific. "The EU programmes that exist at the moment are very much things that, you know, follow, pursue priorities that we think are important as well, so how that will change when we are no longer part of things remains to be seen in years to come," he said.

Despite earning most of its income from a supply deal with British-based refiner Tate and Lyle, leading players in the local sugar industry say Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU) will not have a negative impact on the sector. "I don't see that result affecting us in any way, our relationship was with individual companies, not the (British) government and fortunately, our contract with Tate and Lyle is not designated in pounds." said Ambassador Derrick Heaven, who is a former high commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK). "It will be interesting to see what impact the devaluation of the pound will have on companies operating in Britain, but I don't see where their leaving the European Union will be affecting us" He added: "What we do hope and Know is that that agreement with Cariforum will remain, it is very important for the region."

In the framework of the first Steering Committee on the Aide Memoire between the European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC) on measures to strengthen the financial management of the AUC, the African Union Commission and the European Union (EU) signed today, 29 June 2016 the African Union Support Programme III (AUSP III). The program has a new cofunding of €51 Million (85% European Union and 15% African Union Commission). During the meeting between the two partners, the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha expressed gratitude for the support the European Union has been providing to the African Union over the years.

"Catastrophic" levels of illegal fishing in west Africa are costing the region millions in lost revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs, a development think tank said Wednesday. Countries such as Senegal, Sierra Leone and Mauritania are missing out on vital income because of the masses of fish taken from their waters by trawlers from as far afield as South Korea, according to research by Britain's Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Senegal lost $300 million, or 2.0 percent of its GDP, to the practice in 2012, while Sierra Leone - one of the region's poorest nations - missed out on $29 million, said the report, entitled "Western Africa's Missing Fish". A lack of government transparency in the region, limited capacity to patrol the seas and legal loopholes once west Africa's fish arrive in Europe, its biggest market, were all contributing to the situation, report author Alfonso Daniels told AFP.