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EDITO
Sunday, 22 October 2017

Africa remains one of the most difficult markets to penetrate, riddled by bankability issues and a distinct lack of the right kind of strategic partnerships. To expedite and support solar investment on the continent, SolarPower Europe and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) have teamed up to facilitate business cooperation between African and European stakeholders. The RECP is a development programme funded by the European Commission and several EU member states including Austria, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

François Hollande has announced an increase to France’s official development assistance budget for 2017, putting an end to several consecutive years of funding cuts. EurActiv France reports. “France must set the example on development assistance,” the president told an assembly of French ambassadors at a meeting in Paris on Tuesday (30 August). With negotiations on France’s 2017 finance bill looming on the horizon, Hollande promised to increase France’s development spending, which has suffered year-on-year cuts since he began his mandate in 2012.

Strict aid accounting rules mean the international community is reluctant to finance security operations in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, leaving France all but alone in tackling this sensitive issue. Sandwiched between the Sahara desert and Africa’s tropical forests, the Sahel region is in dire need of peace and security. As several experts noted at the Convergences World Forum in Paris this week, the region’s development is being held back by a lack of international interest in solving its security problems.

The port of Antwerp and the port of San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire are to collaborate over the next few years to manage further expansion of this West African entrepot. San Pedro, the leading cacao port in the world, aims to develop at regional level so as to become a logistics hotspot for handling commodities such as fertilisers, cashew nuts and cacao, among other things. To achieve this ambition, work will start next year on construction of a logistics platform under the name of “San Pedro Logistique.”

As a result of Brexit, the UK is seeking out new trading partners and has set itself the task of achieving ''record high'' trade with Ghana by the year 2020. A UK/Ghana Chamber of Commerce has been formed to drive that goal, and according to British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, Ghana would have to address regulatory bottlenecks, including licensing rules, customs procedures and land registration issues, to make it possible.