Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The migrant crisis on Europe's doorstep has returned to the headlines. In reality, it never went away; people are fleeing war, persecution, or just seeking a better life in unprecedented numbers. The pressure will grow unless we take urgent steps to address the drivers of this crisis. In Africa, 55,000 jobs will need to be created every day just to absorb new entrants into the workforce by 2035. If the economic aspirations of this young population cannot be met in their own countries, we will see more uncontrolled and unsustainable migration. Britain is at the forefront of the response. We are taking immediate steps to protect our borders and tackle people smuggling.

The European Union (EU) says it has so far committed over 700 million euros for the development of sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries from 2014 to 2020. The Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis, said this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in ECOWAS region. Cornelis said access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of the grants to ECOWAS countries.

The European Union and Nigeria on Monday agreed to facilitate EU investment flow into Nigeria. Ambassador and Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arion, made this known in Abuja at a political dialogue between a Nigerian delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, and 20 representatives of EU’s member states in Nigeria. Arion said: “I will say that what we can do is to facilitate the EU investment in Nigeria which will be absolutely key, not only at the level of bilateral relations but in other fora.” He said that the meeting focused on Buhari’s three-point agenda of security, economy and corruption as well as others which include irregular migration and the humanitarian situation in the North East.

The further you travel from Brussels, the likelier people are to see Brexit as an opportunity. I’m in Kampala, discussing post-EU commercial prospects with business and political leaders from across East Africa. While not everyone here started as a Leaver, there is now a widespread hope that Brexit will lead to more open trade arrangements, above all in farming, which employs two thirds of Africa’s workforce. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy treats Africa as an economic colony. Brussels applies tariffs to tomato sauce, but not to tomatoes; to chocolate, but not to cocoa beans; to roasted coffee, but not to green coffee.

With the world on the brink of an unprecedented four famines, donor countries must urgently step up efforts to tackle the structural causes of hunger and poverty. Food security and sustainable agriculture are among the European Union’s key priorities for development cooperation. The EU is committed to longterm solutions, including empowering smallholders, in particular women, and supporting environmentally sustainable approaches in agriculture. In practice, however, its development aid to the agricultural sector does not live up to its commitments. An Oxfam analysis of more than 7,500 EU-funded projects reveals a significant lack of transparency in reporting, casting doubt on the accountability of the EU’s aid.