Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Spanish engineering and consulting firm Incatema Consulting has obtained the green light from the Angolan government for an agropastoral project in the Samba Caju municipality in Cuanza Norte province. The news was announced by the Angolan news agency (Angop). With an overall cost of $73 million, the initiative aims to develop the region’s agricultural potential in line with the government’s objective of promoting projects that improve agricultural production and processing. According to Angop, the Angolan Finance Ministry is expected to support the Spanish company by creating the necessary conditions for the project to be carried out.

For the first time in ten years, famine is no longer in retreat across the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This disaster can in part by explained by climate change and armed conflicts. But it is also the result of free trade agreements, which impose a lifting of cross-border restrictions that is destabilising for local agriculture. The winds of free trade are blowing across the African continent. On the one hand, the European Union is stepping up its pressure on African countries to finalise the signature of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), and to end non-reciprocal trade preferences: in order to retain the exemption from tariffs on their exports to Europe, Africans will have to remove 80% of those applying to imports from the Single Market.

The French ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, Gilles Huberson, on Tuesday called on French companies to meet the Africa challenge during the closing ceremony of the first stage of Rencontres Africa 2017, an economic event aimed at strengthening the partnership between Africa and France. Ambassador Huberson welcomed the success of the first stage of Rencontres Africa, which bore fruit with the exceptional participation of French companies.

From his chair in the middle of a pile of pineapples, Jean-Xavier Satola supervises cutting and packaging, as Benin — Africa’s fourth-biggest exporter of the fruit — starts trading again after an eight-month self-imposed absence. The fields of Allada in southern Benin are a hive of activity as about 20 men, in trousers to protect them from the spiky leaves, pick the pineapples while women load them in baskets and carry them away on their heads. The smooth, fat, yellow Cayenne variety of pineapples are washed, packed into cardboard boxes and put on a lorry. Eight hundred boxes will leave on a plane for Europe that evening. Satola has been in the pineapple business for 30 years and as soon as he got the green light from the government was Benin’s first trader to resume exports. “I’m at 46 tonnes since the start of the year. It’s less than half than in September 2016,” he said. “Resumption is slow. Some of our European clients are hesitant. But we’re exporting more guaranteed quality now.”

Kenya has launched a fresh push for the conclusion of long-pending trade deal between the European Union and the East African Community (EAC) amid risks of losing preferential access for its products to the main European market. Kenya and Rwanda signed the deal in 2016, but it needs approval from all members of the East African Community bloc - which also includes Burundi and Uganda - to take effect.