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October 2018
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Sunday, 21 October 2018

There is still a long way to go but experts meeting here last Thursday expressed optimism that slow but steady progress was being made toward introducing region-wide laws, rules and regulations intended to make Caribbean fish and seafood not only ready for world trade but safe for Caribbean tables. The experts, drawn from fisheries, legal affairs, food health and safety and standards agencies across ten countries in the Caribbean Forum of ACP States (CARIFORUM), ended two days of deliberations on model legislation, protocols and guidelines for health and food safety related to fisheries and aquaculture.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, signed financing agreements with Kenya, together with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta. The support provided will focus, amongst others, on supporting smallholder agriculture through access to finance, training or market integration. Commissioner Mimica stated: "These projects, worth a total of €104 million, will have a real and tangible impact for Kenyan small holder farmers and for Kenyan people in general. In some of the dry parts of rural Kenya, farmers risk losing their crops or cattle during periods of drought. The Climate proofed water supply programme and the support to market integration of small holder farmers will help ease such problems."

A global assembly of legislators from 27 European Union (EU) states kicks off in Nairobi Monday, providing Kenya with yet another platform to discuss the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Also attending the 32nd Session of ACP­EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) are lawmakers and parliamentary officials drawn from 79 countries in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to preside over the opening ceremony of the high level meeting, which will be hosted for the first time on Kenyan soil. The EPA gives East African Community (EAC) member states duty and quota­free access of their goods to the EU markets as long as they meet set health and safety standards.

Germany’s planned ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa has been greeted with both optimism and scepticism, with its supporters hailing it as a cure for Africa’s age old development problems and its critics questioning Germany’s true intentions. The original Marshall Plan was initiated by the Unite States and was meant to jumpstart European economies following the end of World War Two at a cost of $100 billion. The plan, implemented within four years, chaperoned the fastest period of economic growth in European history that saw industrial production jump to 35%. Germany now wants to transfer a similar plan to Africa, with a view to creating a conducive environment and opportunities for the African youth in particular, by making them stay and find meaningful employment at home rather than looking for work in Europe.

Some significant challenges remain, but Caribbean exporters have made progress with their exports to Europe. This assessment came from head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Daniela Tramacere as she announced that “discussions with CARIFORUM and Caribbean Export are well advanced for a new regional private sector development programme in the amount of EUR 24 million”. Tramacere also said the EU was “convinced that the [economic partnership agreement] can benefit Caribbean countries particularly at this time of stark economic challenges”.

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