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EDITO
Wednesday, 26 July 2017

On Thursday 8 December 2016 during his working visit to Brussels, Mr Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin, chaired the signing ceremony between the Republic of Benin and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a financing agreement for the development and modernisation of the drinking water supply system of the city of Cotonou. The EUR 30m finance contract was signed by Mr Romuald Wadagni, Benin’s Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Mr Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President. This loan forms part of the EU's priority action to deploy and modernise basic infrastructure that can help improve the daily lives of the local population. This is the EIB's second financing operation in this sector after the one granted (EUR 13m) in 2007 and completed in 2015.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the European Union have had a consultative meeting with PRECON Food Management on how far has the consultancy agreement to secure the European Union Export Market Certification for Sierra Leone’s Fisheries and Marine exports to EU markets have gone. PRECON Food Management is a Netherlands-based Consultancy Firm. Giving an overview on the said agreement, the Senior Director of the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President, Professor Victor Strasser King said the meeting was also geared towards the urgent need to accomplishing the certification exercise and to engender broadened technical support and to also collaborate with development partners in the fishing sector. He said the Ministry contracted PRECON to ensure they obtained transparency in the country’s fishing industry.

President Hage Geingob’s recent trip to France and the United Kingdom (UK) has reignited investor interest in Namibia in the areas of tourism, renewable energy, water, agriculture, fisheries and transport. Deputy Prime Minister and international relations minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and Cabinet ministers Obeth Kandjoze, Calle Schlettwein and John Mutorwa accompanied Geingob, while Pohamba Shifeta joined him later in France. A business delegation also accompanied him to both countries. Explaining the importance of the trip, Presidential press secretary, Albertus Aochamub indicated that in the era of economic diplomacy that is being spearheaded by Geingob, face-to-face engagements are critical.

The Wallonia export investment agency, AWEX, is active encouraging South African businesses expanding into Europe to make the southern Belgian region of Wallonia their home base. Belgium region Wallonia open for SA businesses expanding to Europe Wallonia, recently named one of the European Commission’s two preferred European Creative Districts because of its strategy to drive innovation, offers a favourable tax regime, grants and commercial property pricing designed to attract foreign investment and expansion into the region. Several South African companies, including Bidvest, NTP, Sappi, Mondi and The Airplane Factory, operate from Wallonia.

A regional organization says the European Union (EU) plans to boost Caribbean competitiveness by strengthening regional partnerships. On Saturday, the Guadeloupe-based STC INTERREG Caraïbes said that INTERREG V Caribbean, a multimillion dollar EU-funded programme to strengthen regional partnerships, will be officially launched in St. Lucia on Wednesday. In addition to boosting the economic competitiveness of the region’s countries, the INTERREG V Caribbean programme will also respond to environmental challenges and health issues, while promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region. According to STC INTERREG Caraïbes , the programme focuses on priority areas such employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy.