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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The European Union has already started work on what would soon replace the Cotonou Agreement. The Cotonou Agreement, which was signed in 2000, comes to an end in 2020. It is one of the most comprehensive partnership agreements between EU and the African, Caribbean and the Pacific countries. Commissioner Neven Mimica said keeping in line with the new direction in development that EU intends to take, it was important that any successive agreement provided foundation for stronger trade and development.

Funds in the form of budget support will be coming Fiji’s way through the European Union. EU officials in Brussels have confirmed that budget support for sectors such as agriculture (sugar) amongst others will be coming Fiji’s way. It is understood that F$10million has already been committed under the budget support programme for the country’s sugar industry. This has also been confirmed by the Fijian mission in Brussels.

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimca says EU countries face the task of ensuring that any growth and development in their countries are made in the context of achieving the sustainable development goals. "When it comes to our sustainability we are all developing countries," Mr Mimica said. "Even the most developed countries have to do a lot to build the sustainable development policy into their countries.

The Ghana Vegetable (GhanaVeg) Programme, which was introduced by the Dutch government, is working through the horticultural value chain to help Ghana overturn a European Union (EU) ban on exports of selected vegetables. The EU last year banned the exports of chillies, aubergine and other vegetables from Ghana to stop the introduction of pests into the ecosystem of the EU.

The European Union (EU) and the Samoan Government have signed a 20.2 million Euro/SAT 58 million in Water and Sanitation. This Financial agreement was signed by the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development, Neven Mimica during the European Development Day summit in Brussels yesterday. European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mimica stated that the agreement would strengthen the cooperation with Samoa in water and sanitation.

Refugees, climate change and poverty; there is no lack of issues to discuss for members of the European Parliament and representatives of 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). They have been talking for three days in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, in a meeting that is held twice a year. Apart from the current issues on the agenda, there is another topic that's been steadily gaining importance. The Cotonou Agreement, which currently regulates cooperation between the European Union and the ACP states, expires in 2020.

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department has contributed €12.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP). The United Nations programme plans to use the bulk of the contribution to provide sorghum to more than 100,000 displaced people in Darfur for several months. Sorghum is a staple food in Sudan. WFP plans to provide the grain to 137,000 displaced Darfuris for three months with €10.5 million of the contribution, along with pulses for more than 180,000 South Sudanese refugees for six months. WFP will also use part of the contribution to support 88,200 displaced people across Darfur with cash-based transfers in the form of food vouchers for three months.

As the world marks the Refugee Day today, the United Kingdom has announced an additional 15 million pounds (47.158bn/-) in humanitarian aid to help the ever-increasing displaced Burundians in Tanzania. The support brings the total UK assistance to the current refugee influx to £29.25 million (90bn/-) since June 2015. This follows a previously provided £14.25 million for food, medical care and clean water to help the growing number of Burundians who have fled their country since April 2015 to seek refuge in Tanzania.

Vice-President Nickey Iyambo has stressed that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union (EU) should be interpreted carefully to benefit the citizens of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. Iyambo believes that if mishandled, the agreements may impoverish and bring more suffering to the affected countries. He made the remarks when he officiated at the opening ceremony of the 42nd ACP and 31st EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the capital yesterday.

If the United Kingdom (UK) were to pull out of the European Union (EU), it would have repercussions in terms of its trade regimes with Africa and it would also have to redefine its position with its trade partners in SADC after so many years of negotiations, Dr Kaire Mbuende, the Namibian Ambassador to the EU, has said. The Britons vote on 23 June 2016 whether their country should remain within the EU or leave the organisation. Mbuende further said that in the last few years, Africa has been dealing primarily with the EU in terms of economic partnership and the UK was significant to that partnership.

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