August 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González



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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Africa’s bid to combat the potentially devastating consequences of climate change has received a major boost with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and European Union announcing plans to spend €3.42 million to bolster low-carbon, climate-resilient development on the continent. Climate change threatens to push millions of people in Africa into extreme poverty by 2030 as crop yields decline, water grows scarce, droughts intensify and food prices increase. Roughly 18 million people on the continent could be affected by floods every year as global warming rises.

On June 13, just days before the U.K. referendum, the African Union announced that it would launch a single African passport — a move that came as a refreshing shift from looking at borders to keep out risks to viewing borders as gateways to achieve higher economic development. The e-Passport, which officially launched on July 17, is an electronic document that permits all AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without visa requirements. Much like the efforts that shaped the EU, the AU passport is a big step toward deeper integration among African nations by mobilizing the vast, wide-ranging resources to strengthen self-reliance and economic solidarity.

The United Kingdom backs the East African Community (EAC) signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, its envoy to Rwanda has said, warning that failure do so would be "regretful". "The reason we support the EPA strongly is because we think it is a very good deal, particularly for the EAC. For any country that expects to become a middle income economy in the next few years, this offers, by the far, the best opportunity to ensure market access in the EU," British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ambassador William Gelling, said.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A united Europe can have a beneficial impact on African development, writes Giles Merritt of the think tank Friends of Europe, but if things go wrong, it will suffer the impacts of African disasters. His message is: “For Europe, Africa spells trouble and opportunity.” Merritt is a former Brussels correspondent for the Financial Times and considers himself a “sceptical Europhile”. His think tank is based in Brussels. In his recent book, which has the title “Slippery slope – Europe's troubled future”, he takes stock of various major trends hat affect the EU, elaborating many issues that I do not want to tackle here.

Britons' pull out of European Union has been extensively covered all over the world, more so, in East Africa, a region whose three founder members Britain colonised, and four of its member countries are affiliated to the Commonwealth. While the leave campaigners in the UK's referendum accused the "remain" camp of overplaying the repercussions of BREXIT, media houses in the EA region, confined their reports on the engines of globalisation-finance, technology trade, treaties, education, travelling and staying in the UK, underplaying as to why the British want to retain their say as a nation.

Of all the issues raised by the UK’s recent Brexit vote, one of those of the most concern is that Africa has been “downgraded”. Judging by the debate over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union and its trading partners, Africa is not even on the Brexit agenda. Across Whitehall and the civil service, the brightest and best minds are being pulled off other activities and into the Brexit negotiations, depleting the already under-resourced Africa teams.

As Britain chose to leave the European Union, sending shock waves through the global markets, experts remain uncertain on how this would impact African economies. Trade and investment would certainly be affected as most of the trade arrangements the UK has with African countries were negotiated through the EU. By 6:30 a.m. on 24 June, less than 12 hours after a successful referendum on Brexit (Britain's exit from the European Union), South Africa's currency, the rand, took the first blow. It plunged by almost 8% from R14.33 to R15.45 against the US dollar, its steepest single-day decline since the 2008 financial crisis.

One of the main economic arguments used by Leave campaigners before the UK's referendum on EU membership in June was that the UK, freed from its EU shackles, would be able to cut its own bilateral trade deals entirely on its own terms, and much quicker than as part of the EU bloc. The UK will remain party to all EU trade agreements until it formally leaves the bloc, and cannot conduct any separate negotiations of its own (...) But the UK is not the only one in limbo. A fortnight after the referendum, Tanzania and Uganda abandoned plans to sign a regional trade agreement between the East African Community (EAC) and the EU citing the political turmoil caused by the Brexit vote.

The Select Committee on Trade and International Relations has called on government and the private sector to capitalise on the new economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Eddie Makue, said the potential for value-added products in the manufacturing sector is large and should be properly harnessed to benefit the regional economy. "The trade that SA does with EU members presents immeasurable opportunities for a growing and developmental economy such as ours.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Cabo Verdean government and the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev) have chosen the Canary Islands Technological Institute (ITC) to draw up technical plans for rural electrification projects in the Cabo Verde islands, reports the newspaper A Semana. The ITC’s mission will be to develop a sustainable plan for micro-networks with renewable energies and micro-network projects for rural communities in the Santiago Island interior, which still does not have an electric power network.

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