October 2015
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Monday, 05 October 2015

The next Brussels Briefing on the subject of “Emerging donors and rising powers in agriculture in ACP countries” will take place on Tuesday 27 October 2015 from 9:00h to 13:00h at the ACP Secretariat (451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels, Room C ). The will discuss the key challenges and new opportunities to enhance South-South and Triangular cooperation. The Briefing will: i) review successes and the lessons learned from research and practice; ii) promote the exchange of information on best practices and drivers of success; iii) feed into the debate various perspectives on policy options.

The Brussels Briefing on ‘Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development’ took place on Thursday 17 September 2015 at the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Secretariat. Five women: three from sub-Saharan Africa, one from the Caribbean and one from the Pacific region, gave fascinating accounts of starting and managing agribusinesses. They talked about the factors that had driven their success and the challenges they face. Read the stories: Lovin Kobusingye, Kati Farms, Uganda; Simone Zoundi, Sodepal, Burkina Faso; Alberta Vitale, Women in Business Inc., Samoa;Rosemund Benn, Pomeroon Women’s Agro-Processor Association, Guyana; and Tepsy Ntseoane, Eve’s Eden, South Africa.

The historical ties between the EU and Africa have undergone significant change in the past decade. While development aid remains an instrument for engagement with the African countries, security concerns and economic relations have gained traction. While the EU, as a bloc, remains Africa’s largest trading partner, it is facing increasing competitive pressures from the United States and China. At this roundtable organized by the German Marshall Fund, Secretary General of the ACP explained the need to deconstruct the discourse and recognize that trade in commodities have not brought economic transformation in ACP countries.

The EU-ACP Partnership Agreement expires in 2020. To facilitate a well-informed, evidence based and multi-actor dialogue on the future of this relationship, ECDPM initiated an independent political economy analysis (PEA) of the ACP-EU partnership. This type of analysis does not look at “what should be done” to revitalise the relationship but at “what kind of reforms are feasible” in the current political and institutional context. It is hoped that this will help parties to ensure that future cooperation arrangements are fit for purpose to deal with the international cooperation challenges of the 21st century.

Friday, 02 October 2015

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) called on Italy to invest in Zambia and the COMESA region to boost the economy. COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said more than 870 million people were undernourished while others died from ailments, hence the need for all member states to develop sustainable lifestyles and use best technology to create a balance between availability and consumption of resources. The announcement was made during the presentation of credentials by Italy’s special representative to COMESA in Lusaka yesterday that Italy was the key contributor to the European Development Fund through which COMESA has both bilateral and multilateral relations.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron to address to the regional reparation demand for slavery, when visiting Jamaica. The chairman of the Reparation Commission, Hilary Beckles, said in an open letter to the British Prime Minister that the reparation issue is vital because legacies of slavery that continue to derail, undermine and haunt our best efforts at sustainable economic development of the region. The letter recalled that UK and other European nations amassed large fortunes and strengthened their economies through the wealth extracted from the Caribbean territories and through the exploitation of Caribbean people and land. The UK PM announced a £300M development package for various sectors of the economy.

Foreign investors, mostly from Norway, have now taken notice of the potential of the aquaculture industry in Kenya. Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni Ntiba explains that the Government has a robust strategic plan for aquaculture development: “There are many things that need to be done in Kenya to upscale aquaculture development, and we invite our Norwegian partners to put their resources into this sector.” Norway has a highly developed aquaculture industry, from breeding to harvesting of fish, to value addition and marketing, and the country is looking to export its model to Kenya, and the larger East Africa region.

Thursday, 01 October 2015

The Governement of Zimbabwe is in consultation with the European Union to identify a future programme to support with the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Phillippe Van Damme explained that the EU, together with the ministries of Industry and Commerce and Finance and Economic Development and in close consultation with the private sector, was identifying a future programme for the country. Next year, the EU and private sector partners are expected to launch a €7 million fund to help government upgrade its investment policy on trade and facilitation and regional integration.

NGOs have recently criticized French President François Hollande for failing to tackle climate change despite his announcement of a €4 billion increase to the French development budget in 2020, but has been criticised by NGOs. At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit (25 to 27 September), François Hollande announced that "France has decided to increase its official development assistance (ODA) to release an extra €4 billion from 2020." But as Nicolas Vercken, Oxfam France's lead advocate for humanitarian issues, said, "François Hollande's declaration is unclear: his mandate ends in 2017, and up to now the pattern [of aid funding] has been the opposite." Oxfam has called for additional development funds and criticized the approach of "trying to dress up loans as grants, which has become a bad habit for France".

The European Commission communication ‘Trade, Growth and Development’ was published in January 2012 as a direct spin-off of the more general communication ‘Trade, Growth and World Affairs. It was also a response to the criticism leveled by many non-Governmental organisations, governments of developing countries and other stakeholders at the Commission’s trade policies (in particular economic partnership agreements) with traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific partners. The communication secured greater clarity and coordination between development-and trade-oriented policies.

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