August 2015
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Sunday, 30 August 2015

The next Brussels Development Briefings no. 42 on Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development  shall be held on 17th September 2015. Women make essential contributions to agriculture and rural economic activities in ACP countries but still face limitations in integrating the agribusiness sector and upscaling their businesses. This briefing will look at successful business cases led by women entrepreneurs and analysing the drivers of success.

Friday, 07 August 2015

The EU’s process of regional integration has served as an example for many of the emerging economic blocs in Africa, including the East African Community (EAC). The recent, but also long-winded bail out of the Greek state offers many lessons for the continent. One contributor notes that EAC Heads of State should particularly learn a lesson from the importance of consulting the people in order to make informed judgments and sound policy decisions. This contributor does add that the people need to be educated in order to make informed decisions, especially in light of the deep economic integration planned for the economic bloc. The EAC roadmap does include a common currency as corollary to the Customs and Common Union and Common Market.

Representatives of the EU met with officials from the Seychelles to discuss economic, social and political issues, especially concerning good governance, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. During the visit, the EU approved an envelope of €760,000, or around 11 million Seychelles rupees, to help = the public and private sectors in the small island developing state (SIDS) meet the EU's requirements to effectively benefit from trade liberalisation and free market access. Seychelles comprises of 115-islands based in the Indian Ocean archipelago and has a population of 90,000 inhabitants. Its economy relies almost exclusively on tourism and the export of canned tuna. The EU is the Seychelles' largest trading partner - accounting for 66 % of its exports and 33 % of its imports.

Thursday, 06 August 2015

The regional bloc attracted FDI inflow of $7.09b in 2014, up from $6.2b in 2013, with Tanzania leading the way , followed by Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.  Yet, despite high and attractive levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EAC region, analysts are divided over the extent to which this FDI is actually benefiting the region, its people and development.  Trade and investment analyst, and former Ugandan ambassador to the World Trade Organisation Nathan Irumba argues that the type of FDI the region is attracting has limited job creation potential. Irumba reasons that if investments were directed into the agricultural value chain, a sector that employs the majority of East Africans, then more jobs would be created: “If we get more investors in agriculture, especially in the value addition, we would be able to create linkages between what the farmers do on the land and agro processing.”

Sir Ronald Sanders, a prominent diplomat from Antigua and Barbuda and former negotiator of the Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, warned 150 representatives from Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of the risk that the EPA could be the start of a new era in which African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are held captive by European companies. Nigeria has already expressed reservations about the agreement, mostly in relation to the implications foreseen for the country’s economy.

The European Union (EU) and the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) have signed a €14.8 million project to construct agricultural service centres over a period of 4years. The EU is providing about €12.7 million, while ZNFU is contributing €2.1 million of the final sum. The ZNFU will oversea the project activities of upgrading two exiting centres in Choma and Mumbwa, and four new centres will be established in Chibombo, Mpongwe, Lundazi, and Mbala. Out-going head of EU delegation to Zambia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Gilles Hervio said “These centres will be leased to and operated by agribusinesses and private service providers selected on a competitive basis.

During a recent meeting between South Africa and the European Commission, both sides stressed the importance of intensifying action to address the issue of climate challenge at international, regional, national and grassroots levels. Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, met to discuss cooperation on climate change and confirmed that environment and climate change remain a priority area for bilateral cooperation, as outlined in the South Africa – European Union (SA-EU) Strategic Partnership of 2007. Both sides agreed to enhance their dialogue in these areas, notably covering the green and ocean economy in the context of the SA EU Forum on Environment and Sustainable Development.

CTA and the Eastern Africa Grain Institute (EAGI) held a weeklong digital literacy training for farmers and stakeholders in the rural community in Dar el Salaam.  Prof Faustin Kamuzora, a member of the CTA Executive Board representing the Eastern African region and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration, Mzumbe University told journalists in Dar es Salaam that as technological innovation is taking place at a breath-taking pace, equipping skills to as many people in Tanzania is very essential to upgrade their digital literacy:  “Open source internet-based applications and services designed to enhance online collaboration are now available to the wider public at little or no cost at all.”  Participants were introduced to selected web 2.0 applications including social media.

Tuesday, 04 August 2015

The European Union (EU) has launched a new programme called Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities. It provides  88 million (US$95 million) over the next five years and targets funding local climate research centres and help the continent prepare for natural disasters. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural economy and agriculture said, “Over the last decade, Africa lost about 700,000 lives to natural disasters such as floods and droughts (…) Addressing this requires predictable financial resources.” The programme focuses on five priority areas, including:  (i) climate research and data centres; (ii)  increasing regional coordination and disaster risk reduction monitoring.

Monday, 03 August 2015

The next Brussels Development Briefings no. 42 on Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development  shall be held on 17th September 2015. Women make essential contributions to agriculture and rural economic activities in ACP countries but still face limitations in integrating the agribusiness sector and upscaling their businesses. This briefing will look at successful business cases led by women entrepreneurs and analysing the drivers of success.

The Brussels Development Briefings are regular events organised in Brussels by the Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA) – in collaboration with the European Commission, the ACP Group, and other partners – on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU/ACP cooperation. http://brusselsbriefing.net

 

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