Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2018
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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders opened on Tuesday 24th October, in the presence of HRH Princess Astrid, a seminar on human rights in the private sector. The topic of the seminar was more specifically the prevention and abolition of child labor in the cocoa supply chain. Cocoa is the main export product of Côte d’Ivoire. Minister Reynders’ speech was followed by other interventions, testimonies and a debate where all parties involved in this topic were brought together.

The European Parliament backed by a large majority the EU budget for 2018 on Wednesday (25 October), earning praise from NGOs for increasing funds for humanitarian and development aid. But the EU Council said it cannot accept all the MEPS’ amendments. MEPs set the overall EU budget for 2018 at €162.6 billion (+1.2% on the Commission’s draft budget) for commitments and €146.7 billion (+0.9%) for payments. In comparison, the Commission proposed setting the total level of commitments at €160.6 billion and payments at €145.4 billion. But member states on 12 July decided to cut the Commission’s proposals by €1.2 billion.

The Ambassador of Italy to Sudan, Fabrizo Fabrizio Lobasso, pointed out that Italy is giving a special concern to the Horn of Africa region, particularly Sudan due to its role in the region. Interviewed by Sudan News Agency (SUNA), he said that Sudan is living up to its commitments and working seriously to enhance its cooperation with the international community. The Italian Ambassador said that Sudan is showing credibility to be a distinguished partner in the international community for protecting stability at the area.

Monday, 30 October 2017

According to a representative from the Belize Electricity Limited, Vonetta Burrell, Public Relations Manager, the current coverage of BEL in the country is at 92% and is expected to reach 98% by 2020. With a GOB-EU-BEL initiative over 200 communities and a total of 5,000 households in both new and existing communities will be impacted. The project will require approximately $35 million to achieve and as a part of achieving that, residents in Cowpen have received electricity for the first time. As a part of the European Union’s mission to improve lives, as well as that shared mission with BEL, several banana farms were beneficiaries of the project

An EU-funded index measuring biodiversity in food production is expected to be launched next year, giving investors a benchmark for assessing how companies and governments are making food systems more resilient to climate change. Investing in food species such as drought-tolerant Ethiopian durum wheat or the frost-resistant Andean grain canahua can make food supply chains more resistant to climate shocks, according to research published on Tuesday by Bioversity International.

As part of Belize’s Diplomatic Week and Independence Celebrations, the third political dialogue session between the European Union (EU) and Belize took place in Belmopan on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. The cordial and constructive dialogue offered a platform for consultations over a broad range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, as well as an opportunity to take stock of progress made concerning ‘essential elements’ of the Cotonou Agreement, including respect for human rights, democratic principles and good governance.

The European Union (EU) has allocated over 484 million Euros under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to projects in Zambia. Zambia’s Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said the EU has disbursed the funds towards sectors such as Agriculture, Energy, Governance and Infrastructure for the period 2014 to 2020. This is according to a press statement made available to ZANIS by First Secretary Press and Public Relations at Zambia’s High Commission to South Africa Naomi Nyawali. And Zambia has sped up the absorption of over 80% of the 484 million Euros grants allocated to Zambia under the 11th European Development fund EDF.

The European Union (EU) has set aside $7 million (R96 million) for proposals for a project that would strengthen the agriculture value chain in Zimbabwe. The funding was included in the 11th European Development Fund and National Indicative Plan, signed by the European Union and Zimbabwe in February 2015. In implementing the plan the European Union had allocated $50 million (€40 million, R640 million) up until 2020, towards developing the country’s agricultural sector.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Speaking to the press after the first round of talks at the EU summit on Thursday (19 October), Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that EU action was “reaching its limits” due to insufficient financing. “We are reaching our limits when it comes to this Emergency Trust Fund for Africa,” Juncker said. “We started by saying that we would take €1.8bn in our hands in order to be helpful to Africa, then we increased this to €2.5, then to €2.9, then to €3.1bn, money the Commission was providing by restructuring the existing budget. Member states have so far committed €175m, this is clearly not enough,” he stated.

Africa and Europe have long-standing relations, based in particular on a series of agreements between the European Union (EU) and the group of 79 ACP countries (Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean, Pacific). The Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000 for 20 years, kept the structure of its predecessors, from a time when Europe was negotiating with its former African colonies. It rests on three pillars: development cooperation, trade relations and political dialogue. It is urgent to realise that the context of cooperation has changed radically and that our partnership with Africa is out of date. Even more importantly, we need to wake up to what Africans expect from us.