Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 21 October 2017

In the months since it took office in January, The Gambia's new government has made trade an important part of its plans for growth, job creation, and democratic consolidation. The country featured prominently at the recent Aid for Trade Global Review at World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva. Vice-President Fatoumata Tambajang, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment Isatou Touray and Minister of Tourism Hamat Bah attended the 11-12 July gathering, which they used to showcase domestic policy reforms and urge aid donors and the private sector to invest in building supply-side capacity in The Gambia. The International Trade Centre has been working to support The Gambia's efforts to develop trade capacity for inclusive economic growth, with a focus on creating jobs for youth and women.

The migrant crisis on Europe's doorstep has returned to the headlines. In reality, it never went away; people are fleeing war, persecution, or just seeking a better life in unprecedented numbers. The pressure will grow unless we take urgent steps to address the drivers of this crisis. In Africa, 55,000 jobs will need to be created every day just to absorb new entrants into the workforce by 2035. If the economic aspirations of this young population cannot be met in their own countries, we will see more uncontrolled and unsustainable migration. Britain is at the forefront of the response. We are taking immediate steps to protect our borders and tackle people smuggling.

The further you travel from Brussels, the likelier people are to see Brexit as an opportunity. I’m in Kampala, discussing post-EU commercial prospects with business and political leaders from across East Africa. While not everyone here started as a Leaver, there is now a widespread hope that Brexit will lead to more open trade arrangements, above all in farming, which employs two thirds of Africa’s workforce. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy treats Africa as an economic colony. Brussels applies tariffs to tomato sauce, but not to tomatoes; to chocolate, but not to cocoa beans; to roasted coffee, but not to green coffee.

With the world on the brink of an unprecedented four famines, donor countries must urgently step up efforts to tackle the structural causes of hunger and poverty. Food security and sustainable agriculture are among the European Union’s key priorities for development cooperation. The EU is committed to longterm solutions, including empowering smallholders, in particular women, and supporting environmentally sustainable approaches in agriculture. In practice, however, its development aid to the agricultural sector does not live up to its commitments. An Oxfam analysis of more than 7,500 EU-funded projects reveals a significant lack of transparency in reporting, casting doubt on the accountability of the EU’s aid.

G20 leaders in Hamburg will on Saturday hail their “Africa Compact” as a bold new initiative to boost investment and end poverty on the continent. Germany has billed the “trade, not aid” deal it developed during its G20 presidency as a quantum leap, supplementing traditional development aid with a new public-private partnerships to create jobs and improve infrastructure. For Europe it comes at a crucial time, Berlin says: throttling the flow of migrants to Europe. “We in Germany have a fundamental interest of good economic development in Africa and that’s why we are discussing a Marshall plan for Africa,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a nod to the American plan that rebuilt postwar Europe.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Nigerian Government Monday, deliberated with the European Union (EU) delegation on ways to facilitate trade and investment in Nigeria.The agreement was reached at the meeting between the Ambassador and Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michell Arion, and the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. Also at the meeting, which held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were other ministry officials as well as 20 representatives of EU member states.The Minister noted that the meeting was subsequent upon the communiqué signed last year between Nigeria and EU, which focused on security, corruption, prosperity, migration and human development.

For a developing country exporter, for example, of fresh bananas from the Philippines seeking market access to the EU, it is necessary to comply with at least seven categories of sustainability standards, from food safety controls to labelling standards, with each category of compliance carrying with it a range of production guidelines and documentation – a somewhat daunting prospect for a semi-literate farming producer in rural Mindanao. As such, one of the major contemporary challenges facing developing country firms, and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) today, is the ever-increasing number of regulations and sustainability standards they are required to conform to if they are to integrate into global value chains (GVCs).

Aid for trade (AfT) is explicitly addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under Goal 8: “Promotesustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” For AfT to deliver on the ambitions of this goal in Africa, along with the objectives contained in the African Union’s (AU) long-term development vision and action plan, Agenda 2063, it is important to ensure that it is well-targeted and aligned with the continent’s strategic priority of structural transformation.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director. Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, says the Federal Government has developed "Conduits of Excellence (CoE)" to ensure consistent and stringent quality management for all exportable products. Mr. Awolowo told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday that the Federal Government had also set up a committee for the realisation of the objective. According to him, the committee will work under the technical guidance of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO. He also said the committee would also develop the code of practice and Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, for production and processing of selected products.

Globalisation and technological change have contributed significantly to driving economic growth and raising living standards across the globe. However, globalisation has created challenges and its benefits have not been shared widely enough. By bringing together developed and emerging market economies, the G20 is determined to shape globalisation to benefit all people. Most importantly, we need to better enable our people to seize its opportunities. We are resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.