September 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González



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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Brussels has launched a 'Marshall Plan' for Africa contemplating an initial expenditure of 3.7 billion euros but with an investment potential of up to 88 billion euros in an attempt to tackle the root causes of migration to Europe. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has described the plan as a 'Copernican revolution'. The aim is to promote development, employment and stability in Africa by creating opportunities for EU companies and beneficiary countries. The European Commission hopes to see the plan in place befoe the EU-Africa summit in March 2017.

The European Union's new 44 billion euro (37.73 billion pounds) Africa fund aims to entice private investors to some of the world's poorest nations and slow mass migration to Europe, the EU's development chief Neven Mimica said. The fund, unveiled last week by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, could be up and running by mid-2017, Mimica said, and is based on a similar, larger fund for Europe already operating. It will rely mainly on private investors and development banks to fund selected commercial projects that might otherwise be considered too risky for funding by commercial lenders, Mimica told Reuters in an interview.

The cost of disaster is critical in determining the support and impact on countries and the Federated States of Micronesia has been struggling to determine the full cost of Typhoons Maysak and Dolphin in 2015 and the recent crippling drought. To support this process, a Post Disasters Needs Assessment training is being conducted for disaster experts from the four states of FSM — Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap. The training which begins today in Colonia, Yap, is supported by the Pacific Community or SPC and the European Union through the ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project.

The 79 Member States of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) welcomes this timely and relevant meeting on migration. The ACP-European Union Cotonou Agreement provides for an on-going dialogue on migratory flows which is jointly pursued to address protection of human rights, non-discrimination in treatment of third country nationals, and of strategies to reduce poverty, the basic issue of the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration. In our view, Migration phenomena are a pervasive reality of a globalised century.

The European Parliament has approved an agreement granting duty-free access to the European Union market for products from Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, and improved market access for South Africa. A press release from Delegation of the European Union to Botswana says the agreement that Members of European Parliament (MEPs) approved, on Wednesday, by 417 votes to 216, with 66 abstentions "will help our African partner states to reduce poverty and can also facilitate their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy."

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The European Commission today proposed to set up a new European External Investment Plan (EIP) to encourage investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood, strengthen partnerships and contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Announcing the initiative, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, said: “If we look at the Middle East and Africa, we see regions with a huge potential that is being held back by war, poverty, the lack of infrastructure, and weak governance. Our European Union is already the first donor worldwide: we invest more in development cooperation than the rest of the world combined.

SA has told the European Commission and EU trade partners that Brexit should not reduce access to European markets for South African products. With the timing and terms of Britain’s exit from the EU still to be negotiated SA is positioning itself. Until Brexit, SA will continue trading with the UK in terms of its trade agreement with the EU. But Brexit will require SA to negotiate a separate trade agreement with the UK. The main element of the economic partnership agreement signed last year between the EU and several Southern African states, including SA, was to determine a number of tariff quotas on products such as sugar and wine, which provided greater access for South African products

Just over one month (at the time of writing) has passed since the UK voted to withdraw its membership from the European Union. There remains much to do ahead of the final withdrawal once Article 50 has been triggered, and a significant degree of uncertainty still exists. The impact of the announcement has been felt in sub-Saharan African, with many expecting that there will be noticeable consequences for trade into and out of Africa. The immediate aftermath of the referendum saw great volatility in African markets, the South African Rand plummeted in value the day following the announcement of the result.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Foreign envoys accredited to Rwanda have reaffirmed their countries' commitment to supporting refugees in the country. The pledge was made on Thursday as nine ambassadors and high commissioners from US, Canada, Kenya, Egypt, United Kingdom, Belgium, European Union, Germany, and South Korea, toured Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe District, home to 50, 013 Burundian refugees. The tour was organised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.

Following the political earthquake that saw Britain vote to leave the EU, government ministers are already preparing for life outside the EU. But the Caribbean could be left behind. Among the many issues they considered was Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Their focus was on a secretariat paper largely intended for information. While they recognised the British people’s decision represented a watershed in world affairs with far-reaching and long-lasting geopolitical and geo-economic repercussions, they decided that the best approach was to monitor developments as the process unfolds.