October 2015
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Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Commission confirmed its zero tolerance policy against illegal fishing worldwide by warning the Comoros Islands that they risk being identified as uncooperative countries in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. At the same time, the Commission is lifting the yellow cards from Ghana and Papua New Guinea, which have significantly reformed their fisheries governance system. The Commission also adopted a Communication on the key achievements of the IUU Regulation in the first five years of its enforcement. Fiji, Belize, Togo and Vanuatu have also  reformed their systems, following a warning by the EU.

Christian Reboul, head of development finance advocacy for Oxfam France explains that French plans to further cut its development aid budget in 2016 is contrary to the commitments made to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals. In the new draft budget for 2016, presented on Wednesday (30 September), official development assistance (ODA) budget is set to fall by 6%, equivalent to a reduction of €170 million. According to Mr. Reboul, this is in direct contradiction to the pledges that the French president made at the SDG summit. To compensate for the cuts to ODA, France has focused on developing innovative sources of finance, like the Financial Transaction Tax.

The ambassador of the United Kingdom to Angola, John Dennis, announced the interest of British businessmen to invest in the agriculture sector in the central Benguela province. According to the diplomat, the diversification of the economy is a matter that interests the two countries.  John Dennis spoke of the British interest in the agricultural sector in Benguela that matter will be one of the report's points to be drafted for the UK businesspeople.

Next week (13 October), the European Parliament will vote on whether to accept the European Commission’s proposal to tighten rules concerning organic farming in the EU. This will also include whether to accept tighter controls on organic food imports from third non-EU countries. Under proposed rules, organic farmers in the EU would be subject to stricter limits on pesticide use in comparison to conventional farming. This has received much criticisim. Indeed, there seems to be parliamentary support for the rejection of stricter limits in organic production, such as synthetic pesticide levels. On imports, experts have suggested that the EU should work to align its standards with those of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Wednesday, 07 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.