August 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González



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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Africa and Asia could take the EU’s place as exporters of fruit and veg for the UK following Brexit, retailers say. An overwhelming 43% of retailers anticipate a reduction in produce sources from the EU and around a third say they are considering sourcing from a different region. Africa is expected to be a key supplier, with 38% of respondents expecting to see more African products in the UK.

An intercontinental game of chess is playing out in East Africa and it appears that Tanzania and Uganda are holding Kenya to ransom. For the last decade the East African Community (EAC) and the EU have been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that would allow tariff and quota free trading between the two trading blocs. The EAC is made up of five member states: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. South Sudan’s application to join the EAC was accepted in April but there is still a lot of paperwork to be done before it becomes a full member.

Monday, 22 August 2016

This week Ghana decided to sign and ratify the Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. In welcoming the decision, EU Ambassador William Hanna said: "This new agreement will provide a long-term predictable framework to help increase trade and investment. It is a win/win deal for Ghana and the European Union."He said Ghanaian exporting companies will preserve the duty-free preferences on the European market that today make them competitive. This means no quotas and no duties on all Ghanaian exports to the European market.

The European Union Tuesday announced that it was making available EURO 50,000 (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) to Belize in humanitarian funding following the passage of Hurricane Earl last week. The EU said that the funding to assist the most affected populations. The storm, which hit the country on August 4 as a Category One hurricane, caused widespread damage and the authorities are still assessing its impact. Schools, markets, airports and ports were closed, and water supplies affected in several parts of the country.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development is touring East Africa in an effort to demonstrate France’s willingness to reclaim its place as a key investor in Kenya and Tanzania. Here is a brief overview of his visit, which started August 1st. The former Prime Minister’s visit to the region is regarded as long-overdue. Indeed, the last time a French Minister of Foreign Affairs visited the region was 15 years ago. Ayrault stated that it was time that France recognizes the existence of an economic and technological boom in Nigeria and Tanzania thanks in part to the development of the renewable energy and mobile banking sectors.

Calls for a post-Brexit return to the Commonwealth ignore the existing privileged EU-Africa trade relationship as well as the UK’s now diminished trade influence, argues Peg Murray-Evans. In a speech to the Institute of Chartered Engineers in February, David Davis MP – now Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – told the audience: ‘The only Commonwealth country to enjoy a free trade agreement with the EU so far is South Africa.’ In fact, there are free trade agreements either awaiting adoption or in force between the EU and 32 Commonwealth countries. Regardless of its accuracy, Davis’s assertion reflects a broader narrative put forward by the ‘liberal leavers’ in the Brexit campaign.

WFP has recently expanded its use of cash transfers to several other camps across Ethiopia, and, with the addition of the two new sites, now supports 10 refugee camps with cash. This increase has been made possible thanks to the valuable support of WFP's donors and, in particular, a new contribution of €85 million (approximately US$92 million) from the European Commission's humanitarian aid department, which will also help strengthen the resilience of Ethiopians affected by El Niño and support the WFP-led logistics cluster. "Despite the immense challenges posed by the worst drought in decades, Ethiopia has maintained its open-door policy for refugees.

The European Commission has released €40 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to South Sudan in the wake of recent clashes in the country. The donation, the Commission said in a statement, brings to €103 million its total support for the young nation for 2016. An outbreak of violence in the young nation early this month has displaced more than 40,000 people, agencies said, as the renewed fighting threatens peace and stability. "The recent deadly escalation of hostilities in South Sudan is extremely worrying and threatens the very fragile situation in the country. The EU stands by those most in need caught up in the conflict.

The Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston Recovery Project is calling for proposals to improve the production and trading capabilities of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture farmers whose local and export trade has been adversely affected. IRP is managed by the Pacific Community (SPC) and funded by the European Union. The EU has provided around $4.6m to support recovery efforts through the IRP project.

The economic partnership agreement (EPA) is the EU’s current model framework governing trade, investment and cooperation with developing countries on a reciprocal basis. It is the successor to the Cotonou Agreement of 2000 with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Only the Caribbean has signed an EPA. The EU has sought to negotiate with African regional groups. This has proved challenging since the membership of the bodies are at different stages of development. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) provides a good example. Nigeria and The Gambia have declined to sign an EPA for the community.