February 2016
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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Italy continued on the path of stronger relations on Wednesday as the new Italian Ambassador to the Community presented his credentials at the Secretariat’s Georgetown, Guyana headquarters. Both men emphasised the strength of the friendship between CARICOM and Italy with Mignano pointing to the similarities, particularly of lifestyle, between the region and his country. CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque received the letters of credence from Silvio Mignano who is based in Caracas, Venezuela. LaRocque expressed his pleasure at the Italian envoy joining the CARICOM family and cited the long history of co-operation between that country and the Community.

The Federal Republic of Germany has given the East African Community (EAC) Euros37m (over Sh138b) to support the economic integration, regional health facilities and water resource management. “Germany signed a total of euros 37m in grants to the EAC for 2016-2018, highlighting the strong commitment to support the integration process in East Africa,” a statement issued by EAC headquarters, Arusha has said. Euros10m will be invested in the establishment of a regional network of reference laboratories for communicable diseases, it said.

The government and the European Union have reached an agreement on the use of more than $100 million from the bloc under the National Indicative Programme (NIP) sponsored by the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020). There are expectations that the government will get more funding under the same facility. The government and the EU, in February last year, signed a co-operation agreement for the release of €234 million ($270 million) development assistance, marking the first time since 2002 that the European bloc is channeling funds through Treasury. The funding targets to support health, agriculture and governance and institution building which are sectors that are key in the implementation of Zim-Asset.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The partnership between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group needs to change to remain relevant after 2020. The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) has released an independent political economy analysis study looking at the partnership that links 79 ACP countries with the EU, and mobilizes a large development budget of 30.5 billion euros. The current partnership is over 40 years old, and is underpinned by the legally binding Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), which will expire in 2020. “Discussions on the future of the EU-ACP partnership beyond 2020 are currently in full swing, and the stakes are high.

More than 147 billion CFA F is the amount covered by two agreements signed two days ago between Mali and the European Union. The first relates to the Support Programme for State Reform and the Consolidation of the Rule of Law. The second concerns the new European Development Fund (EDF) Authorising Officer Support Programme. These two agreements fall within the framework of the 11th EDF signed between Mali and the European Union in Brussels concerning aid of more than 400 billion CFA F for Mali.

With the aim of strengthening the capacities of the local authorities, the Commission of the European Union (EU), through its Head of Delegation to Yaoundé, Her Excellency Françoise Collet, announced funding of approximately 13 billion CFA Francs (20 million Euros), for the period 2015-2017. This was at the first sub-regional Conference of Mayors of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) in the political capital of Cameroon, on 15 and 16 January 2016.

Agriculture: The EU is going to provide 45 billion CFA F to the Agricultural Investment Programme. The announcement was made on Tuesday in Yaoundé during an audience granted by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Head of the European Union Delegation to Cameroon. Françoise Collet, Head of the European Union Delegation to Cameroon, was received on Tuesday 12 January 2016 by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henry Eyebe Ayissi.

Friday, 22 January 2016

With nearly 4 million people estimated unable to meet their food needs, South Sudan is on the brink of famine.  As the situation in South Sudan worsens and aid delivery is increasingly challenging, the European Commission has released €20 million in new humanitarian assistance for the country. Food insecurity is at emergency levels. An estimated 40 000 people will face famine if aid is not provided urgently, especially in southern Unity State. The country's health system is also in a critical condition with ongoing measles and malaria outbreaks. "The suffering of the people of South Sudan is beyond imagination.

The European Investment Bank [in December] agreed to provide EUR 110 (KSh 12 billion) million for investment by companies across East Africa under a three new partnerships launched in Nairobi earlier today. This is the largest ever support for investment by entrepreneurs and small business ever announced in East Africa by the EIB. European Investment Bank Vice President Pim van Ballekom formally signed the three credit lined during a visit to Kenya to mark the 10 year anniversary of local operations of the world’s largest international public bank and to highlight an expected increase in support for climate related projects in the region.

The Fourth Political Dialogue between the European Union (EU) and Mauritius opened this morning at the Maritim Hotel in Balaclava. In his address the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr E. Sinatambou, highlighted the good relations that Mauritius share with the EU. Minister Sinatambou recalled that the Political Dialogue is provided for under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement signed between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States in 2000.