Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2018
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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Europe will remain an important supplier of agricultural goods in the future but the greatest untapped potential lies in Africa, which could become the “bread basket” for the rest of the world, the president of Yara, a multinational fertiliser and crop nutrition company, told EURACTIV. Svein Tore Holsether also said digital technologies like precision farming were the best way to boost agricultural production. “While we still see the potential for increasing productivity and sustainability of European agriculture, the greatest potential we see is in Africa,” Holsether pointed out. “Today €29.6bn ($35bn) is spent every year on importing food, while there is a great untapped potential for higher productivity as the continent holds 65% of the world’s arable land,” the fertiliser company boss said.

In his first annual address to France’s ambassadors on Tuesday 29 August, Emmanuel Macron announced that France would commit official development assistance of 0.55% of gross national income by 2022. The AFD welcomed the announcement, however it is still below the UN’s targets. Oxfam also points out that this announcement contradicts the budget cuts announced in this sector in the short-term. ‘Africa is not only a continent of crises. It is a continent of the future. We cannot leave it alone,’ President Macron told ambassadors on Tuesday at the Elysée Palace. The French President does not intend to go back on French commitments in this area. France currently spends between 0.37% and 0.38% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance.

As a prelude to the opening of the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the Ivorian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ly Ramata Bakayoko, chaired a workshop on the role of research and innovation in the African agricultural transformation process, allowing her to take stock of national agricultural research, according to In terms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the minister cited the Competitive Fund for Sustainable Agricultural Innovation (Fonds compétitif pour l’innovation agricole durable – FCIAD), with a budget of 5 billion CFA francs (€7.6 million), the Renewed Partnership for Development Research (Partenariat rénové pour la recherche au service du développement – Presed), with the financing of three projects in the field of agricultural research for a total of 255 million CFA francs (€342,000) in the framework of France’s debt reduction programme led by the French Development Agency (AFD), while the second debt reduction programme has earmarked funding of 1.21 billion CFA francs to develop agricultural research.

Friday, 08 September 2017

The Pacific nations which receive aid from the European Union have raised concerns at not being able to draw down some of the funds allocated to them. The money is channelled through the European Development Fund but access has been an issue for several years. The chair of the Pacific component of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations, Tu'ilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said about $US200 million dollars had been withheld. The Samoan prime minister said the members are hoping there are no further cuts. "With all the problems facing Europe there is pressure on their own budgets so we know where their proposition comes from and the area of reallocating the finances already approved for our regional projects." Pacific leaders in the African, Caribbean and Pacific bloc (PACP) held a meeting before the Pacific Forum leaders' summit in Apia this week. On Wednesday the PACP nations and the EU will talk about a replacement for the Cotonou Agreement - the document which governs their relationship, and which expires in 2020.

Since the implementation of the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project two-and-a-half years ago, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has made several strides in improving the local coconut industry through training as well as the establishment of new nurseries among other targeted initiatives. The four-year project was undertaken through a partnership between CARDI and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with funding provided by the European Union. It was aimed at improving income and employment opportunities, food security, and overall competitiveness of the Caribbean coconut sector. Participating countries in the project include Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Suriname, among others in the region.

A group in Italy is training migrants — mostly from sub-Saharan Africa — as beekeepers, then pairing them with honey producers who need employees. Aid groups say new efforts by European leaders to stem the flow of migrants from Africa ignores the fact that Europe needs these workers. According to Oxfam, Italy alone will need 1.6 million migrants over the next 10 years. Back in his native Senegal, the only interaction Abdul Adan ever had with bees was when one stung his mouth while he was eating fresh honey. That day, his mouth was so swollen that he didn't leave his home in Senegal's Casamance region. Years later as a migrant worker in Alessandria, Italy, Adan is so comfortable with the insects that he does not even use gloves as he handles their hives and inspects their progress.

Cotonou still has a role, but as a partnership without development conditionalities or colonial culpability. The Lomé Convention of 1975 that created the ACP concept – the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States – was essentially a bridge built by the European Union (EU) for the former colonies of its member states to carry them over uncertain waters into their post-colonial future. Apart from a lot of development aid, Lomé gave them duty-free and quota-free access for most of their exports into the EU, in the hope of engendering viable industries and so integrating the countries into the global economy. But when Lomé expired in 2000, little of that had been achieved. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) succeeded Lomé, replacing its non-reciprocal trade access with gradually phased-in reciprocal free trade deals – Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – between the EU and regional groupings of ACP countries, to be concluded by 2007.

“It is extremely disappointing that the region has still not been able to drawdown on the regional envelope of E.D.F11 funds to address the agreed priority areas identified by the region” – Dame Meg Taylor The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, has urged leaders at the Pacific A.C.P Leaders (P.A.C.P.) Meeting to make a decision in relation to the European Union’s development assistance to the region. Dame Meg delivered the message when she spoke during the opening of the P.A.C.P meeting at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel this morning. The meeting is part of the build up to the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, which opens tonight at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. Speaking about the European development assistance, Dame Meg reminded that such assistance is channelled through the European Development Fund (E.D.F.).

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, His Excellency, Mr Andrew Jacobs and Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency, Ms Margaret Twomey today handed over equipment valued at approximately F$330,000 (EUR €141,000) to Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) on behalf of the Training Support to the Fijian Sugarcane Industry project, marking the completion of the four-year project. The assets were part of the EU-funded Training Support to the Fijian Sugarcane Industry project implemented by the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) to improve the livelihoods of the sugarcane dependent populations, by promoting income generation through sugarcane farming or alternative livelihoods. The equipment included vehicles, hand and electrical tools, training resources, computers, projectors, as well as other office equipment.

Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, says that since 2013, the union has provided over Euros 30 million for programmes aimed at improving the livelihood of people, who reside in sugar-dependent areas. The support has been provided under the EU’s Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries, Jamaica (AMS 2013) Project, which is being implemented through the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU) of the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry. The money has gone towards the repair of roads, the introduction of social programmes, training, provision of sporting facilities, and entrepreneurial support.