Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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EDITO
Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Amid an unprecedented global trade slowdown, African policy-makers, negotiators and trade analysts will meet on 25-26 May 2017 in Mauritius to discuss priorities for reviving world trade and strengthening their trading capacity. Since 2014, world trade has declined by more than US$3 trillion with Sub-Saharan Africa’s combined exports falling by about 40 per cent - from US$403 billion to less than US$250 billion. Participants will discuss the most pressing trade and development challenges for Commonwealth African member states, in the light of unfavourable global economic and trade patterns, rising protectionism and growing discontent about globalisation.

The 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc is undertaking a complete review of its import taxes regime into the regional free market including poultry and agriculture products from the United States in the wake of a plethora of requests from governments and the private sector to periodically suspend tariffs to correct shortages of items in various member states. The bloc has hired an international consulting firm to “undertake a rather comprehensive look” at the common external tariff governing the importation of products not manufactured in the region.Part of the reason for this stems for pressure from governments and the private sector for suspensions or waivers of duties to the council of trade ministers (COTED) for particular products to make up for shortfalls of materials or finished products in particular countries.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The European Union has invited the government of Tanzania for dialogue over the Economic Partnership Agreement impasse that has threatened to derail the trade pact between the bloc and the East African Community member countries. The head of the EU delegation to Tanzania and the East African Community, Roeland van de Geer, said they were awaiting Dar es Salaam's position on the matter."What is important is that we have dialogue," said Mr Geer during the Europe Day celebrations in the Tanzanian political capital Dodoma last week. "Tanzania has its own convictions, the EU have theirs. Tanzania is a sovereign country and should take its own decisions," he said, underscoring the importance of the dialogue.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A new strategic partnership between the EU and Africa was launched on 4 May with agriculture one of the main pillars of the new strategy. The agri-food sector is seen as a key area through which the EU can support rural and urban development in Africa.According to a joint paper from the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, the EU will facilitate investments from the private sector in the African agri-food sector, building on initiatives such as the existing Agriculture Financing Instrument (AgriFI), in order to help boost jobs and address food security.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The European Commission and the EU’s foreign policy chief on May 4 presented a revitalised framework for joint action, to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. The 27-country bloc is Africa’s closest neighbour and main partner. The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy, the Commission said, noting that this comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth. Closer EU-Africa cooperation would help tackle global challenges such as terrorism and transnational crime, climate change, epidemics, pressure on natural resources, humanitarian crises, irregular migration.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are determined to "undertake the reforms needed to transform the ACP Group into an effective global player, fit for the 21st century, and responsive to the emerging priorities" of member states. This emerged from the two-day gathering of the ACP Council of Ministers who concluded the 105th session on May 4 with key decisions that will influence how the bloc of 79 countries will carve out a more effective role in the international arena. According to the President of the Council, Ethiopia's Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Dr Abraham Tekeste, "The current occupancy of the Presidency of the UN General Assembly by Fiji, and the current membership of Senegal and Ethiopia in the UN Security Council, serve to underscore the positive contributions by ACP countries at the global levels."

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of ministers began a meeting here yesterday with a call on the 79-member grouping to meet their financial obligations so as to allow their group to better survive a changing global environment.The Guyanese ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick I Gomes, addressing the 105th Council Session, said that a prerequisite to the continued well-being of the ACP Group in general, and the Secretariat in particular is to better serve all our stakeholders. “I would therefore like to appeal to member states to continue your efforts towards the timely payment of statutory obligations in order to improve our self-reliance and the smooth functioning of the secretariat

Monday, 08 May 2017

The Treaties of Rome provided the historic foundations that enabled the fatal conflicts of war to be overcome by the spirit of peace and solidarity for the common good of all Europeans. Among the most undeniable success of the Treaties of Rome is the European Integration Project with its four freedoms - of goods, capital, services and people. We can together rightly celebrate one of the greatest landmarks of the post World War II era.We are proud to convey the ACP’s appreciation and gratitude for the long history of the cooperation that began in 1963 with the Yaoundé 1 Convention and those 18 African States that included Somalia and Madagascar and shared in an initial allocation from the European Development Fund (EDF).

For too long, neoliberal ideas have dominated issues in development economics, and it is easy to see why. When richer countries put their success down to increased trade openness and capital mobility, it is understandable that developing countries would want a taste too. The most famous argument for this line of thinking is that as countries move goods more easily between each other, it encourages the flow of ideas and innovation. The question of how regional trade can promote development in Nigeria is an important one. Over time, regional trade blocs have cropped up across Africa – a response to the argument that Africa's underdevelopment is due to low intraregional trade.

The Agriculture Export Council (AEC) is working on the preparation of marketing and consumer studies for the African markets and is expected to finish them in May. The AEC also intends to raise exports of the sector to $2.26bn in 2017, up from $2.146bn in 2016, with an expected growth of 5%. Head of the AEC, Abdel Hamid Demerdash, said that the African market is important and promising for the future of Egyptian crops, where there are many potential large markets. He added that the studies are based on exploiting the joint trade agreements between Egypt and the rest of the African countries, which will contribute to entering these markets with the help of intact economic trade plans.