Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Five tilapia farmers and 18 aquaculture hatchery and farm development staff from Fiji's Ministry of Fisheries, completed a four-day training on brood stock management at the Naduruloulou Freshwater Research Station and Pacific Community's (SPC) campus in Nabua. The training, provided by the European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, was facilitated by brood stock expert and Director of Aquaculture Development at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Dr Ram Bhujel, and SPC Aquaculture officers Dr Tim Pickering and Avinash Singh.

The European Commission needs to take measures to promote the responsible cultivation of palm oil and phase out its use for biofuels, Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná said. The environment committee votes on her report on 9 March. Palm oil is extensively used in food, cosmetics and biofuels, however the unsustainable production of the cheap vegetable oil leads to deforestation, loss of nature habitats and greenhouse gas emissions, the European Parliament said in a press release. The production of palm oil leads to deforestation as jungle is removed to be replaced by palm plantations. In her report Konečná said the European Parliament should be very ambitious. “There should not be any palm oil in biofuels,” she said.

Earlier today the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank approved new financing for small and medium companies (SMEs), education, energy and social housing, as well as water, transport and healthcare schemes across Europe and around the world. Funding approved today totalled EUR 3.4 billion.

Lead beekeepers from Vanua Levu went through a weeklong training (Feb. 20-24) in an effort to revive Fiji’s honey industry, which was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Winston. This training was one of the recovery activities of the European Union-funded “Increasing Agricultural Commodities Trade” project, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The IACT project provided approximately FJD 4 million in recovery support, mainly focused on rebuilding and strengthening key value chains in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

The European Union has pledged more support to help Palau improve social and economic development, increase resilience to climate change and reduce poverty. EU's Ambassador to the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs has this week been in Palau where he had talks with the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau and his Government. A release out of the EU Pacific office says there were fruitful discussions on the EU-Palau cooperation, regional economic integration, sustainable management of natural resources and climate change. Palau and the EU have a bilateral programme for funding of $US1.7 million between 2014 and 2020 under the 11th European Development Fund.

Thursday, 09 March 2017

Last week the EU’s Africa Renewable Energy Initiative announced 14 new renewable energy projects across the continent, representing 1.7GW, with a total potential investment of almost €4 billion (US$4.2 billion). “With these 14 new projects, potentially worth up to €4 billion of investments, the European Union is delivering on its promises,” said commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica at the announcement in Conakry, Guinea. “We are turning our pledges into real projects with true impact on the ground. The EU hereby reaffirms its leading role in supporting the African continent in the promotion of renewable energies for the improvement of energy access for African citizens.”

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Republic of Palau and the Pacific, H. E Andrew Jacobs had fruitful discussions on the EU-Palau cooperation, regional economic integration, sustainable management of natural resources and climate change with the President of Palau, H.E Tommy Remengesau Jr. and H.E Vice President Raynold Oilouch in the Palauan capital today. Ambassador Jacobs congratulated H.E Remengesau Jr. on his re-election as the President of Palau in November 2016 and had discussions on the 2014 - 2020 11th European Union Development (EDF11) bilateral programming of EUR 1.6 million.

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday February 22, 2017, officially opened the 13th Regional meeting (West Africa) of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) at the Radisson Blu Conference Centre, Aberdeen in Freetown. Speaking during the opening session, the president called on the meeting to do more in promoting democratic processes through dialogue and consultations and in facilitating greater understanding between the peoples of the EU and the ACP states. “We must continue to raise public awareness of development issues, and adopt resolutions and recommendations to the Council of Ministers with a view to achieving the objectives of the Agreement,” he urged.

British officials sparked an outcry Monday morning after reportedly describing a post-Brexit Africa-focused trade policy as “Empire 2.0.” A report in The Times newspaper said that some civil servants coined the description to describe moves to prioritize a post-Brexit free trade deal with African nations and other countries in the Commonwealth.But the epithet, which refers to Britain’s long and often destructive past relationship with poorer nations as an imperial power, has caused controversy. The Commonwealth is formed of 52 states with its roots in the British Empire. The Scottish National Party politician Alyn Smith, who like most of the rest of his party is anti-Brexit, said on Twitter that the concept was “delusional nonsense.”

The European Commission‘s electrification financing initiative, ElectriFI, has made its first investment of US$2.5 million in clean energy micro-utility Sigora Haiti, supplying households, schools and small firms with electricity. ElectriFI received 290 proposals in response to its first call for investment in April 2016 before passing management of the €75 million fund on to the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) and its new EDFI Management Company (EDFIMC). “Our goal is to grow ElectriFI this year. Next year, we hope to launch AgriFI. With that experience, we can think about health, education and water funds. Some people say it is impossible to find these projects but once you get out of the capital cities you will find there is lots of private and commercial activity going on already,” Frederik van den Bosch, managing director of the EDFI Management Company (EDFIMC), told Development Finance.