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 Video guest: Arancha González



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Saturday, 30 July 2016

A “ground-breaking” international treaty to combat fishing pirates took effect Sunday, becoming legally binding in 29 countries that so far have adhered to it, the UN’s food agency said. Under it, countries are legally required to inspect trawlers when they enter their ports for signs of illicit catches. “This is a great day in the continuing effort to build sustainable fisheries that can help feed the world,” said Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). We hail those countries that have already signed on to the agreement and who will begin implementing it as of today.

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union and the impact this could have on Fiji's sugar exports to the UK and Europe remains uncertain. British High Commissioner to Fiji Roderick Drummond made the statement in response to questions posed to him about possible outcomes or effects of Brexit on Fiji sugar. "The UK remains a member of the EU until UK-EU negotiations are completed, which is likely to take some years," he said. "It is therefore premature to speculate what the UK-Fiji trade regime will be after that point."

It is imperative for East African Community (EAC) to listen carefully to the issues Tanzania is related to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) the bloc concluded with the European Union, a regional lawmaker has said. MP Abubakar Zein Abubakar, a Kenyan representative in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), stressed this during an interview with The New Times on Monday. "It is important for us to listen to the issues Tanzania is raising and also look at the implications of Brexit.

Despite Tanzania's recent decision to pull out of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the European Union (EU) has said it is forging ahead with plans to sign the deal with the East African Community (EAC). The head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania, Mr Roeland van de Geer, said the decision to sign or not to sign the already negotiated agreement was for the EAC to determine. "The EU is ready to sign the EPA, and it is hoped that the EAC will also be ready to sign in the near future. That decision is for the EAC and its member states to take," Mr van de Geer told The Citizen through email.

The Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion at the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Kalilou Traore yesterday said the European Union (EU) and its member states have set aside 6.5 billion euros (about N2.03trillion) to support West Africa’s Economic Partner Agreement (EPA) Development Programme for the next five years. He added that the partners have committed to jointly fund the development dimension of EPA for at least 20 years through trade liberalisation in West Africa and also improve the subsidy of processed products for export.

Today the European Commission will announce over €145 million in humanitarian assistance for Africa’s Sahel region in 2016 to address the basic needs of the populations, tackle malnutrition and provide food to the most vulnerable people. “Saving lives continues to be the EU’s first priority in Niger and the Sahel region. Our new humanitarian funding will provide essential nutrition and health treatment to young children and their mothers, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as training and support to health centres. The EU is working hand in hand with humanitarian organisations to help the most vulnerable”, said Commissioner Christos Stylianides, who will visit EU funded aid projects in Niger.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is costing Kenyan fresh-produce exporters 8 million shillings ($79,000) a day because of the pound’s slump against the dollar, the head of the industry association said. The British currency has weakened 12 percent against the dollar since June 23, when the country voted to end its membership of the trading bloc, known as Brexit. That’s hurting Kenyan shippers of fruit, vegetables and flowers to the U.K., Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Chairman Dipesh Devraj said.

With Britain’s exit from the European Union comes the challenge for the Caribbean of finding “a new voice” in Europe. Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, noted during a recent courtesy call with United States Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela: “Since our voice in Europe will no longer be there, we will have to build new relationships to put the case for the English-speaking Caribbean.” He explained that because of historical ties, Britain tended to understand Caribbean society and economy more than other European countries, and so Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean regarded the UK as its natural ally in the EU.

Although an eerie calm may have settled on Europe now that the immediacy of the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) has sunk in, it should not lull the Caribbean into a sense of false security or inaction. It has arisen because much is now on hold until a new British Prime Minister is formally appointed in September; a future approach to the UK’s relationship with the EU27 is agreed; the relevant article of Europe’s Lisbon Treaty is invoked to leave; and Britain embarks, first on a two-year process of negotiation to leave, and then agrees some as yet uncertain new form of relationship.

The entire world felt the shock waves from the decision by voters in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, and Africa was no exception, especially given its close historical ties with many EU member states. African pundits and public officials were quick to lament the new cloud of economic uncertainty and the potential for catastrophe in the near future. Namibia has been alone in downplaying the Brexit fallout, most likely because its exports to the EU have declined significantly in recent years.