September 2016
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 Video guest: Arancha González




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EDITO
Monday, 26 September 2016

The last few months have seen some significant developments for African trade and integration. These advances come at a crucial time for African countries, which have been particularly hard hit by the slump in commodity prices, China’s economic downturn, and higher external borrowing costs. This has resulted in slower GDP growth than expected, currency fluctuations and reduced investment—particularly in resource-rich countries. New dynamics are emerging as a result of two major developments: first, a set of agreements between regional African blocs and the European Union, as well as between African countries themselves.

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed by the Trade ministers of Rwanda and Kenya on Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium will make it easier for Rwandan products to access the EU market, according to the Ministry for Trade and Industry (MINICOM). The EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement is a trade and development agreement between the East African Community (EAC) Partner States and the EU member countries providing a framework for cooperation between the two blocs in areas of trade and development.

In Africa, always looking for partnerships; and in these weeks the work we are doing with key partners on these new partnerships we have established is fundamental. We will launch next week a new External Investment Plan, and also the ongoing work with the G5 Sahel and the work that we need to start preparing for the next EU-Africa Summit that, I will suggest, should focus on youth both in Africa and in Europe. So, to help us focus on the challenges that both migration and radicalisation pose to us, both inside the European Union and inside the African continent.

A politically stable and peaceful environment is essential for economic development. Conversely, a thriving economy is a major factor in securing political stability. International exchange also promotes the transfer of skills and technology. Germany and Europe need to shift their focus from poverty reduction to the promotion of private business involvement. Botswana is more politically stable than Germany. This is indicated by a comparison of countries by the World Bank. Namibia and Mauritius come below Germany in the ranking but are still ahead of the USA, Britain and France. And they are not the only countries in Africa that score high marks.

On a tour of Senegal, Niger and Rwanda, German Development Minister Gerd Müller repeated his call for a Marshall Plan for Africa. But is a post-World War II-style recovery program realistic or even necessary? Gerd Müller makes his way on foot across the arid field in Cayar, a small town in Senegal. After a few steps, he reaches the greener part of the field, which is being irrigated with the help of a solar-powered pump funded by Germany's development ministry. The irrigation has increased the farmer's crop yield and he is understandably delighted.

"We have 10 times more direct investment in the European Union than we have in the whole of Africa," Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders at the G20 summit. So could African countries benefit from the G20 meeting? Economic growth and international trade were the main talking points of the gathering of the world's 20 strongest economies in Hangzhou, China. While South Africa is the only African member of the G20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out on the topic of investment in Africa.

Africa remains one of the most difficult markets to penetrate, riddled by bankability issues and a distinct lack of the right kind of strategic partnerships. To expedite and support solar investment on the continent, SolarPower Europe and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) have teamed up to facilitate business cooperation between African and European stakeholders. The RECP is a development programme funded by the European Commission and several EU member states including Austria, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

EU support for governance reforms has gained prominence in the EU’s external relations and particularly in the EU’s development policy. However, the EU’s engagement in this field has come under considerable pressure in recent years. It is by no means automatic that the EU will continue and further increase its engagement in supporting governance reforms. In this context, the objective of this study is to summarise evidence from academic research on why the EU and other donors should support governance reforms and under which conditions EU support positively contributes to governance reforms.

Ministers for Kenya and Rwanda last week signed the East African Community (EAC)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) allowing for continued favourable access to the lucrative European market. This signals a start of the EAC Partner States securing the Duty Free Quota Free market access to the EU on a non-unilateral offer but on contractual basis. EPAs are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partners engaged in regional economic integration processes.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016

The last few months have seen some significant developments for African trade and integration. These advances come at a crucial time for African countries, which have been particularly hard hit by the slump in commodity prices, China’s economic downturn, and higher external borrowing costs. This has resulted in slower GDP growth than expected, currency fluctuations and reduced investment – particularly in resource-rich countries. New dynamics are emerging because of two major developments: first, a set of agreements between regional African blocs and the European Union, as well as between African countries themselves.