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October 2016
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

How should the Anglophone Caribbean respond to Brexit? Should it, based on the expert advice it has received from the CARICOM Secretariat and its own trade negotiators, now be actively exploring with the UK an approach that secures an equivalent trade relationship to that which it has with the EU under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)? Following the June 23 decision by the UK electorate to leave the EU, CARICOM Heads of Government considered a seven-page paper and technical attachment at their July 4-6 summit in Georgetown.

Mr Fillippo Amato, an European Union (EU) official, says the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and ECOWAS will help Nigeria to achieve its diversification drive. Amato, Counsellor, Head of Trade and Economics Section in EU, told newsmen in Abuja on Friday that the agreement, yet to be signed by Nigeria, would boost its non-oil exports. “First, all duties on exports from Nigeria to the EU will be brought to zero from the first day of the entry into force of the Agreement. “Signing the agreement will dramatically reduce the cost of Nigeria’s products exported to the EU thereby making them more competitive.

Two years ago, the European Commission put forward an ambitious Investment Plan for Europe to get our continent back on track by mobilising new private investments. Its combination of improved access to finance, guarantees, technical assistance, and measures to create a positive business environment has delivered impressive results. For each euro spent, it is mobilising about 10 euros in investments. The same innovative approach could benefit immensely our entire neighbourhood. For this reason, we are now proposing a European external investment plan.

Tuesday, 04 October 2016

The six African countries threatened with losing access to the European single market have finally agreed to sign the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). But the continent’s regional integration may suffer as a result. EurActiv France reports. Kenya’s parliament last Wednesday (21 September) ratified the European Union EPA, signalling the end of a drawn-out struggle between several African countries and the European Commission, over the future of their trade relations with the EU. In July, Brussels had upped the pressure on six African governments, threatening to suspend their single market access if they had not ratified the new agreements by 1 October.

“By importing so much food, small island developing states - SIDS - are basically exporting jobs”. This was the message of CTA Director Michael Hailu at the recently held Brussels Briefing on “Agribusiness development in SIDS: the potential of tourism-related markets”. The Briefing delivered a strong impetus for the strengthening of linkages between local agri-food and tourism sectors, in order to support sustainable economic development and employment, and reduce the dependence on cheap imported foods which has led to dangerous rates of non-communicable diseases in many SIDS.

On Wednesday, 21 September 2016, Dr Theo de Jager, President of the Pan-African Farmers' Organization (PAFO), Ignace Coussement, Managing Director of AgriCord, and Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Strategic partnership supporting capacity development of African farmer's organisations through improved policies, technologies and capabilities. The signing took place at a ceremony at the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), in Brussels.

The Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) has put in place institutional arrangements that will support the trade flows between the European Union (EU), Swaziland and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) states. The agreement is expected to come into full effect on October 1. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade Principal Secretary Jinno Nkambule the country did not only ratify the EPA, but also deposited the ratification instrument with the EU in Brussels.

European Union Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova on Monday introduced the EU’s External Investment Plan (EIP) to encourage investment in Africa and the EU neighbourhood towards strengthening partnerships and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The European Neighbourhood Policy is a foreign relations instrument of the EU that seeks to tie those countries to the east and south of the European territory to the Union. According to Hybaskova, the European EIP will mainly benefit two areas, namely Africa and the European neighbourhood.

The emergence of Mrs Theresa May as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister is slowly steadying the ship of state that was destabilised by political turbulence in the wake of the June 23 referendum, which narrowly voted in favour of exiting the European Union (EU). It had been said, during the dramatic turn of events, and immediately after the sudden resignation of David Cameron as prime minister, that the UK would need a safe pair of hand to steady the ship of state, steer and negotiate its exit from the EU.

The European Union and Kiribati have signed an agreement for a $US5.6 million energy project. The project is framed in the EU-New Zealand energy partnership that has delivered renewable energy projects in Tuvalu, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Kiribati. Kiribati Minister, Teuea Toatu; EU Ambassador to the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs and General Manager, NETCON representative Luke van Zeller. In June the partnership was expanded to include Niue, Tonga, and countries in the Northern Pacific.