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December 2016
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EDITO
Sunday, 04 December 2016

The European Commission today presented to EU agriculture ministers the conclusions of a study on the cumulative effects of 12 future trade agreements on the agri-food sector, including specific results for producer prices and production volumes for a range of products accounting for 30% of the value of the EU exports in the sector. The study illustrates the potential for European agricultural products on the world market, while at the same time also showing the sensitivity of specific agricultural sectors.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The European Commission has pledged to provide 78 million Euro in emergency aid to help those affected by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. Over a million refugees from South Sudan, aid agencies say, have fled the country to neighbouring countries, with the number expected to grow. EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides announced the funding during a visit to Uganda. "The EU stands by the people of South Sudan who had to escape conflict and violence.

Brexit plans may be proving controversial but a Stranraer dairy has made it open doors for its products. Lactalis, owner of the Caledonian Cheese Company and McLelland Cheese Packing, has agreed deals to supply own label and branded products such as Seriously Strong Cheddar across France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Turkey, North America and South Africa. This means that locally produced products will be sold in stores such as Carrefour and Casino in Europe, Walmart in the USA, Coles in Australia and Woolworths, one of the largest retailers in South Africa. Group MD Mark Taylor said: “Export markets provide a significant opportunity for Lactalis, partly as a result of the weakening of sterling.

As the wheels of Brexit begin slowly to churn into motion, a clearer image is starting to emerge as to what it means for the UK’s trade relations with the rest of the world. While much has been made of Britain’s need to strike deals with major emerging economies like India, China, and Brazil, the appointment of Priti Patel as International Development Secretary – a vocal critic of the department’s focus on aid in the past – signals a shift in emphasis towards a pro-development trade policy for Africa. If handled intelligently this could present a significant opportunity for Britain to hitch its chariot to a region which is set to be the world’s fastest growing over the next century.

The Dutch and Mozambican authorities on Tuesday signed two agreements to improve water supply, under which Holland will provide funding of 13.5 million euros (about 14.5 million US dollars). Signing the agreements were the general director of the Mozambican government's Water Supply Assets and Investment Fund (FIPAG), Pedro Paulino, and the Dutch Deputy Director-General for Development Cooperation, Reina Buijs. 

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) will fund two projects in eastern Sudan aimed at improving water, sanitation and hygiene services in Kassala state, and in treating and preventing malnutrition in Red Sea state. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports in its latest weekly bulletin that the two projects will cost €1.3 million (about $1.45 million) in total. In Kassala State, the €800,000 ($891,000) one-year project will address the severe need for water and waste management services. It will be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The creation of jobs, strengthening private sector engagement, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change and strengthened human rights and gender empowerment are a few of the impacts targeted through the new EU Pacific Regional Programme (RIP) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for which the European Union makes available €166 million. Beneficiaries are the 15 Pacific Island Countries which have signed up to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific.

The European Union is looking to expand direct budget support to Fiji through the Ministry of Economy to fund a range of collaborative development programmes. This announcement followed a meeting between Attorney‑General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed‑Khaiyum and an EU delegation. The EU delegation consisted of the Head of Unit of Centralised Operations, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific, Jobst Von Kirchman, the Development Coordinator for the Pacific Region, Mathias Reusing, Head of Cooperation, Christopher Wagner and the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A Joint Communication proposing actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans has been adopted by the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The initiative would make it possible to address certain global challenges such as climate change, poverty, food security, piracy, crime, trafficking in human beings, through better protected and sustainably managed oceans, whose economy has been estimated at EUR 1.3 trillion.

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, will undertake a working visit to the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Poland, respectively, from 14-17 November 2016 for bilateral political consultations. The visit is mainly aimed at strengthening bilateral political and economic relations as South Africa views the region as a potential partner in addressing the country's national priorities and co-operation inter alia in the fields of science and technology, education, agriculture and trade. This year marks a very important milestone in our relations as we celebrate 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the three countries.