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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Sunday, 01 May 2016

The European Union has committed nearly $US27 million to Fiji's crippled sugar and agriculture sectors. The EU's Pacific Ambassador Andrew Jacobs says additional financial support is expected on top of the initial funding. Fiji's already struggling sugar and agriculture sectors were decimated by the category five cyclone Winston, which damaged much of the country when it swept through in February. Mr Jacobs says the EU has already made more than $US4.8 million available with a particular focus on farming communities, as well as the provision of 450,000 fruit and vegetable seedlings.

On March 21, the European Commission published a summary of submissions on the future relationship between Europe and the 78-member African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations (the ACP). Their reason for doing so was because the Cotonou Convention – the treaty that links the EU mainly to its former colonies – ends in 2020, and there is uncertainty in Europe about whether there should be a successor arrangement, what its nature should be, and about the future of the ACP as a group. Judging from a table at the end of the report, one might conclude that the Caribbean, or at least its institutions and civil society, do not care much about any of these issues, as the EC received only one response from the region, and that was from Jamaica.

Wednesday, 06 April 2016

Development cooperation in the 21st century is compelled to move beyond the simplistic paradigm of transferring funds from the developed North to the developing South, writes Dr Patrick Gomes. With the global endorsement of Agenda 2030, including new modes of development finance, the proliferation of actors, and the rise of emerging economies, the traditional “donor – recipient” aid paradigm needs to be buried. The long-standing and comprehensive North-South approaches to development cooperation – the 28-member EU and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries – could well have invaluable horizons for innovation and enhanced development effectiveness.

CFAO group has just announced that it would soon invest USD 500 million ( about FCfa 275 billion) for the construction of 20 malls in Central and Western Africa. Countries concerned by these investments are, we learned, Cameroon, Gabon, DRC, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. In Cameroon, our source revealed, CFAO group, to which the Carrefour brand -leader on the large-scale distribution market in France- is now associated, has already identified 5 sites on which the shopping centres could be built. In addition to contribute to the promotion of some local products, this positioning by CFAO in mass distribution in Cameroon will open the doors of the first economy of the Cemac area for its partner Carrefour.

The ACP and EU partnership covers trade, political dialogue and development cooperation between the European Union and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific states. At the session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly held in Brussels, which was the 41st, Members of Parliament from across the ACP regions welcomed the new leadership. Hon. Baldeh, the National Assembly Member For Tumana, conducted intense discussions on political and security issues in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. He also co-chaired the Bureau meeting of the Joint Assembly, alongside Hon. Louis Michel for the European Parliament.

Trade barriers and poor infrastructure are preventing sugar producers in sub-Saharan Africa from accessing under-supplied regions on the continent as an imminent end to import quotas in the European Union compels them to find new markets. A preferential-access deal with the EU for African, Caribbean and Pacific sugar producers ends in September 2017, potentially depriving the farmers further access to a duty-free market. Exports to the EU account for a fifth of the sub-Saharan region’s current annual output of about 7.5 million metric tons, according to Cooperatieve Rabobank UA.

Tuesday, 05 April 2016

Ethiopia is being hit hard by one the most severe El Niño phenomenon on record. Numbers speak for themselves – in the past year, the number of food insecure people has increased from 2.9 million to over 10 million at present, write Neven Mimica and Christos Stylianides.This is on top of the almost 8 million chronically food insecure people in the country (...) Since the winter of 2015, the EU has mobilised around €44 million of humanitarian aid to help the victims of El Niño in Ethiopia. In addition, we have just announced an additional €24 million to respond to emergency needs of over 730 000 refugees and some 400 000 Internally Displaced People.

Monday, 04 April 2016

African and German experts have identified five priority areas in mathematical sciences for collaborative research, which will be pursued over the next three years under a new initiative expected to build research networks and help advance maths in Africa. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – the German Research Foundation or DFG – and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences or AIMS, met for two days ahead of the Next Einstein Forum’s Global Gathering 2016 – “Connecting Science to Humanity” – a major science event being held in the Senegalese capital Dakar from 8-10 March.

As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) continues to lobby for the removal of member states from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has raised the issue with newly accredited Ambassador of Portugal to CARICOM Fernando Teles Fazendeiro, seeking his country’s support. Portugal is among several European countries that have deemed some CARICOM nations as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, even as the member states insist they are in compliance with standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT), the Global Forum and other international bodies.

The Foreign Ministry has unveiled a new strategy regarding Denmark’s role in Africa in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB). Denmark will focus in particular on AfDB continuing to lead efforts aimed at attaining sustainable growth and working to promote stability in fragile regions. Other areas of focus include good governance, curbing corruption and women’s rights. “I’ve witnessed the continent’s challenges first hand, including massive poverty, a lack of opportunity for young people and their subsequent migration towards Europe,” said Kristian Jensen, the foreign minister.