Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 23 September 2017

The European Union has signed two Financing Agreements for a total amount of 68 million Euros to finance implementation of two programmes in the COMESA region. These are; Trade Facilitation programme (53 million Euros) and Small Scale Cross-Border Trade programme (15 million Euros). The Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and Representative to COMESA, H.E. Alessandro Mariani, and COMESA Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, signed the two agreements.The funds are part of the COMESA specific envelope of 85 million euros provided by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme for the East African, Southern African and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region signed in June 2015 for the period 2014 – 2020.

Monday, 05 June 2017

Weeks after President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued Executive Order #84 for the regulation of Liberia's fishing industry, the European Union (EU) has expressed concern over the order. In a letter to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the EU expressed concern over the implications of Executive Order number 84. It further said it was surprised to learn about the order through the media considering the longstanding cooperation existing between Liberia and the Union which culminated in the signing of the EU- Liberia Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) in December 2015. Through its Ambassador to LiberiaMadam TiinaIntelmann, the EU said based onexperience in other countries, it believes that some of the measuresintroduced under Section 2 of the EO will not lead to sustainable investments.

The Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries has called for action on farm trade issues for the WTO’s upcoming ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this December, tabling an informal paper that notes “overwhelming” support for an outcome on agricultural domestic support. The new paper is the first joint statement of the Cairns Group’s stance after separate papers were tabled by sub-sets of its members last year. The coalition includes nearly 20 countries from both the developed and developing world, including different world regions. The group’s paper calls for action on three areas addressed under current WTO rules on agricultural trade: domestic support, market access, and export competition.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

East African heads of state have jointly agreed that the EAC members who have not signed the European Union-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) should not do so pending clarification of contentious issues that have been highlighted in the agreement. In a joint communique of the EAC Heads of Summit in Dar es Salaam last weekend, the presidents said the new chair Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been mandated to reach out to the EU within one month to communicate the EAC's decision.If an acceptable solution is not reached with the EU within the next six months, the chairperson, working with the Council of Ministers, is expected to explore the use of variable geometry in the implementation of the EPA by EAC member states.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli Sunday described the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a "form of colonialism", dampening the country's possibility of signing the deal with the European Union (EU). "It is bad for our country," Dr Magufuli affirmed. Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the State House, Dr Magufuli disfavoured EPAs, which are aimed at creating a free trade area between EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.His Ugandan counterpart warned African countries that EPA might break up their unity. "It's better if the signing of the deal is shelved until further consultations are made."

Monday, 29 May 2017

The East African Community is divided on whether to sign a key trade agreement with the European Union. ALON MWESIGWA explains how the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) would affect the region. It is midday on a Sunday and Tom Sajje organises his fishing net in Kitooro on the shores of Lake Victoria, preparing for the evening's journey to fish. "These days, we struggle to get fish; it is no longer as available as it used to be," Sajje said, referring to the dwindling fish stock in the lake.Sajje, who is clearly using archaic methods, says they have not been helped much to improve their fishing methods and their general well-being. People like Sajje have a special mention in the EU-EAC EPA trade deal. It promises "ensuring preservation and priority of particular needs of the artisanal/subsistence fishery."

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

“We believe that to help a friend and provide aid it must be without conditions,” Mr. Lopez said in an interview late Saturday at a meeting of Asia-Pacific trade ministers in Hanoi, Vietnam. “We would appreciate all aid but we would just request that there be no conditions,” he said. “We would simply not want to be questioned and we follow the principle of non-interference and independence in foreign policy.” The Philippines has told the EU it will no longer accept new development grants, which could mean foregoing around 250 million euros ($280 million) in assistance, unless they come with no strings attached. The EU has criticized President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs, which has led to the deaths of thousands of suspected dealers, and his planned reintroduction of capital punishment.

The East Africa Community (EAC) has asked the European Union not to punish Kenyan agricultural products exported to Europe. A heads of states summit in Dar es Salaam resolved to petition the EU on behalf of Kenya and agreed to dispatch Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, the new EAC chairman to present Kenya's case. President Museveni, the new chairman of EAC, said his first assignment is to harmonise the organisation's position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that allows countries in the region to export their agricultural products to Europe without attracting tax. Mr Museveni told the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of States in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday that the EAC was committed to solving the stalemate surrounding the EPAs once and for all.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Amid an unprecedented global trade slowdown, African policy-makers, negotiators and trade analysts will meet on 25-26 May 2017 in Mauritius to discuss priorities for reviving world trade and strengthening their trading capacity. Since 2014, world trade has declined by more than US$3 trillion with Sub-Saharan Africa’s combined exports falling by about 40 per cent - from US$403 billion to less than US$250 billion. Participants will discuss the most pressing trade and development challenges for Commonwealth African member states, in the light of unfavourable global economic and trade patterns, rising protectionism and growing discontent about globalisation.

The 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc is undertaking a complete review of its import taxes regime into the regional free market including poultry and agriculture products from the United States in the wake of a plethora of requests from governments and the private sector to periodically suspend tariffs to correct shortages of items in various member states. The bloc has hired an international consulting firm to “undertake a rather comprehensive look” at the common external tariff governing the importation of products not manufactured in the region.Part of the reason for this stems for pressure from governments and the private sector for suspensions or waivers of duties to the council of trade ministers (COTED) for particular products to make up for shortfalls of materials or finished products in particular countries.