Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Friday, 28 April 2017

This budget support report covers an important year for development. The debates in 2015 around the third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Agenda 2030 and the related sustainable development goals have highlighted the global challenges around inclusive growth, inequality and poverty. A key message that emerged from the Addis Ababa conference is that domestic public finance — revenue mobilisation and effective use of resources — provides by far the largest and most stable source available for financing sustainable development.

Jamaica and the European Union have committed to strengthen the collaboration on building a more effective partnership for growth and development. According to a joint release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union delegation, the committment was made during the third 'Jamaica/EU Political Dialogue' held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on Thursday. In her opening remarks at the dialogue, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said the partnership between EU and Jamaica remains strong and that the EU has made a significant contribution to Jamaica’s development and the wider Caribbean region.

Efforts are underway in Fiji to revive the country's cocoa industry, one year on from Tropical Cyclone Winston.A European Union-funded project, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, has set up three new cocoa processing units, each of which includes a fermenter and cocoa dryer. The co-founder of a Fiji-based chocolate company, Tomohito Zukoshi, built the units and says they will provide a consistent A-grade quality cocoa for export. Mr Zukoshi said Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji's cocoa sector and it is still recovering. "We had invested so much of our manpower to do the pruning, and clearing, before the cyclone and then the cyclone hit and it just became worse - we lost the entire 2016's crops."

The framework agreement between Fedict and the Belgian Development Agency should encourage the transfer of knowledge and the development of partnerships The Federal Public Service Information and Communication Technology (Fedict) and the Belgian Development Agency (BTC) will assist the fourteen partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation in designing their systems of e-governance. To achieve this, Fedict has concluded a cooperation agreement with the Belgian Development Agency, who will lead the process. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo is particularly pleased with this collaboration. "A digital administration is a more effective administration, also in developing countries".

The government of the Gambia, the European Union (EU), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have launched a EUR11 million (US$11.8 million) project aimed at supporting entrepreneurship and job creation in the Gambia over the next four years. The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project aims to address the root causes of the high levels of irregular migration from the Gambia, particularly by young people leaving the country. Taking a market-driven approach, the Project will focus on building skills among the youth in a number of sectors, especially traditional economic driver industries such as agriculture and tourism. It will also help diversify the Gambian economy by supporting the strengthening of “new” sectors, including the creative and digital services industries.

DGs ECFIN and DEVCO jointly hosted an all-day workshop on Thursday 2 February, on private sector participation in development finance. The objective was to showcase a variety of innovative cases which might inspire instruments under the new European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD). There was strong interest in the event, with around 140 people taking part from a variety of organizations including international finance institutions (EIB, EBRD, World Bank), other development finance institutions, private investors and representatives from the EP (notably the BUDG committee secretariat). Following the announcement of the Commission's new European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), this workshop aimed to showcase a number of innovative blending instruments to demonstrate how these tools could be further developed with support from the Fund.

Monday, 13 February 2017

The African Union (AU) has resolved that European Union (EU) will henceforth no longer negotiate with any individual African country but with the union as a body. The Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this in Abuja while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the 28th AU Summit of Head of States and Government. "AU is saying henceforth if EU was going to negotiate, it should only negotiate with the union. "But if any of the EU member countries wants to negotiate with any African country individually that is acceptable, but not EU as a block to negotiate with any African country,” he said.

The UK’s National Audit Office says the number of fraud investigations has increased in tandem with more public money being delivered to “fragile” countries where bribery can be seen as “cultural norm”. Euractiv’s media partner The Guardian reports. Fraud investigations involving foreign aid have quadrupled over five years as more public money is given to “fragile” countries, a UK government spending watchdog has found. Reforms introduced by David Cameron to increase funding and assign it to unstable nations have increased the risk of wrongdoing, according to the National Audit Office.

Jamaica has received Euro 6.5 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) from the European Union. Finance Minister Audley Shaw said that the disbursement “aims to assist the Government in reducing poverty and improving the living standards of the rural population in sugar dependent areas affected by the EU sugar reform”. He told the ceremony that EU Hand-Over instrument “is yet another channel of external development assistance through strengthened bilateral relations between Jamaica and the EU”. He said that the European Union Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries, AMS 2013, was signed on March 25, 2014 and that the fixed tranche was disbursed in the sum of approximately Euro7.07 million on October 23, 2014.

The Caribbean Community Caricom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Wednesday renewed a mechanism for diplomatic cooperation with the accreditation of a new envoy to Caricom, Jules Bijl. In a ceremony at the headquarters of the Caricom Secretariat on January 18, 2017, Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said the community was keen to learn more of the Dutch experiences in a range of areas; these include environmental protection, water management, disaster management, renewable energy, agriculture, food processing, as well as chemical and port infrastructure.