Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 23 September 2017

The European Union has invited the government of Tanzania for dialogue over the Economic Partnership Agreement impasse that has threatened to derail the trade pact between the bloc and the East African Community member countries. The head of the EU delegation to Tanzania and the East African Community, Roeland van de Geer, said they were awaiting Dar es Salaam's position on the matter."What is important is that we have dialogue," said Mr Geer during the Europe Day celebrations in the Tanzanian political capital Dodoma last week. "Tanzania has its own convictions, the EU have theirs. Tanzania is a sovereign country and should take its own decisions," he said, underscoring the importance of the dialogue.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A new strategic partnership between the EU and Africa was launched on 4 May with agriculture one of the main pillars of the new strategy. The agri-food sector is seen as a key area through which the EU can support rural and urban development in Africa.According to a joint paper from the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, the EU will facilitate investments from the private sector in the African agri-food sector, building on initiatives such as the existing Agriculture Financing Instrument (AgriFI), in order to help boost jobs and address food security.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The European Commission and the EU’s foreign policy chief on May 4 presented a revitalised framework for joint action, to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. The 27-country bloc is Africa’s closest neighbour and main partner. The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy, the Commission said, noting that this comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth. Closer EU-Africa cooperation would help tackle global challenges such as terrorism and transnational crime, climate change, epidemics, pressure on natural resources, humanitarian crises, irregular migration.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are determined to "undertake the reforms needed to transform the ACP Group into an effective global player, fit for the 21st century, and responsive to the emerging priorities" of member states. This emerged from the two-day gathering of the ACP Council of Ministers who concluded the 105th session on May 4 with key decisions that will influence how the bloc of 79 countries will carve out a more effective role in the international arena. According to the President of the Council, Ethiopia's Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Dr Abraham Tekeste, "The current occupancy of the Presidency of the UN General Assembly by Fiji, and the current membership of Senegal and Ethiopia in the UN Security Council, serve to underscore the positive contributions by ACP countries at the global levels."

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of ministers began a meeting here yesterday with a call on the 79-member grouping to meet their financial obligations so as to allow their group to better survive a changing global environment.The Guyanese ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick I Gomes, addressing the 105th Council Session, said that a prerequisite to the continued well-being of the ACP Group in general, and the Secretariat in particular is to better serve all our stakeholders. “I would therefore like to appeal to member states to continue your efforts towards the timely payment of statutory obligations in order to improve our self-reliance and the smooth functioning of the secretariat

Monday, 08 May 2017

The Treaties of Rome provided the historic foundations that enabled the fatal conflicts of war to be overcome by the spirit of peace and solidarity for the common good of all Europeans. Among the most undeniable success of the Treaties of Rome is the European Integration Project with its four freedoms - of goods, capital, services and people. We can together rightly celebrate one of the greatest landmarks of the post World War II era.We are proud to convey the ACP’s appreciation and gratitude for the long history of the cooperation that began in 1963 with the Yaoundé 1 Convention and those 18 African States that included Somalia and Madagascar and shared in an initial allocation from the European Development Fund (EDF).

For too long, neoliberal ideas have dominated issues in development economics, and it is easy to see why. When richer countries put their success down to increased trade openness and capital mobility, it is understandable that developing countries would want a taste too. The most famous argument for this line of thinking is that as countries move goods more easily between each other, it encourages the flow of ideas and innovation. The question of how regional trade can promote development in Nigeria is an important one. Over time, regional trade blocs have cropped up across Africa – a response to the argument that Africa's underdevelopment is due to low intraregional trade.

The Agriculture Export Council (AEC) is working on the preparation of marketing and consumer studies for the African markets and is expected to finish them in May. The AEC also intends to raise exports of the sector to $2.26bn in 2017, up from $2.146bn in 2016, with an expected growth of 5%. Head of the AEC, Abdel Hamid Demerdash, said that the African market is important and promising for the future of Egyptian crops, where there are many potential large markets. He added that the studies are based on exploiting the joint trade agreements between Egypt and the rest of the African countries, which will contribute to entering these markets with the help of intact economic trade plans.

Wednesday, 03 May 2017

The African continent has the potential to feed itself and even have surplus food to export to other parts of the world. But instead, the continent imports $35 billion worth of food and agricultural products every year, and if the current predictions hold, the import bill will rise to $110 billion annually by 2025. So the question is: if the African continent has vast agricultural potential as we have been led to believe, why are we facing an astronomical food import bill? To say nothing of, I'm not the first or last person to ask this question. Indeed, a few days ago, the President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwumi Adesina, made the following remarks while speaking at the Centre for Global Development in Washing DC: "Africa's annual food import bill of $35 billion, estimated to rise to $110 billion by 2025, weakens African economies, decimates its agriculture and exports jobs from the continent. Africa's annual food import bill of $35 billion is just about the same amount it needs to close its power deficit."

The National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa, together with tralac, an NGO studying trade law, has released a study on African agricultural trade as it plays out on the world stage. The conclusion of ‘WTO: Agricultural issues for Africa’ by Prof Ron Sandrey and his fellow authors, is that there are few agricultural sectors where Africa would benefit from WTO intervention and that the continent couldn’t do better than its current preferential access to the European Union. For South Africa, which is designated a developed nation under WTO rules (apparently a self-selected designation), the situation is more complex.