February 2016
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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Monday, 08 February 2016

For the third year, Brussels will welcome the Salon du Chocolat from 5 to 7 February for another celebration of Belgian chocolate in all its shapes and forms. Over 100 participants - chocolatiers, pâtissiers, confiseurs, chefs, chefs pâtissiers, designers and cocoa experts - have already confirmed their presence. The Salon will offer a full programme of playful and instructive entertainment for young and old: demonstrations of recipes, conferences, studios for children and adults, chocolate sculptures, exhibitions... of course, not forgetting the famous robes en chocolat procession. For this 2016 edition, Togo is the guest foreign country of honour. Togo may not be a big producer of cocoa compared with the Côte d’Ivoire, but the quality of the beans is exceptional. Also present in Brussels will be the managers and directors of Choco-Togo, the only locally-made chocolate.

Friday, 05 February 2016

The currently prevailing context of trade liberalisation is pushing all the countries towards setting up a customs reduction plan. "The Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) signed with the European Union will generate a shortfall of 45 thousand million ariaries on this year's customs revenue. Madagascan companies should now prepare for the progressive reduction of duties planned in this agreement which will continue up to 2022", said Eric Narivony Rabenja, Director General of Customs, in his speech at the information meeting on finance laws for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tax-payers yesterday before the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Antananarivo (CCIA).

During the Paris International Agriculture Show, the Agence Française de Développement will demonstrate the structuring of agricultural systems with the introduction of Protective Geographical Indication. Agriculture is a developing sector in which the AFD has acquired long-standing expertise. The catalysts are of three kinds: improvement of public agricultural policies, support of good governance and conservation of natural capital, and the structuring of agricultural, agri-foodstuffs and agri-industrial systems.

French businesses are reinvesting in the Ivory Coast, but "the Ivory Coast is not a private hunting ground". This was the warning given in the Business France seminar on the country on 19 January by Jean-Louis Menann-Kouamé (our photo), Director General of the Banque internationale pour le commerce et l’industrie de la Côte d’Ivoire (BICICI), a subsidiary of BNP Paribas. In the Ivory Coast, the sixth French IT group GFI has bought Somafor, a company that "will allow us to suddenly have critical mass and be a citizen, considered as local", explains its Business Development Manager for Africa, Brice Demogé.

A study published in Nature Communications indicates that the quantities of fish caught throughout the world are largely underestimated and could even be 30% higher than official estimates. "They give an estimate of possible fishing levels taking account only of industrial catches, whereas they should also include the by-catches and waste from industrial fishing and all the small fish around", explains Frédéric Le Manach, Scientific Director of the association BLOOM, which campaigns for the protection of marine ecosystems.

Thursday, 04 February 2016

Cuban President Raul Castro held a series of meetings with senior French officials on Tuesday, the second day of a state visit to France aimed at boosting business ties between the two countries. Castro has been received with all honors for the first state visit ever of a Cuban president to France. His schedule in Paris on Tuesday included meetings with UNESCO chief Irina Bokova, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016

The very first informal meeting of EU trade ministers and ministers for development cooperation took place during the Netherlands Presidency. At a joint lunch at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam on 2 February the ministers discussed ways for member states and the Commission to better align their policies on trade and development or 'aid and trade'. The group meeting, the first of its kind, is a Presidency initiative and is hosted by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016

Government is reviewing the agreement made by the European Union (EU) and the previous administration to pay ex-cane farmers, and until the review is completed, there will be no distribution of funds. This according to Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat who said the money will be paid, but only when there was a full understanding of what the intentions of the agreement were.

Germany is to assist Ghana to develop a strong renewable energy and agricultural sector as part of its contributions to the development of the country. The German Ambassador to Ghana, John Rudiger, announced this in Kumasi when he paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. William Otoo-Ellis, last Thursday. The meeting was to develop new partnership agreements in the areas of science and technology. Mr Rudiger did not however give details of the assistance to Ghana but said it would help reshape the energy sector and promote agriculture.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program' private sector window, and Société Générale today signed an agreement to provide a second €70 million trade facility to Burkina Faso's largest cotton exporter SOFITEX. The facility will assist the development of the agricultural sector and contribute to a reduction in rural poverty. Cotton is the main cash crop in Burkina Faso. The cotton sector provides a livelihood for more than 3.0 million people, and is the largest employer and the second largest foreign currency earner in the country.

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