Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 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

South African exporters, wary of the implications of citrus black spot interceptions on the entire South African citrus campaign in Europe, are playing it safe and sending their lemons to Russia, the Middle East and Asia, with a drop of 20% in the amount of lemons destined for the EU compared to 2016. “Due to technical barriers to trade the EU has received far fewer lemons (12%) than 2016 (32%),” says Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association. By contrast, the proportion of lemons going to Russia has increased by 11% (17% of the volumes already shipped), to Asia it has increased by 6% (19% of the whole) while the Middle East is currently taking a chunky 47% of shipped lemon volumes, up by 4%. “The Middle East is a very important market for the South African citrus industry, especially early in the season.”

Thursday, 01 June 2017

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.

While the outbreak of Avian Flu in Europe may offer some relief to South Africa’s poultry industry over the next few months, brooding over the possible outcomes of the current crisis continues – especially when it comes to the impact of European Union (EU) imports and chicken dumping on the industry. Calls for increased import tariffs, safeguard duties and a more protectionist stance have been both lauded by industry stalwarts and criticised by advocates of liberalised trade policy. While often-emotive calls for protectionism have been rejected by staunch proponents of free trade, citing increases in consumer prices and a breakdown of trade relationships as major concerns, fair-trade supporters have highlighted the importance of some form of protection to ensure the sustainability of South Africa’s developing and emerging economy. Both sides have convincing arguments.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Representatives of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) met in Addis Ababa on May 10, 2017 and agreed on a roadmap for the implementation of the partnership agreement signed between the two entities in January 2017. During the meeting, which was held under the theme, "Achieving agricultural transformation in Africa," participants identified and agreed on four key programme areas including, enhancing rural entrepreneurship and employment for youth and women; addressing natural resource degradation and scarcity, conflicts and migration; ending hunger, nutrition and poverty in Africa; and effective response to climate change.

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."

Do Zimbabwean smallholder farmers know that they are sitting on a potential $60 million earnings per annum from beef exports? That money can be realised through adding value to livestock production. Scholar Blasio Mavedzenge and his research colleagues Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and others in 2010 noted that with the right environment, incentives and support structures, smallholder farmers can be used to launch the rehabilitation of commercial beef production. In their research paper, "Changes in the Livestock Sector in Zimbabwe Following Land Reform: The Case of Masvingo Province", Mavedzenge and his colleagues argue that this would benefit all parties by improving the off-take of beef production in Zimbabwe. They further argue that this would also begin the process of restoring Zimbabwe's beef exports with the prospect of earning US$50-US$60 million per year.

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders has in its 'Taormina Communiqué' underscored that "Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development are high priorities". But it has yet to respond to UN Secretary-General António Guterres' specific call for the need to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology and relevant education and capacity building in Africa. The two-day G7 summit in Italy, in which the leaders of six other industrial nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. also took part, concluded on May 27 in Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Is the federal government leaving prosperity on the table by refusing to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement? Earlier this month in Kaduna, on a day Facebook predicted late rainfall, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States), Mr. Michel Arrion took to the podium at a trade and investment seminar for the Kaduna business community. In attendance were the crème de la crème of the state's industrial workforce, manufacturers, and business owners. Arrion, a tall, majestic presence, was enchanting. The primary aim of the seminar was to help Kaduna's business community see the glorious beauty of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a trade deal negotiated and completed over a period of 14 years between the EU and ECOWAS, but which the Nigerian Government had failed to sign off on.