Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

June 2017
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EDITO
Friday, 23 June 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.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Cameroonian government will soon launch a development programme for its horticultural sector, financed by the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), we learned at the end of a workshop organised in Douala on 16 and 17 May. The meeting, we learned, was meant to identify the levers on which it is necessary to act, to give an impulse to the development of horticulture in Cameroon. Labelled “Fit For Market” (FFM), this programme is meant to support the horticultural sectors in African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries, whose main horticultural products exported to European Union territories are increasingly in demand.

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 maximum volume of rice that private traders can ship in annually will remain at 805,200 tons until 2020, with the tariff also kept at 35%, the order signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 27 showed. The Philippines, one of the world’s top rice importers, is supposed to lift the import restriction by July 1 this year under an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was not immediately clear if Manila needs to seek another waiver from the trade body from its obligation to open up the domestic rice market. In 2014, Manila won WTO approval for a waiver but, as part of the agreement, it pledged to increase the annual import volume from 350,000 tons and reduce the rice tariff from 40%. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who believes the Philippines could be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020, had been pushing for a two-year extension of the restriction, saying local farmers are not ready to compete with cheap imports.