Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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Monday, 22 January 2018

The European Union is sticking to its guns that the integrated rum programme, which funds the modernisation of the rum producing plants in Cariforum countries and prepares regional producers for full liberalisation of the EU rum market, will not be extended after the planned end date of June 2010. This is despite continuing lobby efforts by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Association (WIRSPA) for the seven-year-old programme to be rolled over.

European Union Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnick, paid a visit to African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership signed by the African Union (AU) and the EU at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007. Commissioner Potočnick had a meeting with the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology to discuss the ongoing partnership on science and technology, Mr Jean Pierre Ezin. They reviewed the major fields of cooperation and focused on space research, earth science, environment monitoring as well as peace building partnership. To this regard, Commissioner Potočnick has been briefed on the Department of Peace and Security Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
“Why should we allow our market to be flooded with highly-subsidised European products? How much capital drain are we likely to experience due to the ongoing privatisation of strategic services such as post and telecommunications, power and water for the benefit of European enterprises? These are the questions that “Rezistans ek Alternativ”, a Mauritian political movement, is asking its government to answer. Mauritius - like Madagascar, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe - signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union at the end of last month. Rezistans ek Alternativ is asking for Parliament to hold an extraordinary session to debate the agreement.
Two leading Mauritian sugar producers listed on the nation's benchmark SEMDEX index DEX have confirmed plans to merge by the end of the year. The sugar sector is a centuries-old pillar of the Indian Ocean island's $9 billion-a-year economy. It is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in producing refined sugar as the European Union cuts its guaranteed price offered for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) bloc exports. In notices to shareholders late on Wednesday, Mon Desert-Alma Limited MDAO.MZ (MDA) and the Savannah Sugar Estates Company SVAO.MZ (SAV) unveiled the merger but said it remained subject to approval from regulators and shareholders. Following the planned merger, SAV will remain as the amalgamated company, both statements said.
The European Commission is increasingly inclined to ban Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing, thus supporting Monaco's proposal to list the species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) next March. Highly appreciated by sushi lovers and overfished for years, in Asia, especially in Japan, bluefin tuna prices can fetch up to $100,000 for a single fish. But the EU will not fully commit until its 27 member countries have been consulted on September 21 or before new scientific data emerges in November.
André Dellevoet, Executive Manager of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), is our special guest this week. He explains the main objectives, funding and eligibility of the Fund which aim is to catalyse private sector entrepreneurs in Africa to innovate and find profitable ways of improving market access and functioning for the poor – especially in rural areas. The donors who have already agreed to contribute to the AECF are the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the UK Department for International Development (DfID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (NMFA). Until now, the Fund disposes of a start-up capital of 36 million USD. It is hoped that this will grow to 100 million USD in 3 years.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Africa's largest trading bloc the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged the European Union to conclude an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deal that will be accepted and covering all key areas that were important to the development of countries in east and southern Africa. Recently, the EU signed an interim EPA with some countries from The Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region. Those that signed were Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar while Zambia and Comoros indicated that they would sign at a later stage.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
The Economic Partnership Agreements between ACP countries and the European Commission must comply with Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which governs regional trade agreements concluded by WTO members. Article XXIV stipulates that ‘free trade areas’ must eliminate duties on “substantially all the trade” within a “reasonable length of time,” yet these terms remain loosely defined in the WTO. West Africa and the European Commission hold divergent views on the definition of these two terms. This article highlights the legal arguments in support of West Africa’s position.

On 30 September 2009, the Sugar Protocol will officially expire. Following a six year transition period, the Protocol - which provides a group of ACP countries with guaranteed access to the EU market for fixed quantities of sugar at preferential prices - will be replaced by a non-reciprocal duty and quota-free preferential trade system on 1 October 2015. This article examines these changes to the EU-ACP sugar trade regime. Provisions have been made to allow for a gradual adaptation to the new reality from October 2009 to October 2015. During this period, three major changes will be introduced: guaranteed prices will decrease and finally disappear, quotas will be increased, and the number of ACP countries which can benefit from preferential relations with the EU for sugar will tripple.

Monday, 21 September 2009
The next Brussels Development Briefing will be held in Brussels on 23rd September 2009 from 8h30 to 13h00 on “Upgrading to compete in a globalised world: What opportunities and challenges for SMEs in agriculture in ACP countries?” (Venue: European Commission, Centre Borschette, Rue Froissart 36, Room 1D). This Briefing will discuss the effects of the financial and food crisis on enterprises in developing countries and also the opportunities this can provide to link local SMEs to global economies. Experts will also discuss investment programmes needed to support SMEs in order to promote growth and investments, upgrade and upscale SMEs to reach regional and exports markets. This session will also share concrete examples of SMEs being successful by boosting innovation and technology, processing, value-addition, infrastructure upgrading.