Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

April 2017
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EDITO
Friday, 28 April 2017

Stakeholder activities under a $677.85-million European Union (EU) grant-funded programme to revitalize Jamaica’s banana sector, which had been seriously impacted by the weather in recent years, are far advanced. The Jamaica Banana Accompanying Measures (JBAM) Programme, being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), aims to spur increased production and other key outcomes, following recent fallouts caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, among other weather-related events. Its implementation commenced in 2012 following the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav in 2008, which ravaged thousands of acres of banana, resulting in farmers incurring billions of dollars in losses, and industry activities scaling down over the ensuing three years. Agricultural Attaché with the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Stefano Cillí, said the JBAM allocation is part of approximately $6.7 billion in overall funding support extended to the industry over the last 10 years.

Friday, 10 March 2017

The European Commission needs to take measures to promote the responsible cultivation of palm oil and phase out its use for biofuels, Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná said. The environment committee votes on her report on 9 March. Palm oil is extensively used in food, cosmetics and biofuels, however the unsustainable production of the cheap vegetable oil leads to deforestation, loss of nature habitats and greenhouse gas emissions, the European Parliament said in a press release. The production of palm oil leads to deforestation as jungle is removed to be replaced by palm plantations. In her report Konečná said the European Parliament should be very ambitious. “There should not be any palm oil in biofuels,” she said.

Thursday, 09 March 2017

Provisionally in effect since October 2016, the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the so-called ‘SADC EPA Group’ is a symbolic intensifying of trade ties. The more substantial impacts of the EPA, however, are likely to be felt outside the EU-SADC relationship. Part 2 of a mini-series on African trade agreements. Following negotiations lasting more than a decade, the ‘EPA Group’ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, signed an EPA with the EU on 10th June 2016. While there is scope for Angola to join the ranks later on, the nine remaining members of SADC are either exempt or in discussions over other regional EPAs.

The Solomon Islands fishing industry received good news this week as the European Commission (EC) lifted its cautionary “yellow card” designation. That designation was set in December, 2014 when the EC determined that Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and other government entities were not doing enough to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in waters of the Solomon Islands. Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association’s executive officer Johan Maefiti applauded the announcement. “This is excellent news for the fishing industry, for fishermen and for companies like Soltuna, which processes tuna here in the Solomon Islands for international markets.

British officials sparked an outcry Monday morning after reportedly describing a post-Brexit Africa-focused trade policy as “Empire 2.0.” A report in The Times newspaper said that some civil servants coined the description to describe moves to prioritize a post-Brexit free trade deal with African nations and other countries in the Commonwealth.But the epithet, which refers to Britain’s long and often destructive past relationship with poorer nations as an imperial power, has caused controversy. The Commonwealth is formed of 52 states with its roots in the British Empire. The Scottish National Party politician Alyn Smith, who like most of the rest of his party is anti-Brexit, said on Twitter that the concept was “delusional nonsense.”

The sugarcane industry remains an important sector of the Fijian economy. The industry supports the livelihoods of almost 200,000 Fijians. The European Union (EU) is a key development partner for Fiji’s sugarcane industry and the people whose livelihoods depend on it. As part of its Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol programme (AMSP 2013), the EU is implementing 11 projects, with a total investment of around FJ$100 million, in partnership with a number of national and international agencies and relevant Fiji Government ministries. One such collaboration is with the Australian Government in the context of the Training Support to the Fiji Sugarcane Industry (FSI) project.The project focuses on training sugarcane industry workers across the sugar belt regions of Fiji to improve their productivity and efficiency by upgrading their technical and management skills.

Tuesday, 07 March 2017

Air France has disclosed of its commitment to facilitate the swift export of fresh agricultural produce from Ghana to Europe in the short to medium term. It follows the commencement of the airline’s operations along the Accra-Paris route. The assurance also follows the impressive cargo patronage recorded by the airline in its inaugural flight from Accra to Paris on Wednesday. “Cargo will be as well a key success factor for the economies and the development of the route. On Tuesday night the flight left with cargo full of pineapple from Ghana to France and to Europe,” the Chairman and CEO of AirFrance, Jean Marc Janaillac told Citi Business News. According to him, the cargo capacity for the Airline’s A330 and Boeing 2007 are 10 and 16 tonnes respectively. Mr. Marc Janaillac who was speaking at the official launch of Air France’s operations also highlighted plans to capitalize on Accra’s position as one of the top long haul routes to facilitate business transactions between Ghana and France.

The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Francois Pujolas, has congratulated the government and people of Ghana on the occasion of the celebration of the country’s 60th independence anniversary which falls today and said the day also marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.He said France and Ghana had cooperated along various areas and would further deepen the friendship in such areas as economic/trade which must be sustainable, security/terrorism, climate change, culture/language, tourism, educational and health, among others. The Embassy of France and its partners will continue to strengthen their partnership with Ghana on many points, as part of Ghana’s regional integration, he stated.

South African fishing company Sea Harvest will raise as much as 1.3 billion rand ($100 million) in a stock market flotation that values the company at 3.4 billion rand, it said on Monday. The Sea Harvest Group, whose main business is fishing hake and prawns and processing the catch into frozen and chilled seafood, will sell about 92 million shares, or a 38.7 percent stake, at between 12 rand and 14.50 rand each. The company will set the final initial public offering price on March 20 and is due to make its debut on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on March 23. The company, which has a 36.7 percent share of South Africa's frozen seafood market, packages for retail and foodservice customers in Spain, Italy, Australia, Germany, Portugal, France and the Netherlands.

Monday, 06 March 2017

This publication presents a variety of comparable statistics that illustrate the developing relations between the European Union and Africa and provides important information to those interested in both continents, including political and business leadership, journalists and researchers, as well as the general public. Data about other regions/countries are also included to give a fuller picture of the relations between the European Union and Africa on the one hand, and the world as a whole on the other.