Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 21 October 2017

The migrant crisis on Europe's doorstep has returned to the headlines. In reality, it never went away; people are fleeing war, persecution, or just seeking a better life in unprecedented numbers. The pressure will grow unless we take urgent steps to address the drivers of this crisis. In Africa, 55,000 jobs will need to be created every day just to absorb new entrants into the workforce by 2035. If the economic aspirations of this young population cannot be met in their own countries, we will see more uncontrolled and unsustainable migration. Britain is at the forefront of the response. We are taking immediate steps to protect our borders and tackle people smuggling.

The further you travel from Brussels, the likelier people are to see Brexit as an opportunity. I’m in Kampala, discussing post-EU commercial prospects with business and political leaders from across East Africa. While not everyone here started as a Leaver, there is now a widespread hope that Brexit will lead to more open trade arrangements, above all in farming, which employs two thirds of Africa’s workforce. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy treats Africa as an economic colony. Brussels applies tariffs to tomato sauce, but not to tomatoes; to chocolate, but not to cocoa beans; to roasted coffee, but not to green coffee.

With the world on the brink of an unprecedented four famines, donor countries must urgently step up efforts to tackle the structural causes of hunger and poverty. Food security and sustainable agriculture are among the European Union’s key priorities for development cooperation. The EU is committed to longterm solutions, including empowering smallholders, in particular women, and supporting environmentally sustainable approaches in agriculture. In practice, however, its development aid to the agricultural sector does not live up to its commitments. An Oxfam analysis of more than 7,500 EU-funded projects reveals a significant lack of transparency in reporting, casting doubt on the accountability of the EU’s aid.

Standard Chartered Bank and the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank) has signed a $300m Term loan facility, backed by a guarantee from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group. Agriculture, Karoo The deal secures long-term USD funding for Land Bank at very competitive terms achieving reduced overall cost of borrowing and diversification of financing sources. The facility has a door-to-door tenure of 10 years and will help increase long-term liquidity for the benefit of the agricultural sector in South Africa.

At a bare floored restaurant on the edge of the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, I asked the owner what there was to eat. She gestured to a poster on the wall. It was an illustrated guide of 44 animal species under threat from poaching and over-hunting, but for the restaurant it served as a menu. Each animal she pointed to was available to order. The Dja, and other forests in Central Africa's Congo Basin, are a breadbasket for millions of people living in the region. At nearly 2 million square kilometres, the area of tropical forest in the Congo Basin is the second largest in the world after the Amazon. Besides supplying bushmeat, these forests provide building materials, medicine, wild fruits, vegetables and spices.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Tuesday it will finance the construction of a 32-MW solar power plant in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena. The financing for the facility was discussed during a visit last week by AfDB's vice president for power, energy, climate change and green growth Amadou Hott to the Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno. AfDB said it plans to back other projects in the country such as its electrical interconnection with Cameroon and the rehabilitation of the current National Electricity Company (SNE) plant.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Government of Mozambique, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have announced a new project that will strengthen sustainable forest management and contribute to Mozambique achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15 on forests. The $6 million project is part of the World Bank-funded $47 million Mozambique Forest Investment Project. The project aims to stem the rapid pace of deforestation and support investment in the forest sector while creating new income and livelihood opportunities from sustainable forest management for rural communities.

Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director. Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, says the Federal Government has developed "Conduits of Excellence (CoE)" to ensure consistent and stringent quality management for all exportable products. Mr. Awolowo told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday that the Federal Government had also set up a committee for the realisation of the objective. According to him, the committee will work under the technical guidance of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO. He also said the committee would also develop the code of practice and Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, for production and processing of selected products.

Globalisation and technological change have contributed significantly to driving economic growth and raising living standards across the globe. However, globalisation has created challenges and its benefits have not been shared widely enough. By bringing together developed and emerging market economies, the G20 is determined to shape globalisation to benefit all people. Most importantly, we need to better enable our people to seize its opportunities. We are resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and chief executive officer of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) Rodinald Soomer have signed a grant agreement aimed at enhancing export capacity and value-added in the island’s spices sector. The immediate beneficiary company, West India Spices, has been awarded a grant of US$244,000. The grant, according to Soomer, will help to increase drying and grinding capacity based on the use of renewable power sources that will facilitate all weather production of value-added nutmeg-based products for export. “It is expected that the project will have the impact of increasing West India Spices’ purchases of raw inputs for producing essential oils on average by 10 percent per year until 2025,” Sommer said at the signing ceremony.