Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 25 September 2017

The European Union has cautioned President Museveni to go slow on his plans to hurriedly implement donor-funded projects, warning that it could end in shoddy work and increased corruption. The World Bank and European Union are some of the biggest funders of agriculture and infrastructure projects. At last week's World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa, Mr Museveni criticised international financial agencies funding infrastructure projects in Africa as "unserious", citing "frivolity" on their part.Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, the head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda, (EU) in a rejoinder said whereas the President's comments were not directed at the EU, they "strictly follow and monitor our projects".

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The government of China granted eight million USD to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to strengthen WFP's life-saving nutrition support for children and women in Ethiopia. Speaking at the event, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan said: "China has been a long-standing partner of WFP in its humanitarian operations globally." He said the fund would help Ethiopia to overcome the impacts of the severe drought. China is also calling on the international community to extend relief supports to Ethiopia. For his part, WFP Representative and Country Director John Aylieff said China is becoming one of the emerging donors for WFP. "Government exerted its strong leadership, allocating hundreds of millions of USD to facilitate emergency response operations," he said

The National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa, together with tralac, an NGO studying trade law, has released a study on African agricultural trade as it plays out on the world stage. The conclusion of ‘WTO: Agricultural issues for Africa’ by Prof Ron Sandrey and his fellow authors, is that there are few agricultural sectors where Africa would benefit from WTO intervention and that the continent couldn’t do better than its current preferential access to the European Union. For South Africa, which is designated a developed nation under WTO rules (apparently a self-selected designation), the situation is more complex.

Tuesday, 02 May 2017

A deeper UK engagement with African trade is sensible and beneficial, however, negotiators will need to wake up to complexities of hashing out any deals on the continent. When The Times reported that some Whitehall officials had been using the term ‘Empire 2.0’ to describe post-Brexit UK’s campaign to cosy up to its former colonies, there was a significant backlash among some members of the 52-state Commonwealth. Yet despite the unofficial branding, the official line is one of reciprocal trade deals and closer foreign policy – both of which will be welcome to the UK and its allies.

The European Union has allocated €53 million (Shs202.9 billion) towards easing trade transaction in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (Comesa) bloc where Uganda is a member. The money is part of the 11th European Development Fund's €85 million (Shs325.5 billion) support for Comesa regional integration programmes. Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya at a recent regional meeting of member states held in Lusaka Zambia, to validate the identified projects, said: "The overarching goal of the trade facilitation programme is to make trade transactions easier, quicker, more efficient and less costly, thereby enhancing trade flows in the identified transport corridors." The funding expected to increase intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at specific border posts.

Adopted in the form of a joint declaration, the European consensus on development, more than a common banner, is a necessary precondition to the complementarity and coordination of European development policies envisaged in the EU Treaties. The redefinition of development policy in times of internal crisis and global transformation is high-stakes – while integrating the new and ambitious vision presented in Agenda 2030 is a recognised necessity, there are inherent risks to the exercise. A surfeit of priorities may undermine the strategic character of this framework document, while exacerbating challenges of coherence and coordination.

During an official visit to Haiti after the appointment of a new Government, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced a new EU aid package. The first of which is a special allocation of €18.5 million (€14.5 million in exceptional budget support and €4 million for an agricultural project) in response to Hurricane Matthew which hit the island in October 2016 and caused widespread damage to housing, agriculture, and infrastructure. The EU had also provided initial emergency relief last year when the hurricane struck the country. Commissioner Mimica said: "Through our new support we clearly show the solidarity of the European Union towards Haiti. We remain committed to supporting the Haitian population and the reconstruction and stabilisation of the country."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

New figures confirm that the European Union and its member states have consolidated their place as the world’s leading aid donor in 2016. But NGOs and MEPs say the picture is distorted and the aid figures are inflated. Preliminary OECD figures show that Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by the EU and its member states has reached €75.5 billion in 2016. This constitutes an 11% increase compared to 2015 levels. Highest level to date The EU’s assistance has increased for the fourth year in a row and reached its highest level to date, the Commission said in a press release yesterday (11 April). In 2016, EU collective ODA represented 0.51% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), having increased from 0.47% in 2015.

The European Commission has announced humanitarian assistance of €47 million to help people in need in the Great Lakes and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions, who continue to face the consequences of years of conflict and displacement, as well as widespread food insecurity and natural disasters. Of the €47 million announced, €32 will go to populations in the Great Lakes region – including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, while €15 million will go to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The European Union has announced its support for the local production of fortified complementary food in Chad. The joint 3-year project (2016-2019) will be implemented by several United Nations agencies (FAO, WHO, WFP, UNICEF) in partnership with the Chad Government. Through an integrated, innovative approach, the project aims to improve access, availability and use of highly nutritious complementary food for children under five. Malnutrition is a major obstacle to country’s development.