Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2017
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Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the European Union (EU) have signed the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) agreement worth EUR 24 Million to support regional private sector development. At the 11th EDF launch and signing ceremony, held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados, Head of Delegation of the EU to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, the OECS, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Amb. Daniela Tramacere highlighted that the EU remained the largest grant aid donor in the world and have set aside a total of 364 million euros for regional development; a substantial increase to the amount of aid provided under the previous regional development fund.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The director of the Antigua & Barbuda Bureau of Standards said the twin island state has benefitted immensely from a regional programme funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), which was centred on the building of the region’s capabilities in the several areas of quality infrastructure, and using these competences as a means of managing and reducing barriers to trade. The 10th EDF Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme concluded yesterday after a five-year lifespan. Dianne Lalla Rodrigues said the bureau of standards was able to develop a strategic plan to guide the functions of the bureau and provide training in technical areas, mass and temperature, the acquisition of equipment and a marketing and promotion plan, which is nearing completion.

The High Representative/Vice President, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, concluded an official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The aim of the visit was to strengthen ties and boost partnership with the African Union on common areas of cooperation. In this respect, they met with the new leader of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat who took up office just two days ago. Remarks following her press point with Moussa Faki Mahamat are available here. The EU announced new financial support for the Horn of Africa region as well as for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

President Donald Trump's proposed deep cuts to humanitarian aid go against the global development goals the United States committed to in 2015, the European Union's international development chief warned Friday. "Any withdrawal or cut in the development assistance would actually go contrary to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda," the EU commissioner for international cooperation and development, Neven Mimica, told The Associated Press. The ambitious set of global goals take aim at eradicating poverty, reducing disease burden and ensuring clean water around the world, among other issues, by 2030. They were adopted by the international community at a United Nations summit.

Friday, 17 March 2017

This stems from an agreement with the Finance Ministry, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák said on February 22, after the cabinet okayed the annual plan for bilateral development assistance for 2017. “Based on the government's approval of the document today, we may launch calls for proposals now,” the minister said, as cited by the TASR newswire. “Neither our priorities nor the countries [receiving aid] have changed. It's a total of 10 countries, or nine plus one, where our primary focus is on development assistance.” Special attention is being paid to Southern Sudan, which is grappling with specific humanitarian and social concerns. For humanitarian and development assistance to evolve into economic cooperation and a dialogue, Slovakia would need to have a diplomatic presence there.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

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.”

Tuesday, 07 March 2017

Some senior ministers reportedly want to divert aid from “wasteful” projects in Africa and Asia to allies in eastern Europe in a bid to get a better Brexit deal. Downing Street officials and senior cabinet ministers believe part of the Government’s £12bn aid budget should be used to win support for a favourable deal from Brussels. According to The Sunday Times, the proposed plan would see aid money being diverted from projects described as “questionable” in developing countries in Asia and Africa to Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, which so far have been allies of the UK. The manoeuvre is reportedly designed to persuade eastern European countries to back the demands of the UK, when negotiating its exit from the EU.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Finland Ambassador to Ethiopia Helena Airaksinen said that Ethiopia has made good progress in terms of economic development."Finland is also keen on expanding economic cooperation with Ethiopia." In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Amb. Helena Airaksinen said Finland and Ethiopia have been working together in rural economic development particularly in Amhara state focusing on inland administration, agricultural value chain production improvement programs and the like. According to her, the rural economic development programs are aimed at improving rural farmers' productivity and income.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union will support the coconut industry in Samoa and Vanuatu as part of a new regional initiative to improve small producer’s business competitiveness. The €3.5 million Coconut Industry Development Project (CIDP) aims to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Samoa and Vanuatu, and to share lessons learned to support the development of the regional coconut industries. SPC Project Team Leader, Karen Mapusua, says the call for Expressions of Interest is now open for all involved in the coconut industry including the private sector, farmers’ organisations, and NGOs working with farmers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Zambian government said Tuesday that the plan by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to set up an office in the country was a clear endorsement by Europe that Zambia was one of the best investment destinations in Africa. Minister of Finance Felix Mutati, who has just returned from a tour of some European countries to strengthen economic cooperation, said the European bank promised to set up an office in Zambia by the third quarter of 2017.

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