Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Vegetable seed specialist Hazera has announced that it has opted to support agricultural development in Africa, providing high quality seeds and expertise to support people improving their living conditions. Hazera utlined several examples of where it has made a difference on the continetn. In Ethiopia, a development project that began with the adoption of one village is expanding now to 13 additional villages, while another project is supported in Holeta, where the Roseland foundation is developing the community through education and agriculture. More broadly, Hazera is training farmers all over Africa and is introducing vegetable varieties that can bring African farms to healthy profit.

The Agriculture Export Council (AEC) is working on the preparation of marketing and consumer studies for the African markets and is expected to finish them in May. The AEC also intends to raise exports of the sector to $2.26bn in 2017, up from $2.146bn in 2016, with an expected growth of 5%. Head of the AEC, Abdel Hamid Demerdash, said that the African market is important and promising for the future of Egyptian crops, where there are many potential large markets. He added that the studies are based on exploiting the joint trade agreements between Egypt and the rest of the African countries, which will contribute to entering these markets with the help of intact economic trade plans.

Wednesday, 03 May 2017

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

Zimbabwe expects to receive 80 centre pivots worth over $6 million from Spain to aid irrigation under Command Agriculture, as Government moves to adopt new technologies and strengthen infrastructural development in support of the successful import-substitution programme. Negotiations are under way for another facility worth $60 million for bigger equipment from the same country, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said yesterday. The 80 centre pivots will come in batches of 20 and the first batch has now been prepared for shipment, with installation of the units expected to start next month. The centre pivots will range in size from those which can irrigate 20 hectares to those for 80 hectares.

Thursday, 27 April 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.

South Africa''s Government''s priority is to ensure that there is certainty and continuity in the trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom as a result of Brexit, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Minister Davies told the British Chamber of Business that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) provides a good basis to facilitate trade between South Africa and the UK going forward, SA News reports Monday. 'Our priority now is that we do not want any interruption in our trade relations with the UK. The UK government has given an indication that it will roll-over existing trade arrangements to provide continuity and predictability,' said the official. This, as the UK is set to leave the European Union (EU) through a term known as Brexit, the official information agency points out.

The Gambia and the European Union on Wednesday handed over their funded women’s garden project in Kumbaney village, Niamina West in the Central River Region. The project, which cost two million dalasi, was part of EU project to promote women’s socio-economic rights. The 2 hectare site was fenced and housed a shed, 2 toilets and has 8 concrete lined wells. Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Pansaw Nyassi, Project Manager at Actionaid International-The Gambia, explained that they conducted various assessments across a number of villages in the district and Kumnaney merited its naming as beneficiary of the project. He said, apart from the garden project, they have also supported the women of the region with poultry and tie and dye projects.

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."