Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 23 September 2017

The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of ministers began a meeting here yesterday with a call on the 79-member grouping to meet their financial obligations so as to allow their group to better survive a changing global environment.The Guyanese ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick I Gomes, addressing the 105th Council Session, said that a prerequisite to the continued well-being of the ACP Group in general, and the Secretariat in particular is to better serve all our stakeholders. “I would therefore like to appeal to member states to continue your efforts towards the timely payment of statutory obligations in order to improve our self-reliance and the smooth functioning of the secretariat

Monday, 08 May 2017

The latest rankings in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation shows people living in countries with low trade barriers are better off View west near Piggs Peak in SwazilandSwaziland receives more than 90 per cent of its imports from South Africa. (Image source: Michael Denne/Commons) Swaziland ranked top of all African countries as having the highest level of free trade, according to the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom. The country, known as one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies, scored 88.9, followed closely by Mauritius with 88.7. Swaziland’s economy is closely linked to the South African economy from which it receives more than 90 per cent of its imports and to which it sends 60 per cent of its exports: sugar, wood pulp, cotton, beef and soft drink concentrates.

Thursday, 04 May 2017

For too long, neoliberal ideas have dominated issues in development economics, and it is easy to see why. When richer countries put their success down to increased trade openness and capital mobility, it is understandable that developing countries would want a taste too. The most famous argument for this line of thinking is that as countries move goods more easily between each other, it encourages the flow of ideas and innovation. The question of how regional trade can promote development in Nigeria is an important one. Over time, regional trade blocs have cropped up across Africa – a response to the argument that Africa's underdevelopment is due to low intraregional trade.

Peter Sotamaruti’s 2-acre farm near Bungoma, a village in western Kenya, is minuscule by the standards of the developed world. But it’s double the acreage he tended five years ago. Sales of surplus corn have allowed the 49-year-old farmer and his family to trade up from a mud hut to a three-room brick house with solar-powered lights. His modest profits also cover school fees for his four high school-age children and pay for health insurance, a luxury among farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. “We now treat our farm as a business,” says Sotamaruti, who plans to expand to 4 acres in the next year.

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.