Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 27 May 2017

Vanuatu hosted its first ever Agritourism Festival from 9-11th November at the Agriculture Complex- Tagabe, in the capital city of Port Vila. Agriculture and food production are critical to Vanuatu’s prosperity and welfare: for food security and job creation. Given that animal, vegetable and other food products equate to over 82% of the island’s economy, Vanuatu boasts rich agricultural resources. Yet, the country is still heavily reliant on imports, which in 2011 amounted to over 280 million USD (more than four times the amount of exports). Vanuatu, like many other Pacific Island nations, relies on cheap, calorific and low nutritional food imports from the USA and Australasia.

At the time of decolonisation in the 1960's and 1970's, the then EEC brought together a strange collection of former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific islands (called the ACP group). It was just at the time that the UK was joining the EEC, and so the group included all the former British, French, Dutch, Belgian and eventually Portuguese ex-colonies. Oddly, it did not include any of the former Spanish colonies. The ACP group was formed in 1975, and since then, the EU has paid substantial amounts of aid through the European development fund, which is replenished by its members every seven years.

International donors yesterday (17 November) pledged $2.2 billion (€2 billion) in aid for strife-torn Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest countries, officials said. “The positive response you have given … will galvanise our efforts and make sure our recovery plans bear fruit,” Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera said after a donors’ conference in Brussels. The pledges topped the $1.6 billion Touadera had wanted over three years to kick-start the devastated economy but were short of the $3.0 billion targeted for the five-year programme.

Major NGOs gave a guarded welcome today (22 November) to a major once-in-a-decade, overhaul of the EU’s thinking on development. The Commission – fronted in a Strasbourg press conference, in a sign of the weight it gives the issue, by foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica – unveiled a trilogy of papers setting out the future of development and aid spending between now and 2030.

Yesterday, the European Commission launched a policy package that maps EU current actions and commitments to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda and lays down the future direction for the EU development cooperation and relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The Fair Trade movement welcomes the recognition by the EU of the “strong contribution” of Fair Trade to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and looks forward to work with the EC to upgrade the EU answer to the global goals. Yesterday, the European Commission announced its new strategic approach for achieving sustainable development in the EU and globally.

The Cotonou Agreement which governs relations between the European Union and 78 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) will expire in February 2020. How could the relationship evolve? In the following interview, Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of DEVCO (the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development) discusses the shared interests which will guide cooperation and outlines a new basis for partnership founded on regional pillars. Capacity4dev (C4D): The current partnership agreement with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific expires in February 2020.

The Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States on the one hand and, on the other hand, the European Union and its Member States, signed in Cotonou on June 2000 is due to expire in February 2020. Negotiations between the parties in order to examine provisions to govern relations subsequently have to start no later than August 2018.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Today, the European Commission is setting out a strategic approach for achieving sustainable development in Europe and around the world. A first Communication on the next steps for a sustainable European future explains how the Commission's 10 political priorities contribute to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how the EU will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the future. A second Communication on a new European Consensus on Development proposes a shared vision and framework for development cooperation for the EU and its Member States, aligned with the 2030 Agenda.

Boost Africa Initiative, a unique partnership in support of innovation and entrepreneurship across Africa has been launched today in Abidjan by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with the European Commission. The launch ceremony took place at the Headquarters of the AfDB in Abidjan in presence of EIB President Werner Hoyer, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The government of Rwanda and the European Union signed a $21 million financing agreement to support accountable economic governance. The grant signed by Rwanda's Minister of Finance, Claver Gatete and Head of EU Delegation to Rwanda, Michael Ryan is expected to help improve the governance of public funds.