Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 23 September 2017

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."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ethiopia and Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) launched Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DRSLP) in Semera, Afar State with 12 million Euro fund secured from the latter. The Programme, supported by the technical of the Agency and Italian soft loan, is in line with IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) assisted by the African Development Bank, GiZ, the World Bank and the European Union in the lowlands of the country. The Federal Coordination Unit within the State, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and State's Coordination Unit within the Bureau of Agricultural and Pastoral Development are in charge of coordinating the activities.

Africa needs more than token action towards building green economies. Without adequate climate action, African farmers may lose 40 % to 80 % of their croplands for growing grains. Preventing the loss of biodiversity (SDG 9) and ecosystem degradation will safeguard urban people’s food supply too. The big question is: how will private sector resources be mobilised? No doubt, African financial institutions have significant capacities to support investors. However, they have a history of risk aversion and lack sufficient market instruments to facilitate risk-sharing. Therefore investments in agribusiness has stayed below what is needed. A further drag is the macroeconomic situation. Interest rates are rising and are increasingly beyond what smallholder farmers and small and mid-sized enterprises can afford.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided over 30 million U.S dollars to support South Sudan’s membership in the African trade, insurance and development body and also strengthen electricity distribution networks. AfDB said in a statement on Thursday evening it has approved 18.15 million U.S. dollars to Juba to help with required resources to support its membership in the African Trade Insurance (ATI) and Trade and Development Bank (TDB). AfDB also approved a supplementary loan of 14.57 million dollars to rehabilitate and expand the electricity distribution networks in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

With competition for the use of forest resources ever increasing, the EU-funded project DIABOLO sets out to track disturbances and degradation more effectively. Seeing the wood for the trees with advanced sensing technology © Traveller Martin, Shutterstock As part of what has been called the ‘green infrastructure’, Europe’s forests are at the forefront of competing drives. They fulfil various functions including: the supply of raw materials for energy production, carbon sequestration to offset greenhouse gas emissions, provision of sanctuary for biodiversity conservation, and water protection, as well as offering recreation opportunities. As demands for each use increase so EU policies, regulatory frameworks and reporting requirements strive to keep up.

The Government of Liberia has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union to boost and strengthen the country's forestry sector. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Tina Intelmann, Head of the European Union delegation and Sister Mary Laurene Browne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forestry Development Authority during a press conference at the Monrovia City hall on Friday, April 7, 2017. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement aims to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Liberia to the European Union. Speaking at the press conference, Ambassador Intelmann said the European Union has played an enormous role in helping Liberia to build the forestry sector, adding that it is time for the country to take a complete control of its forest and begin to fund it.

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.