Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Agriculture Sector in OECS Member States is on the brink of a new era in collaborative production for regional and international trade. A comprehensive grouping of regional agriculture stakeholders, which include Ministers, Manufacturers, Traders, representatives from the Bureau of Standards and the OECS Commission, are working together to ensure the success of the initiative. The virtual OECS Agri-Export Working group began in June of 2016 and, only one year later, has seen many achievements due to the influence and reach of the agricultural stakeholders involved, paired with the technological nature of the ongoing online meeting, which facilitates speedy action and decision making. Main achievements of the Agri-Export Initiative to date include:

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently met to discuss the investment climate scorecard targeted at unlocking investment in the region. In a chat with CNBC Africa, Kalilou Traore, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, spoke on the need for more formal trading in the region and Morocco’s integration into the organisation. In the area of economic integration, our aim to create a regional common market regarding trade, industrialization, investment and many other issues in different sectors. We noticed that one of the biggest challenges is the investment ratio. The gap of investment in our region is very huge. An estimation of our need may be around $45 to $50 billion every year.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Board of the Ghana Netherlands Business & Culture Council (GNBCC) last week paid a courtesy visit to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. With members such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Unilever Ghana, Wienco, the Vlisco Group, Vivo Energy, Dutch&Co, PwC Ghana and IOI Loders Croklaan, the GNBCC serves as a bilateral Chamber of Commerce for Ghana and the Netherlands. It represents the business interests of both Ghanaian and Dutch companies and renders business development and support services to its members. The Netherlands is currently Ghana's fifth largest export destination, third largest import partner and among its biggest investment partners.

Ghana and Sierra Leone have agreed to ratify the agreement for cooperation between them to provide the legal framework for addressing their trade and investment concerns. Despite the good relations that exist between the two countries, there is no framework for cooperation to guide those relations, a situation which is undermining the deepening of bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries. The resolve of the two countries to ratify the agreement was one of the outcomes of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s one-day official visit to Sierra Leone last Wednesday. Speaking after the visit, the President gave an assurance that he would work with Parliament to ratify the agreement. The two countries signed the agreement for cooperation on December 19, 2013, but it is yet to be ratified by Ghana’s Parliament.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a $110.1m (Shs396b) budget for the financial year 2017/18, an 8 per cent increase from $101.3m (Shs364b) for the year ending in June. The new budget seeks to prioritise the development and promotion of nine sectors, including regional infrastructure, trade and investment. Presenting the budget to the Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, last week, Uganda's Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the chairperson of the Council of Ministers of EAC, said: "The new budget seeks to consolidate the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods including agricultural and other widely consumed products."

West African neighbours Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top cocoa producers, are to set up a joint industry body, according to a document to be signed by the heads of their marketing boards on Friday. The Ghana-Cote d'Ivoire Sustainable Cocoa Initiative will, among other things, aim to set farmer prices that will discourage cross-border smuggling and enhance collaboration between the two countries' cocoa marketing departments.Between them the two countries grow around 60 percent the world's cocoa -- about 2.5 million tonnes a year --- but differing policies between the two countries have often led their farmgate cocoa prices to diverge, encouraging smuggling.

Monday, 05 June 2017

Trade volume among member states of the East African Community (EAC) has declined during the past one year, with officials attributing the fall to existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) Tanzania's Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, said however that the decline was due to reduced trade in some products, such as food crops, mainly rice, but official figures fall short of specific reasons for the slump in trade."Trade has been growing over the past years save for 'just' last year ... the removal of non-tariff barriers is among issues to be resolved," he explained.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been established in a bid to garner all opportunities on the ground and boost trade and investment across Africa. Yet, intra-trade among African countries is valued at 12 per cent. This figure, however, remains dwarf as compared with other continents, such as North America and Western Europe which stands at 40 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) President Solomon Afework told The Ethiopian Herald that regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa.

A Short Messaging Service has been launched for reporting trade barriers in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), according to The Herald. This supplements the existing web-based reporting system. The Tripartite system for reporting, processing, monitoring and resolving non-tariff barriers (NTBs) is available on www.tradebarriers.org and went live in November 2010. The SMS tool was first launched in 2013 in Zambia to facilitate a diverse spectrum of economic operators, especially the informal and small scale traders who may not have access to the internet.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The ministry of Trade together with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) are in advanced stages of developing a strategy to improve trade across borders. The proposed strategy lays out planned interventions and priorities that will eliminate some of the challenges faced by women and informal traders. Addressing the participants during a stakeholders' meeting to review the strategy held in Kampala last week, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said government is going to coordinate different stakeholders in different ministries charged with trade facilitation. "The strategy has also been developed and approved and we are now going to present to Cabinet. We are giving it less than a month. We are also going to ensure that they work on infrastructure and also approve the National Export Development Strategy which comprises all these projects," she said.