Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

July 2018
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Monday, 16 July 2018

Africa is eating more rice than other food staples, though it produces less than it needs. This is good news for the cereal’s potential to help Sub Saharan Africa out of poverty according to researchers. Rice is the second most important source of calories in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), a research organisation working to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security. Thanks to fast urbanising Africa, consumption of rice is growing by six per cent annually. “Rice is important for Africa food security and the reasons are clear,” AfricaRice Center, Deputy Director General, Marco Wopereis, told IPS, adding that “consumers like it and the consumption growth is just mind boggling as a result of population and change of preference as people in cities want food that can be prepared quickly and stored easily and rice is just perfect for that.”

Egyptian investors are seeking further inlets into the markets of neighbouring African countries under the parameters established by the framework of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). To this end, Plenipotentiary Trade Minister of the Egyptian Commercial Services (ECS) Ali Al- Leithy said that Egypt will inaugurate new representational offices in five African countries in 2016 to better promote its national products in African markets, especially COMESA member states.

For the first time since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015, while exceeding expectations. International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated US$30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the US$28.8 billion spent in 2014.

Monday, 07 March 2016

The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel with support from USAID, conducted the survey and reported that one of the major obstacles to development of intraregional trade in agricultural and food products in West Africa is the multiplicity of checkpoints. “These are the natural forms of administrative barriers and costs of all kinds (official taxes, fees, contributions, illegal payments etc.). These checkpoints cause delays in getting products to consumer markets, and different types of illegal payments increase the cost-price of commodities to the final consumer,” the study revealed.

Timor-Leste (East Timor) offers tax advantages and other incentives to those who want to invest in the country and is working to overcome the shortcomings that still exist in terms of legislation, the country’s Trade Minister said Thursday in Dili. Constancio Pinto, who is also the Industry and Environment Minister, was presenting the 2nd meeting of trade ministers and of the 1st Economic Forum of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), taking place next week in Dili. “Timor-Leste is located in what is an economically very active region and can be the gateway or bridge between the countries of the CPLP and Asia-Pacific,” he said, cited by Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Friday, 04 March 2016

The Ministry of Agriculture agreed with the governments of Tanzania, Zambia, and Congo to establish three pilot model farms with areas ranging between 500 and 600 acres. Director of COMESA Department at the Ministry of Agriculture Maher El-Maghrabi said the ministry agreed with the three countries to establish farms to produce various crops.

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina says Zambia is not in a crisis, and the challenges posed by low copper prices presents the country with an opportunity to embrace agriculture and improve the food-crop processing industry. Zambia’s economic mainstay is copper, which accounts for over 70 percent of foreign exchange earnings but with low prices, currently at US$4,471 per tonne, the country is facing some economic challenges. During a business luncheon on Monday hosted by Ministry of Finance, and attended by diplomats and Government officials, Dr Adesina said the AfDB is committed to the Zambian economy as can be seen from the 19 projects worth US$900 million being undertaken in various sectors in the country.

Some industrialists, particularly those badly hit by Nigeria’s trade restrictions, seem to think so; they think that since diplomacy has failed, Ghana must come up with its own ‘prohibition list’ and refuse certain goods entry -- giving the excuse that it targets no country in particular. That way, they argue, the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), which is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a free trade area, might gain some leverage. “If we also make it difficult for them to export, then we would have to find common ground,” Kate Quartey-Papafio, CEO of Reroy Cables, told the B&FT in an interview.

Driving through the western maize belt in the North West bordering Botswana, vast stretches of normally lush and green fields lie dry and brown. Farmers are battling the worst drought on record, which has transformed parts of agricultural lands into what looks like desert, says Wandile Sihlobo, grains economist at Grains SA. So far five out of the country’s nine provinces have been declared drought disaster zones, as crops fail and livestock perish. And it is not just SA. The whole Southern African region has been hit by an intense drought since early last year that was brought on by El Niño weather phenomenon. With SA being an important regional grain exporter, international food and aid agencies are fearing that millions of people will require humanitarian aid this year.

The revival of East African Community 15 years ago during the NRM rule has placed the region in the metropolis on the global map increased market size of the region, led to high economic growth among benefits that comes with integration. Regional economic integration is one way countries achieve national interests only in concert with others. It expands national markets to the region. Like globalization, it can be thought of as an alternative to international embeddedness or how one or countries relates to the rest of the world. Learning from international experience and reorganizing the importance of regional integration, the establishment of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation, was signed by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.