Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

July 2018
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Monday, 16 July 2018

As many as 49-million people in Southern Africa could be affected by a drought that has been worsened by the most severe and longest El Nino weather pattern in 35 years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday. The WFP, which has previously said 14-million people face hunger in the region, said the El Nino conditions had caused the lowest recorded rainfall between October and December since 1981. The forecast for January to March indicated a high probability of below-normal rainfall in Southern Africa, which would result in one of the worst droughts on record, it added.

Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market. Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says. To solve this gap, Wachanga set up online delivery company Kitchen Soko. In less than a year he has built up a network of 80 local farmers in Kenya whose produce is delivered in a box straight to the customer’s front door. Customers can find out exactly which farm the produce has come from.

Thursday, 03 March 2016

In order to trade goods and services efficiently, to become a more active partner in global and regional trade, and to connect to global value chains, it is crucial for every region and country to offer solid trade infrastructure. Improved trade efficiency strengthens conditions for increased technology transfer, innovation, and production capacities, which stimulate the creation of additional jobs and contribute to poverty alleviation. Infrastructure needs throughout the world have never been greater. They shape our environments and largely determine our livelihoods today and in the future, reason why infrastructure lies at the core of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The first negotiating session of the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations will take place later this month, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission has announced. This first set of negotiations will lay the groundwork for upcoming substantive negotiations throughout this year until 2017, the indicative deadline for the establishment of a Continental FTA across Africa. The Tripartite FTA, a stepping stone bringing together Africa’s three major regional economic communities in preparation for the CFTA, was signed into force in June of last year. A week later the African Union summit formally launched negotiations for the CFTA at its meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa on 15 June.

Despite the fact that all 54 states making the African Union had inked the Malabo Declaration on Agricultural Development on the continent, only eight countries have so far executed its bedrock requirement of pumping at least 10 per cent of their respective public expenditures into the sector. "It is rather strange that, in almost all African countries, agriculture employs more than 80 per cent of their population, yet when it comes to budgeting, the sector only gets peanuts," stated Mr Christophe Bazivambo, the Chairperson of the East African Legislative Assembly's Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources.

Tuesday, 01 March 2016

UNCTAD's work with West African countries gains momentum thanks to German support for a new capacity-building project for Nigeria, Mali and Benin. In November 2015, UNCTAD and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), represented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, signed an Agreement whereby Germany will provide EUR 950,000 for the project "Transparent Trade Procedures in the region of the Economic Community Of West African States".

Thursday, 18 February 2016

There are still several bottlenecks preventing the East African Common Market becoming a reality. “Common market, open space can only be achieved if the environment is open. If we are going to have free flow of goods and services, mutual recognition agreements all the non tariff barriers have to be eliminated,” Stephen Ruzibiza the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) said last week. He was speaking during a dialogue organised by the East African Trade and Investment Hub (EATIH) together with PSF in Kigali. Ruzibiza said, “This is when we shall say we have a vibrant common market.

Structural transformation of the Namibian economy is based on three main pillars namely market access, industrial development and infrastructure development. The market access pillar has two components; market access at home and market access abroad. Market access at home will be achieved through the adoption and implementation of the Retail Charter Policy framework while market access abroad is realised through international trade agreements. Namibia’s international trade arrangements include SACU, SADC Free Trade Area, Economic Partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union, EFTA (Norway beef market) and the on-going Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations (to combine COMESA-EAC-SADC into an FTA).

The Rules of Origin, which determine whether a product is produced within a particular trading partner, are pivotal to any preferential trade arrangement. “These rules of origin that we set for ourselves have the power to render the preferences useless or to actually promote industrial growth of the continent,” Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary in the Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry said last week. Hategeka was speaking at the at the recently concluded First Tripartite Private Sector Regional Dialogue on the theme ‘Towards a Private Sector position on TFTA Rules of Origin for increased Market Access’, in Kigali last week. The meeting focused more on a private sector position that is common and harmonized with respect to the tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) Rules of Origin for increased market access.

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) invested $16 million in the Agricultural Value Chain Facility (AVCF) project in its five year project to enhance agriculture in the country. About 70,000 farmer households from the three regions of the North and Brong Ahafo who benefited directly and indirectly from the project were able to produce an average of 3.2 metric tons of their crops as compared to previous production to reduce the poverty rate. The project also assisted some agro dealers, small scale and medium enterprises in capacity building to acquire more knowledge on their businesses while 385 demonstration plots were set up as training grounds for farmers.