Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2018
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

The African Development Bank has approved two substantial loans to support agriculture in Uganda and Cameroon. A total of €89.291m will be directed at Cameroon’s oil palm, plantain and pineapple sectors to enhance the competitiveness of the three plants’ value chains by developing infrastructure such as roads and warehouses and training young entrepreneurs. The project will “also create jobs and sustainably improve stakeholders’ incomes in targeted crop sectors” and is expected to “boost inclusive growth” by creating jobs for young people and enhancing food and nutritional security. The project will see the development of rural roads, warehouses, markets, electricity networks and drinking water supply systems and provide support for the establishment institution-building farmer organisations, technical guidance and training.

xperts have called on Africa's three trade blocs of COMESA, EAC and SADC to expedite the harmonisation of rules of origin to boost industrialisation and intra-regional trade on the continent. According to the experts, harmonising rules of origin will encourage competitiveness for the African private sector, and accelerate regional integration. Rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product. The importance is derived from the fact that duties and restrictions in several cases depend on the source of imports.

A conference to examine the strategic business links between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, Cuba and the State of Florida is set to take place on Wednesday, February 10 at the Miramar Cultural Center. The conference will place specific emphasis on examining trade and investment opportunities in agriculture, agribusiness, green energy and related sectors. The Trinidad and Tobago headquartered Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) will spearhead a special session that will address investment opportunities and incentives designed to reduce the Caribbean’s food import bill while identifying strategic links with Florida that could expand market access and trade.

South Africa and Liberia on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that seeks to create a legal framework to improve trade and economic relations between the two countries. The South African government said the agreement also seeks to foster mutually beneficial relations and stimulate private sector interest and other forms of economic activity in the respective countries. The Liberian delegation, led by Andrew G. Paygar-Flangiah (Deputy Minister of Commerce and Trade, responsible for small business and administration), was hosted by Deputy Minister of Small Business Development Elizabeth Thabethe in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The COMESA Business Councils (CBC) together with the East African Business Council (EABC) and the Association of SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCCI) as part of the Tripartite Private Sector Platform will convene the inaugural Tripartite Regional Dialogue to ensure inclusive participation of the private sector in the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations, at Hotel Villa Portofino in Kigali, Rwanda. “It goes without doubt that African policymakers have recognized more needs to be done in trade policy reforms if the Africa rising narrative is to fulfil its full potential. What is more, this dialogue is a key step forward on that journey that will provide a platform for networking and fostering new relationship for business and advocacy purposes,” said CBC’s CEO, Ms. Sandra Uwera while speaking ahead of the dialogue.

The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) – torchbearer of the N$5 billion worth a year livestock industry – will have its eyes fixed on this year’s national budget after it last year urgently requested government to allocate 10 percent of the budget to the agricultural sector. LPO chairperson Mecki Schneider made the request in his report to the annual congress of the LPO that was held in Windhoek at the end of last year. He reaffirmed that this promise was made originally in the Maputo Declaration of 2003 and confirmed by the Malabo Declaration of 2014 by the heads of state of all African Union (AU) member countries. The Namibian government has for decades now been spending only between four and five percent of its national budget on agriculture, despite an international consensus that Namibia should spend at least 10 percent on agriculture.

The COMESA Business Council, a private sector institution of the regional bloc, said improving intra-trade in the regional bloc requires a need to structure mechanisms on the operations of local companies so that they can produce products of acceptable standards. trade trade A number of multinationals have decided to source outside the region due to the failure by the majority of local suppliers to meet the internationally quality standard requirement demanded for food and beverages suppliers. The institution has thus started a project of training local suppliers on quality standards and food safety.

Dubai Port World plans to construct a $40 million inland container depot on a 30-hectare plot of land in Masaka, a suburb east of Kigali city, as Rwanda seeks to become a regional trade logistics centre. Dubai Port World has been granted a 25-year concession to finance, develop and manage the facility, which will provide warehousing, truck parking, a container yard and other auxiliary services. According to Dubai Port, the first phase of the Inland Container Depot, at the Kigali Logistics Platform, is set to be complete in 18 months’ time, raising hopes that it will contribute to the ease of doing business in the country.

The Finish government has expressed its commitment towards supporting the East African Community (EAC), noting that the significance of regional integration is not only for East Africans, but also an important source of growth for the continent as a whole. Finish ambassador to Tanzania Pekka Hukka made the remarks in Arusha when speaking soon after the EAC secretary general, ambassador Dr Richard Sezibera received credentials from the envoy as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of his country in the EAC.

Angola will start producing its own wheat flour in 2017, in Huambo province, the minister of Industry, Bernarda Martins, said in Luanda. The minister said that the future plant would have a production capacity of about 1,200 tons, of which 900 tons of flour and the remaining 200 tons of bran. Martins said the plant equipment would be cleared through customs in February and that construction work was “virtually complete”.