Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2018
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Jamaica’s merchandise trade deficit fell by 13.4 per cent to US$2.9 billion for January to September 2015, when compared to the US$3.3 billion recorded over the similar period in 2014. Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, credited the improvement to the reduction in food imports and lower oil prices. He said the decrease in food import is due to domestic agriculture and manufacturing becoming more competitive, despite the drought conditions.

According to the latest Human Development Report, sub-Saharan Africa countries, even those classified as middle-income countries, have disappointingly low human development indices (HDIs). HDIs are worse in Africa’s conflict zones. A reading of the literature suggests three things in order to boost intra-Africa trade

South African competition authorities said on Tuesday they would investigate allegations that soaring maize prices were being manipulated by traders to the detriment of the poor majority. The move followed a complaint from trade union federation Cosatu that it wanted an expediated investigation expedited and “perpetrators to be jailed for undermining South Africans’ food security through price manipulation”.

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The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has recommended the lifting of a ban on imports of genetically modified organisms as the body prepares to decide on applications by companies, including Monsanto, for environmental release of their products in the country.Kenya imposed a ban on GM crops in November 2012, citing concerns that the organisms pose a danger to public health. The decision locked out exporters including South Africa, the biggest maize producer on the continent.“We recommend lifting the ban,” National Biosafety Authority chief executive Willy Tonui said in an interview this week in Nairobi.

Monday, 25 January 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday launched the construction of a road to link Mombasa port and Moi International Airport, a project expected to spur trade in the East African region by decongesting the coastal city and linking to the newly constructed container terminal. The Sh3.1 billion road project, jointly funded by Kenya (Sh1.1 billion) and the British government through the Department for International Development (Sh2 billion), will see Port Reitz road turned into a dual carriageway from the Port of Mombasa to Moi airport.

Ghana has refused to implement the Common External Tariff (CET) agreed by West African states. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began the implementation of the CET in June, 2015. The major thrusts of the new tariff regime include, among others, easy movement of goods and persons across borders, removal of major trade barriers, and establishment of a common market in West Africa in order to make goods from ECOWAS countries affordable. The regime comes with an elimination of Import and Export Prohibition Lists of individual countries, except in transition compliance regulation situations.

About 70% of the population in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region depends on agriculture for food, income and employment, and the sector contributes in the different member states between 4% and 27% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The SADC Secretariat also says agriculture is a major source of exports in several countries, contributing on average about 13% to total export earnings and about 66% to the value of intra-regional trade.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde urged central African states Friday to diversify their economies, which have been hit by plummeting petroleum prices and terrorism. The IMF managing director's three-day visit to Cameroon comes at a time when the war against terrorism and the crisis in the Central African Republic have negatively impacted the region's economies. Christine Lagarde says although all six central African states counted on their petroleum resources to improve their economies, Gabon, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have suffered most as a result of reducing world prices.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is reporting major success in promoting and facilitating investment and employment opportunities for the 2014/15 financial year. Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on January 13, President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, said “we have recorded capital expenditure/capital investment of $27.1 billion for JAMPRO-facilitated projects.”“(This) represents a 33 per cent overachievement of our targets for that financial year,” she added.

Just before the December festive season got underway last year, East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera and Arancha González, the International Trade Centre Executive Director announced a joint project to boost intra-Africa trade. Note that intra-Africa trade is less than 15% of overall African trade, which makes this project important and worthy of strong support.Dr. Sezibera said the deal will contribute to improving the global competitiveness of the EAC region and to trigger sustainable economic growth. Implementation of the five-year $8.5 million TRIP for EAC project is set to begin this month.