Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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Sunday, 21 January 2018

The past year has been a wakeup call for southern Africa as crop output has collapsed in nearly all States except South Africa and Zambia which will have small surpluses from the past season. The combined deficit of all SADC States this year for maize will be about 6 million tonnes and all of this will have to be sourced from abroad at a landed cost of about US$1,8 billion. The reasons for this failure during the past season are difficult to tie down to any single factor but it would seem that to some extent it can be linked to climate change.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

CARICOM Chairman, the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart said that while 2015 tested the Region’s resolve, it was also a year of great importance to the Caribbean. His characterisation was based on the influence the Community brought to bear in the international arena, and its progress in cementing regional integration. The Prime Minister of Barbados said in an end of year message that the past year demonstrated “in no uncertain terms” the value of the regional integration project and the influence that its united front could yield internationally.

Monday, 11 January 2016

A special alert issued by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns that food security could be acutely affected in southern Africa in the year ahead. The UN agency’s Global Information and Early Warning System said on Tuesday that agricultural prospects in southern Africa were weakened by the El Niño weather phenomenon that has seen a widespread drought in southern Africa and higher temperatures. Reduced farm output would follow last year’s disappointing season, which has already raised food prices and could acutely affect the food security situation in 2016, the alert said.

Maize trade within Comesa states is set to improve after member countries agreed to harmonise standards and regulations on quality to ease importation and exportation. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Mutual Recognition Framework was launched in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday to streamline analytical results and recognition of certificates of analysis issued by the laboratories of the participating countries. This will eliminate the need for multiple testing by both the exporting and importing country.

The Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE) and partners has launched an initiative known as product development scheme under the slogan ‘From the Farm to the Dining Table’. The plan is to build the capacity of 94 spice farmers from two Divisions in Morogoro rural more than 300km from Dar es Salaam. The motive behind this scheme are the challenges revealed by TANTRADE that hinder the swift development of spice farmers due to the fact that the challenges hinder these farmers from having a strategic focus as a priority before producing their crop then seek for market especially domestic market before embarking to seek for foreign markets.

​Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in July 2015, UNCTAD and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) agreed to deepen their cooperation. With financing from TMEA, the two institutions will jointly implement a number of concrete projects for the benefit of the members of the East African Community (EAC).

Intra-African trade has been only eleven percent of the continent’s total trade over the last decade. By comparison, more than sixty percent of Europe’s trade is intra-continental. The equivalent figure for North America is about 45 percent and for Asia it is about twenty-five percent. The small scale of Africa’s intra-continental trade reflects the continent’s dependence on foreign markets for the vast majority of their trade relations. African policymakers, as well as their Western counterparts, have long acknowledged the need for more intra-continental trade.

Following the donation of 60,000 banana plantlets from France the Hon. Agriculture Minister the Hon Johnson Drigo says the pilot program under the Banana Accompanying Measures project is doing well. The Minister was addressing the annual handing over of fresh produce to charitable organizations on December 18th. “The first [tranche] of 23,000 plantlets are doing exceptionally well. We have started to distribute the second batch which we received through the BAM programme.

Kenya and Ghana are pushing for the formation of an African company that would provide a continental market for goods and services to promote trade among the 50 countries of the African Union. The structure of the enterprise, to be named Pan African Trade Hub System (Paths), will be modelled along the Africa Development Bank, and registered in Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius and Tunisia. It is projected to be operational by 2017. Such a market could have huge implications for the volume of transactions between African countries and developed nations, which they now accuse of unfair trade practices.

Thursday, 07 January 2016

East African countries will gain better market access in Africa under the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), to be implemented early next year. The 26 countries under the TFTA are expected to start implementing the trade framework after its ratification to help countries exchange tariff concessions based on the principle of reciprocity. The implementation of the TFTA effectively opens the door for EAC goods, which could not easily access markets such as South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The trade partnership, which pooled the interests of the EAC, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and other African countries that have a combined GDP of more than $1 trillion, and a population of 625 million people, was launched last year in Egypt by the 26 heads of state.