December 2015
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Tuesday, 01 December 2015

During recent years, the African story has been built around oil, mining and the sale of commodities; as well as foreign direct investment from global businesses, institutional and sovereign investors. Underpinning this has been a hidden but growing logistics sector, forming the backbone for industrial development and becoming a fast-growing industry in itself. Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa has been driving the demand for world-class transportation and logistics, which is fundamental to the success of businesses, particularly for African entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to ship products and expand their regional footprint.

During the first-ever Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week [13 to 17 November], at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, a session was held on ‘PIDA Creating Jobs for Africa’s Youth.’ The session concluded by emphasising that the time to resolve unemployment in Africa is now. The panel highlighted the ways in which infrastructure development could be implemented in a way that creates opportunities for employment for Africa’s growing youth. Sunita Pitamber, AfDB’s Director for Human Development, pointed out that the infrastructure sector offers considerable job opportunities for youths, and that the Bank had already created 8 million jobs through infrastructure development, and had trained 5.5 million youths in the area.

Monday, 30 November 2015

The upcoming week for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which runs from November 13-17 in Abidjan, the capital city of Ivory Coast, is set to throw this continent into the full gear of infrastructural boom, development experts here say.  “If PIDA and what it all entails may be strictly followed by Africa and its leaders, yes, truly the underdeveloped continent may see itself emerging from the era of infrastructural underdevelopment and help the continent attract much needed foreign investors,” Zimbabwean independent economist, Kingston Nyakurukwa, told IPS.

Monday, 23 November 2015

A new report by Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office FTAO shows how increasing market power and Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) of European supermarkets affect smallholder banana farmers and plantation workers. The report, “Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices” details the exposure to toxic agro-chemicals, low wages and precarious work situation of many workers and farmers involved in the banana supply chain. It notes that this case is emblematic of global injustices in agricultural supply chains e.g. while wholesale banana prices have dropped since 2001, by almost 25%, retailers have increased their share of banana value by 40%.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Demographic change is an opportunity for developed and developing economies alike, to combat poverty but also as a means of achieving long-term economic stability. In order to harness the potential that demographic change presents, countries must gear their policies towards “growth, investment and insurance”, which address the very critical demographic phenomenon of an aging labour force in most industrialized economies, and in developing economies, a large youth population that needs to be integrated into the work force. Here is the presentation.

In a recent publication, Sir Ronald Sanders explains how the European Commission has issued public documents wrongly naming several CARICOM jurisdictions as ‘tax havens’. Reference to the Tax Justice Network (TJN) - an independent European-based think-tank -  report shows that no Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state ranks among the top 20 jurisdictions worldwide for financial secrecy: the United States of America (3), Germany (8), Japan (12) and Britain (15).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The EU has supported turning fish waste into value-added locally produced organic fertilizer in Fiji. Entrepreneur and Chairman of the Fiji Organic Association (FOA) Donald Pickering received technical and financial support via the EU Agricultural Commodity Trade (EUACT) programme.Mr. pickering said that the unrefined fish waste soil enhancer “can help overcome serious soil deficiency issue (…) As well as delivering the desired results, farmers find our liquid product easier to apply than traditional fertilizers."

Thursday, 05 November 2015

On 26th October, the European Commission’s External Action Infopoint held a session with the French Centre of Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) on the subject of ‘Aflatoxin contamination in food and feed’. The Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) presented the work it does to support research between a wide range of organisations in Africa and Europe. The  conference detailed the devastating impacts that poor crop food management (development of mycotoxins such as aflatoxin) has on nutrition and health of women and children, and the reduced income consequences for farmers. Here is the policy brief and here is the presentation.

During a recent trip to southern Africa, CIRAD President Michel Eddi signed four general cooperation agreements involving a regional organization, CCARDESA, and four universities in South Africa and Zimbabwe. CIRAD is keen to strengthen its links with its partners in the region. To this end, the hundred or so researchers it has in the zone will be working with five platforms in partnership. The aim is to foster interactions between those platforms, open them up on a regional level and build new scientific links between Réunion, Madagascar and southern Africa.

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has launched a 4.5 euro multi-year project in Uganda, which shall benefit more than 350,000 smallholder farmers using satellite data to improve production and marketing of three value chains-maize, soya beans and simsim. Designed as a demand driven, market led, user owned ICT4Ag Enabled Information service (MUIIS), the program seeks to strengthen information and communication technologies (ICT) and knowledge management capacities of grass root farmers through providing satellite based timely accurate information on crop management in central eastern, northern and western Uganda.

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