Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

April 2017
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Friday, 28 April 2017

Zimbabwe expects to receive 80 centre pivots worth over $6 million from Spain to aid irrigation under Command Agriculture, as Government moves to adopt new technologies and strengthen infrastructural development in support of the successful import-substitution programme. Negotiations are under way for another facility worth $60 million for bigger equipment from the same country, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said yesterday. The 80 centre pivots will come in batches of 20 and the first batch has now been prepared for shipment, with installation of the units expected to start next month. The centre pivots will range in size from those which can irrigate 20 hectares to those for 80 hectares.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Gambia and the European Union on Wednesday handed over their funded women’s garden project in Kumbaney village, Niamina West in the Central River Region. The project, which cost two million dalasi, was part of EU project to promote women’s socio-economic rights. The 2 hectare site was fenced and housed a shed, 2 toilets and has 8 concrete lined wells. Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Pansaw Nyassi, Project Manager at Actionaid International-The Gambia, explained that they conducted various assessments across a number of villages in the district and Kumnaney merited its naming as beneficiary of the project. He said, apart from the garden project, they have also supported the women of the region with poultry and tie and dye projects.

The European Union has allocated €53 million (Shs202.9 billion) towards easing trade transaction in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (Comesa) bloc where Uganda is a member. The money is part of the 11th European Development Fund's €85 million (Shs325.5 billion) support for Comesa regional integration programmes. Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya at a recent regional meeting of member states held in Lusaka Zambia, to validate the identified projects, said: "The overarching goal of the trade facilitation programme is to make trade transactions easier, quicker, more efficient and less costly, thereby enhancing trade flows in the identified transport corridors." The funding expected to increase intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs/delays of imports/exports at specific border posts.

For the fourth consecutive year since 2013, East Africa remained the fastest growing sub-region in 2016 on the back of agricultural growth, an emergent manufacturing sector, improved public spending on infrastructure and resilient household consumption, among others. This is according to the 2017 Economic Report on Africa (ERA2017) recently launched in Dakar, Senegal. The report examines how to harness the opportunities from rapid urbanisation to speed industrialisation and accelerate structural transformation. It also identifies and analyses the drivers, enablers and policy levers for strengthening linkages between industrialisation and urbanisation.

Adopted in the form of a joint declaration, the European consensus on development, more than a common banner, is a necessary precondition to the complementarity and coordination of European development policies envisaged in the EU Treaties. The redefinition of development policy in times of internal crisis and global transformation is high-stakes – while integrating the new and ambitious vision presented in Agenda 2030 is a recognised necessity, there are inherent risks to the exercise. A surfeit of priorities may undermine the strategic character of this framework document, while exacerbating challenges of coherence and coordination.

During an official visit to Haiti after the appointment of a new Government, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced a new EU aid package. The first of which is a special allocation of €18.5 million (€14.5 million in exceptional budget support and €4 million for an agricultural project) in response to Hurricane Matthew which hit the island in October 2016 and caused widespread damage to housing, agriculture, and infrastructure. The EU had also provided initial emergency relief last year when the hurricane struck the country. Commissioner Mimica said: "Through our new support we clearly show the solidarity of the European Union towards Haiti. We remain committed to supporting the Haitian population and the reconstruction and stabilisation of the country."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided over 30 million U.S dollars to support South Sudan’s membership in the African trade, insurance and development body and also strengthen electricity distribution networks. AfDB said in a statement on Thursday evening it has approved 18.15 million U.S. dollars to Juba to help with required resources to support its membership in the African Trade Insurance (ATI) and Trade and Development Bank (TDB). AfDB also approved a supplementary loan of 14.57 million dollars to rehabilitate and expand the electricity distribution networks in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

South African group Shoprite plans to invest US$571.7 million in the expansion of its supermarket and distribution network in Angola under an investment contract signed with the Technical Unit for Private Investment (UTIP). The project involves opening 15 shopping centres over the next five years, 22 supermarkets (three already in operation since 2015), a warehouse and two residential structures for staff, as well as improvements in four supermarkets. The investment will cover 11 of Angola’s 18 provinces and includes the creation of 5,613 jobs for Angolans, of which 3,278 in Luanda.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New figures confirm that the European Union and its member states have consolidated their place as the world’s leading aid donor in 2016. But NGOs and MEPs say the picture is distorted and the aid figures are inflated. Preliminary OECD figures show that Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by the EU and its member states has reached €75.5 billion in 2016. This constitutes an 11% increase compared to 2015 levels. Highest level to date The EU’s assistance has increased for the fourth year in a row and reached its highest level to date, the Commission said in a press release yesterday (11 April). In 2016, EU collective ODA represented 0.51% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), having increased from 0.47% in 2015.

The European Commission has announced humanitarian assistance of €47 million to help people in need in the Great Lakes and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions, who continue to face the consequences of years of conflict and displacement, as well as widespread food insecurity and natural disasters. Of the €47 million announced, €32 will go to populations in the Great Lakes region – including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, while €15 million will go to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho.

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