Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 19 October 2017

On November 30, the Action team received the Monitoring report on the initial 5 months. The report mainly contains judgments on the design and the quality of the Logical Framework Matrix-logframe presented in the project proposal. It also expresses some ex-ante judgments on the likelihood of the project impact and sustainability on the basis of assessment on the size and the previous experiences of the Partner Organizations, without considering the experience and the professional competence of the experts. They point out that action issues have been listed very well; but there is some confusion between the policy and cultural issues the action is tackling (i.e. the problems upon which the action wants to have a positive impact in front of which the action objectives were conceived) and the issues emerging from project implementation (i.e. the managerial challenges that the manager is facing with the team).

Tuesday, 15 December 2009
The December issue is discussing the new regulations on organic farming entered into force in 2009. The organic farming sector is subject to ever growing interest both among European consumers who opt to buy organic products as an alternative to products from conventional production and among farmers in developing countries who seize the opportunity to export their organic produce to the EU market to respond to this demand. This issue alerts on the new import provisions that exporters in third countries need to apply when trading organic products within the EU. It also reports on the end of transitional quotas for sugar and rice under the EU's 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) initiative of the Generalised System of Preferences. The EBA regime has been providing all least developed countries with duty free access to the EU market for all their exports, except for arms and ammunitions, and with limited transitional quotas for sugar and rice. These have been progressively expanded annually since 2001.

Taxes are central for the functioning of a state and for the provision of public goods. Many developing countries cannot finance their policies through taxes and rely on external revenues such as development assistance. Generally, developing countries have a lower tax-to-GDP ratio than developed countries. According to several studies examining the tax-to-GDP ratio in Sub Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia: In Sub Saharan Africa, the tax-to-GDP ratio increased from less than 15% in 1980 to more than 18% in 2005. This increase is almost entirely due to natural resource taxes (income from production sharing, royalties or corporate income tax on oil and mining companies). In the same 25 years non-resource related revenue rose by less than 1 % of GDP (Keen/Mansour). There are considerable differences among African countries such as the Central African Republic and Guinea where tax revenue is under 10% of GDP, and South Africa were it reaches 25% or even Namibia where it is 30.1% (Volkerink). In Latin America and the Caribbean the tax-to-GDP ratio has increased from 12 % in 1990 to 18.5% in 2006. The ratio is as low as 10% in Haiti and reaches more than 34% in Brazil. Mexico is the only country where the ratio decreased (from 12.6% to 11%) (Martner).

On December 11, Haiti signed the Economic Partnership Agreement and joins the fourteen Caribbean States that signed the EPA in October 2008. This will strengthen Haiti's ties both with the EU, and with other Caribbean countries. The Cariforum-EU EPA is North-South trade and development agreement of new generation. It aims to promote sustainable development, boost trade, investment and innovation, help build a regional market among Caribbean countries, and tackle poverty in the region. Previous preferential trade arrangements with the EU had failed to boost Caribbean countries' development. Other developing countries had also criticised those arrangements as discriminating against them, and had challenged them at the World Trade Organisation. So the EU and the Cariforum group of Caribbean countries negotiated a new trade and development agreement, the EPA, between 2004 and 2007. The EPA was signed in October 2008, by 14 out of fifteen Cariforum member states. The only Least Developed Country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti has recently been grappling with a range of pressing problems.
On the 7th of December, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development invited all Europeans to cast their vote in the final stage of the EU organic logo competition. The website http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/logo/index.htm hosts the online vote where the three final logos will be displayed until 31 January. The new logo aims to enhance consumer protection and promote organic farming. Unlike the current logo, the winning entry will be obligatory for all pre-packaged organic products that derive from the 27 Member States and meet the labelling standards.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Mr Eric Thys, expert at Be-troplive, is our special guest this week. Be-troplive is an informal and multidisciplinary Belgian platform on tropical animal health and production, which is open to institutional or individual members involved in tropical animal health and production activities. Members are Belgian academic institutions and research institutes, Belgian development organisations, NGO's and study bureau's, Belgian government and parastatal services involved in development in general, and tropical animal health and production in particular and Individuals involved in tropical animal health and production activities, having worked for a project or organisation with a clear link to Belgium.
The European Union has informed the East African Community (EAC) that the failure or delay in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement would lead to taxes on the exports of the EAC-member states. In a recent release by the EU Delegation in Nairobi said that failure to finalise the EPA process could lead to putting non-Least Developed Countries such as Kenya on the Generalised System of Preferences list. According to the statement, some of the key export products particularly from Kenya would attract re-introduction or increase in tariffs. The EPA was supposed to be concluded by July 31, 2009-but missed the deadline due to lack of consensus on rules of origin-most favoured a clause on agriculture, trade in services and sustainable development.
Friday, 11 December 2009
The 2985th Council meeting on Foreign Affairs held in Brussels on 8 December 2009 approved a draft letter to be sent to the ACP group of states outlining the implications of non-ratification of the revised ACP-EU (Cotonou) partnership agreement. The grace period for ratifying the revised Cotonou agreement expired on 30 June 2009. Three ACP states (Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Sudan) did not meet this deadline.
The South Africa Agribusiness Report Q110 continues on the themes touched upon in previous issues as the continent's top agricultural producer seeks to diversify the sector in terms of both primary production and value-added processing. The South African agricultural industry possesses typical 'dual economy' characteristics of a local subsistence sector against a relatively well-developed commercial sector. Increasingly, capital intensive production is seen to drive industry dynamics as employment in more labour intensive farming dwindle, likely fuelling tensions, particularly along racial lines. Despite having one of the continent's more developed agricultural sectors, food security is still a concern in some sub-sectors. As the country seeks to improve self-sufficiency, we are increasingly seeing the drive for food production gathering pace via overseas production. South African farmers will be able to access up to 10mn hectares of farmland in the Republic of Congo under a recent deal signed by the two countries.
Governments expressed the will at the seventh ministerial meeting of the WTO to finish the Doha Round of trade negotiations as soon as possible. But the Africa Group still deems development to be a more important priority than a speedy conclusion. Despite the decision of the seventh ministerial meeting to aim for a close to the Doha Round by the end of 2010, Hicham Badr, the ambassador of Egypt and coordinator of the Africa group, stressed that the Africa Group will continue to push for a Doha Round based on a developmental mandate. "If we had to choose between a quickly concluded round and a successful round, we would prefer a successful round where the developmental aspect remains at the core of the package". Most of the outstanding points of contention, such as cotton, still depend on the cooperation of Northern countries. African cotton producers are ready to use the WTO dispute settlement mechanism if the talks don’t deliver. The ministerial meeting, which took place last week, marks the growing power of developing countries. "We should not underestimate the power of developing countries", said Badr.