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Rural development

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November 2018
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EDITO
Monday, 19 November 2018

It is often said the macroeconomic standing of the agricultural sector has diminished, an argument supported by the sector's declining share of GDP, which fell from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 2.3 percent in 2015. However, what is not captured in this narrative is that the value of the agricultural sector has grown 40 percent, from R50.5bn to R71.4bn over that period. This translates to a fairly modest average annual growth rate of 2.1 percent over the past two decades, which explains why agriculture's relative share of the economy has been declining. Agriculture is not becoming insignificant -- it is just that other sectors, particularly the services sector, have grown at a faster rate from a lower base.

South Africa's strategy of pursuing a “developmental trade” policy, in which trade agreements with other countries and regions specifically promote growth, employment and the industrial upgrade of the country, are undermined by unequal global trade rules, markets and power which favours industrial countries. However, South Africa's “developmental trade” policy is often torpedoed by self-destructive compromises to trading partners, wrong strategies and corrupt behaviour by leaders. South Africa's export growth for the past two decades has been at least 11% slower than its peers, India, Brazil and China. Most of South Africa's exports remain raw materials.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Last week, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw his country from the Paris Agreement. This follows previous announcements on reducing US support to development. These decisions are deeply worrying – but must not distract us from the immense task ahead, writes Neven Mimica. Neven Mimica is European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. When global challenges rise, we need to rise to the challenge. At a milestone moment for multilateralism, the United Nations adopted in 2015 a set of universal Sustainable Development Goals to respond to these challenges – applying for the first time to all countries.

Monday, 12 June 2017

In his bullish drive for investment, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Monday, signed a partnership agreement with his counterpart in Shaanxi Province in China, Hu Heping, to bolster the injection of capital for business in the state. The agreement will allow Chinese businessmen pump the much desired capital into the Calabar Carnival, Power, and Solid Minerals sectors of the state. Ayade said after the signing of the agreement that "It is the enormous opportunities that this fund avails Africa that Cross River State wants to tap into. We have the assurances of the Governor and the people of Shaanxi that the favourable business climate in Cross River State will be utilised by Shaanxi." The China-Africa Development Fund, CAD Fund, in May 2016, signed a cooperation agreement with the Shaanxi Government in the capital Xi'an, the first of its kind with a provincial-level partner that aims to boost more investment in the African market.

The massive need for investment in projects of public interest in developing countries cannot be met by the public sector alone, this is why the involvement of the private sector in reaching the SDGs is key, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development told EURACTIV.com in an exclusive interview. Neven Mimica is Croatia’s first European Commissioner since the country’s EU accession in 2013. He has served as Minister of European integration and as Deputy Prime Minister. He is affiliated to the Social Democratic Party of Croatia.

Government should come up with a comprehensive agricultural policy as well as develop a clear irrigation framework spelling out selection processes for beneficiaries to enable the country to attract meaningful investment, legislators have said.The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development said mechanisation facilities should also include solar systems to minimise power costs. This was said by committee chairperson and Muzarabani South Member of the National Assembly Cde Christopher Chitindi (Zanu-PF) on Tuesday, while presenting a report on the utilisation of the Brazilian Mechanisation Facility.

Massive agriculture intensification is contributing to increased deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and the level of greenhouse gas emission, the United Nations warns. To achieve sustainable development we must transform current agriculture and food systems, including by supporting smallholders and family farmers, reducing pesticide and chemical use, and improving land conservation practices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general on May 30 said in Brussels addressing European lawmakers.José Graziano da Silva stressed that while high-input and resource intensive farming systems have substantially increased food production, this has come at a high cost to the environment.

Thursday, 08 June 2017

Known as Growing Business Together (GBT), the two-year programme seeks to support early stage enterprises to access finance and coaching from experienced Ghanaian and Dutch entrepreneurs. The programme is on the theme: ‘’Accelerating young entrepreneurs’’, and would have partners such as Impact Booster of the Netherlands and the Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council to help in its implementation The Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ron Strikker, in a statement, said the selected entrepreneurs would go through a nine-month GBT Academy, a GBT Coaches Programme and also participate in the GBT Startup Investment Conference as part of processes to sharpen their skills and knowledge in business.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017

Africa is undeterred by the failures of the past and the continent is motivated by the incredible energy and talent of its bustling youthful population, according to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. Mr. Osinbajo spoke Saturday at the G7 Summit special outreach forum on Africa with selected African nations and leaders including Nigeria, Guinea, Tunisia, Niger, Ethiopia and Kenya.According to him, "Africa is confident of the future because we have learnt,... we are investing more in education, insisting on good governance and holding ourselves to account."

ECOWAS agriculture activities cover 15 member states, the main objective is to promote food and nutrition security in all the 15 member states and at the same time, constitute to the process of regional economic integration, and agriculture is central to the economy of all our member states. We have different programmes that cover the 15 member states of ECOWAS. In Nigeria particularly, we have programmes and projects that is being implemented by ECOWAS which includes the West African Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP), it is a joint initiative of ECOWAS and the World Bank which deals with agricultural technology. We have the West Africa Seed Project, the West Africa Fertilizer Project. We have other projects like the partnership for Aflactoxion control in Africa, this programme is looking at how to reduce the harmful effects of Aflactoxion on agriculture and health.