February 2016
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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza




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EDITO
Monday, 08 February 2016

The EU will provide €5 million to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to support its efforts of achieving peace in South Sudan. The funding finances the so-called monitoring and verification mechanism (MVM) which is playing a key role in providing a neutral and balanced analysis of the security situation to the IGAD mediation.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The European Union will provide €30 million in finance to local development projects in Angola, with the aim to improve the quality of life of the population and provide local services in 28 municipalities. It will concretely contribute to the construction or rehabilitation of schools, health centres and markets, and has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and business creation initiatives. The project, which shall be implemented over three years, shall also support 30 municipalities to draw up their local development plans. The European Union is  Angola’s biggest direct development aid donor since 1986, and the European Commission has directly allocated over €600 million to the country.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Cassavas is currently one of the world's fastest-growing crops, and is holding up better to the rising temperatures caused by climate change, as pointed out by experts. Since the 80s, the global production of cassava has increased by 52% due, among other reasons, to the doubling of its production in Africa. It adapts better to higher temperatures compared to other crops, such as beans or corn, as it is less sensitive to climate changes.

Africa’s future billionaires and millionaires will make their money from agriculture, says Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who was named Forbes African of the Year in December 2013 for his reforms to Nigeria’s farming sector. African Development Bank is financing $170 million for a Nigerian project that aims to transform agriculture, which aims to create agricultural entrepreneurs and producers by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year, if all goes according to plan.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

China shall soon take Japan’s place as the third largest donor to the Pacific Islands. Currently however, there are misperceptions about its actual size, reach, focus, and purpose, which, in part, stem from the lack of information about Chinese aid activities. New data published by the Lowy Institute shows that since 2006 China has provided $1.4 billion in foreign aid to eight Pacific Island countries - the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. In addition to its bilateral aid program and support for regional organizations, China also provides scholarships for Pacific Islands students and significant human resources training for government officials.

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Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has recommended that Kenya be granted a one-year extension to limits on sugar imports from the trade bloc, offering relief to local millers that feared competition from cheap producers from the block (comprised of - Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The Comesa Trade and Customs Committee agreed to Kenya’s application for more time to open up fully its market to imports after more than a decade of being allowed to protect its sugar farmers with high tariffs.

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Creating high-yielding and disease-resistant banana hybrids is part of the latest project to improve banana farming in Tanzania and Uganda. The project which shall start later on this year is due to continue for five years and has received US$13.8 million funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Developing banana varieties for smallholder farmers can improve the local food security situation. Uganda and Tanzania produce more than 50 per cent of all bananas cultivated in Africa, but achieve only nine per cent of the crop’s potential yield because of pests and diseases, according to the Nigeria-headquartered International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The EU's 11th European Development Fund (EDF) has entered into force with a total of €30.5 billion in financing. The EDF will finance the EU's development cooperation projects in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to assist countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key areas include: sustainable development, including rural development and sustainable agriculture; environment; energy; food and nutrition; and health and education. The EDF will also support work related to democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

The EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement between Caricom countries and the European Union was a driver behind the enactment of geographical indication (GI) legislation in most Caricom countries. The World Trade Organization TRIPS agreement is only available for wine and spirits GIs, and there is currently no uniform reciprocal legal recognition for non-wine and spirit GIs in international jurisdictions. Jamaica’s Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is one of the country’s domestically GI registrable products. It can classify as a GI which is protected by  intellectual property, based on the natural and/or human capital characteristics directly related to its geographic or territorial origin. 

On Tuesday 10th March the European Commission’s External Action INFOPOINT held a conference on ‘Agriculture and nature for poverty reduction’. Ms. Nicoline de Hann from International Water Management Institute presented the work of the CIGAR ( Consortium if International Agricultural Research Centres) research programme on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). It seeks to develop an ecosystems based approach to agricultural development in response to growing resource constraints and rising natural disaster risks. The research conducted focuses on enhancing women’s access and decision-making power over productive natural resources.