Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

June 2018
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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Sushma Swaraj, the foreign minister of India, will cement the relationship between her country and Guyana and Suriname when she visits the region in March, a precursor to the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi shall become the first Indian head of state to visit Guyana since Indira’s Gandhi’s visit to Guyana in 1968. Indians make up about 40 to 50 percent of the population in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. They began arriving as indentured workers in Guyana in 1838 and in Suriname in 1873, mainly from the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, about 80 percent Hindus and 20 percent Muslims.

South Africa is looking to China for help to move up the value chain and quicken its industrialization, said South African minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies. Speaking at the South Africa-China Business Forum in Beijing, he explained, “South Africa's exports to China are dominated by primary mineral commodities, and those are very much dependent on the vagaries of world prices. Those commodities are also low on the value chain. Our ambition in South Africa and the African continent is to move up the value chain and to focus on industrialization, and that ambition is understood and shared by China." 

International trade experts will discuss a ground-breaking Aid for Trade initiative aimed at boosting economic growth and reducing poverty in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The Global Network meeting in Mauritius will strengthen the implementation of the innovative Hubs and Spokes II Programme, which was launched in 2012. The programme has already been  recognised for its effectiveness in enhancing the trade capacity of ACP states. The project has been sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Union (EU), the Organisation Internationale de la Fracophonie (OIF) and the ACP Group Secretariat, provides support and technical assistance through the deployment of experienced Regional Trade Advisors (Hubs) and National Trade Advisors (Spokes) to organisations and government ministries.

The 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) hopes to access  US$3 billion being offered that China is offering the region to help restructure its debt. Currently, the classification of many countries as Middle Income makes it increasingly difficult for Caricom states to access and pay back cash on concessionary terms. While the criterion is based on GDP per capita income, Prime Minister of the Bahamas Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said that CARICOM is pushing to eliminate this practice, as it does not adequately reflect the disparities and differences in development with the various islands.

At the 35th meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers in Guyana with delegates considering the revised implementation plan of the Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015-19 as part of the reform process of the 15-member regional integration movement. CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque told the meeting that the approval of the Caribbean governments of the Strategic Plan last July "marked a significant moment" in the reform process of the Community.

There is a strong desire in emerging economies to create growth and lessen inequality. In-country trading of ethical and sustainable products will help achieve these goals. five years ago, Fairtrade labelling initiative was set up in South Africa, the first in the developing world. Since then, Fairtrade products such as wine and rooibos tea were made available to local consumers as well as grown for export. While it was intiitally a ‘slow burn’, the number of new Fairtrade supply chains is increasing and retail sales of Fairtrade products have grown from R18m (£1m) in 2010 to R287m (£16.6) last year. Arianna Baldo, executive director of Fairtrade Label South Africa has no doubt about the importance of Fairtrade sales ‘in country’.

China will not follow the path of "Western colonists" in Africa, said Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during his five-nation tour of the African continent. China is Africa's biggest trade partner, and tapped into the region's rich resources, in turn fuelling its own economic growth over the past two decades. Some have described Beijing’s role in Africa as "neo-colonial" , especially with regard to projects that are deemed to have little benefit to local people, with materials and labour being imported from China. "We absolutely will not take the old path of Western colonists, and we absolutely will not sacrifice Africa's ecological environment and long-term interests," Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Chinese Central Television while in Kenya.

Friday, 23 January 2015

At the recently concluded G20 Leaders’ Summit in Australia, the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – countries announced that an interim board of directors has been constituted to establish the National Development Bank (NDB) – an IMF-like institution specifically designed to support the five economies. Also, the BRICS leaders urged their finance ministers to appoint an NDB president and vice-president well before the next BRICS summit scheduled to hold in Russia next year. Set up to counter the dominance of the United States exerted via the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the core objective of the NDB is to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets, four of which account for 41 percent of the world’s population. 

The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) said on Tuesday it was still committed to negotiations with India over a delayed preferential trade agreement (PTA). “We are still confident we will come to an agreement with India,” Sacu deputy director for trade negotiations Rolf-Joacim Otto told a Sapa correspondent on the sidelines of Botswana’s global expo business conference in Gaborone. First launched in 2007, the PTA seeks to increase trade between Sacu and India by giving each party’s products and services preference over other regions. Sacu is made up of Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, and Namibia.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Africa-China Poverty reduction and Development Conference concluded on Wednesday (November 19) with African and Chinese officials today calling for a deepening of the partnership between the two partners. Co-hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, the African Union Commission, the International Poverty Reduction Centre in China and the United Nations Development Program, the conference explored the current state of development work in Africa and identified key areas for joint initiatives. The conference was attended by around 200 participants, including government officials from African countries and China, as well as experts and scholars from the private sector, civil society and international organizations.