Main events for the week: 25 September - 1 October 2017

in Brussels weblog B

ACP Secretariat

26 September: Joint Meeting on Financing for Development
27-28 September: Special meeting - Subcommittee on Sustainable Development -– Roadmap to COP 23
23-29 September: Subcommittee on Trade and Commodities

European Council

27 September: Coreper I and Coreper II
29 September: Coreper I

European Parliament

25 September: FEMM and DEVE Committees: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020
25-28 September: European Parliament Committee Meetings

EESC - European Economic and Social Committee

25 September: Monitoring of the implementation of SDGs Other events

Other Events

25-28 September: S&Ds Africa Week
27 September: InfoPoint Lunchtime Conference - Food Systems for Improved Nutrition: Why and How

EU: Market opportunities for Fiji Sugar

in Brussels weblog B

Fiji could still enjoy a good price for its sugar by focusing on the Asia-Pacific market when duty-free access to the European Union ends this month, says Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark. Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Lautoka, he said while this month brings an end to a lucrative deal with the European Union, it would open up opportunities for other markets. "To date we have sold 93,096 of the 140,000 tonnes of sugar produced so far this year," he said. "The EU protocol ends on September 30 and new marketing era will emerge whereby all of our interaction with our European customers will basically be conducted on commercial terms that are linked to the world raw sugar price. “So we need to think how we can best operate to our own advantage and I think to capitalise on Fiji's geographic advantage."

EU supports Ghana achieve sustainable development

in Brussels weblog B

The European Union (EU) and its member states are committed to supporting the conservation, sustainable management and use of natural resources, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems. These include forests, oceans, coastal areas, river basins and other ecosystems for the provision of ecosystem services. In line with international commitments, they have committed to tackling illegal logging and its associated trades - land and forest degradation, desertification, drought and biodiversity loss - and also promoting co-benefits from sustainable management, including enhancing climate resilience and adaptation.

Zimbabwe: EIB Shelves Private Sector Lending Plans

in Brussels weblog B

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will not be lending to the local financial sector after Zimbabwean banks told the lender that appetite for medium-term loans was presently low, it has emerged. European Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe van Damme, last week told The Financial Gazette that while the EIB was prepared to advance money for medium-term on-lending to local banks, the financial institutions had pointed out that the move was presently unprofitable. "The EIB board had given the green light for the bank to lend to the private sector with the entry point being the banking sector. So the arrangement was for medium-term lending credit for the informal sector and (so on).

St Lucia: 14 businesses get export plans under EPA standby facility

in Brussels weblog B

Fourteen (14) Saint Lucian enterprises are getting hands-on with the development of export plans to effectively pursue existing market opportunities in France, Germany and Spain. This is another major milestone for the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) resulting from an ongoing project to equip trade promotion and business support organizations (TPOs/BSOs) to develop export capacity and market penetration strategies for a total of 26 qualifying Saint Lucian enterprises. The selected companies represent the Agriculture and Agro-processing, Food and Beverage, Creative Services, and Health and Wellness sectors. =

Sudan: International Cooperation State Minister Meets Head of EU Mission

in Brussels weblog B

The State Minister at the Ministry of International Cooperation, Dr. Somia A'akad, met Tuesday, at her office the head of the European Union Mission in the Sudan, Ambassador Jean-Michel Dumond and discussed with him aspects of the joint cooperation between the Sudan and the EU, especially in the economic and developmental fields and means for enhancing them further. The state minister has provided the EU head of mission with a comprehensive review to the state's efforts, represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation in tightening cooperation with the donors for the preparation of the pivotal document to coordinate the aid being negotiated.

Nigeria: State Moves to Increase Fruits Export to Europe

in Brussels weblog B

The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has concluded arrangements to sign a Technical Collaboration Agreement with the Port of Antwerp, Belgium towards increasing the export of Nigerian fruits to the European countries. Tunde Okoya, President of the Nigerian-Belgian Commercial Information and Documentation Centre, NBCIDC, disclosed this to News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday in Lagos. Mr. Okoya said that with the agreement, more Nigerian fruits would have the opportunity of being re-exported from the Port of Antwerp, Belgium to the various European countries.

New agriculture portals launched in the Pacific

in Brussels weblog B

Two new online information systems launched recently is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in Fiji and the Pacific. According to the Pacific Community (SPC) the Agricultural Policy Bank and the Pacific Agricultural Information System (PAIS), are set to make a major contribution towards the collection and use of data in the agriculture sector. European Union Delegation for the Pacific's Head of Cooperation, Christoph Wagner launched the two new online portals with APB representatives from 15 Pacific ACP countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu).

N. Ireland Drinks Company secures lucrative South Africa export deal

in Brussels weblog B

Derry-based whiskey maker Niche Drinks has continued its international expansion by securing a lucrative export contract in South Africa. The company, which also makes cream liqueurs, flavoured vodkas, ready-to-drink cocktails and microwaveable Irish coffees, will supply its Quiet Man whiskey brand to major wholesaler and retail chain Ultra Liquors in a deal that could be worth a quarter of a million pounds. The export order, secured with Invest NI trade support, is initially for one container of 1,000 cases, but further are expected.

Ghana: GIZ trains agricultural staff on pests and diseases control

in Brussels weblog B

The German International Co-operation (GIZ) has kicked started its first series of training aimed at building the capacities of regional and district staff of agriculture as well as Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) on pests and disease control. Pests and diseases have been identified as one of the biggest threats to the success of the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP); a 160 million Euros project that is co-financed by the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and the German Government. MOAP is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with support from GIZ, hence the essence of the series of capacity building trainings for all MoFA staff within the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Zone Six

Funding for African development drops as global aid hits record high

in Brussels weblog B

Africa is receiving a declining share of the global official development assistance, advocacy and campaign organisation ONE says. It called on the G20 to double official development finance by 2020, from approximately $60bn in 2015 to $120bn. Despite a 7.4% increase in global ODA in the last year, African countries’ share has fallen by 4% since 2012, according to a ONE report published on 11 September. Over half of the world’s poorest people live in Africa and the share of global aid going to the region dropped to 32% in 2016, compared to 36% in 2012. At the same time, Africa’s population has increased by 14%. ONE also called on donors to recommit to ODA targets and work towards spending 0.7% of their national income on development aid overseas, prioritising “the poorest and most vulnerable countries”.

Will Sugar remain Belize's number 1 export after losing preferential market status?

in Brussels weblog B

For the first seven months of 2017, sugar recorded the highest export earnings. Sugar accounted for one hundred and nine point one million dollars or a third of the total merchandise exports which stood at three hundred and four point seven million dollars. This is mainly due to the preferential rate that Belize has enjoyed over the years from its biggest importer, European Union (EU); however, all that is expected to change come October, when the European Union changes its sugar regime. The change will cause EU to lift the limitations that it had in place on beet sugar production. This means that Belize along with the other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will have to compete directly with the beet sugar industry which is a cheaper alternative to cane sugar.

Fiji: EU support for coffee industry

in Brussels weblog B

The European Union, through its increasing agricultural commodities trade (IACT) project, has assisted Bula Coffee with the acquisition of a mobile coffee processing machine, nursery structures and irrigation equipment worth $72,000. EU political, trade, press and information section's press and information officer Mohammed Nazeem Kasim said the EU was proud to support the coffee value chain in Fiji and confirmed that the new nurseries would provide coffee seedlings for farmers on both Vili Levu and Vanua Levu. In response to questions on the potential for the local coffee industry, Mr Kasim said the mobile wet coffee processor would provide tangible benefits to both Bula Coffee and to farmers on Vanua Levu.

EU and Forum sign agreement to tackle gender inequality in Pacific

in Brussels weblog B

The European Union and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat have signed a Financing Agreement to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women and girls in the Pacific. The more than US$15 million agreement was signed in Apia by European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor. The program will support activities at the regional level as well as in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The fund will be implemented over six years by UN Women, the PIF Secretariat and the Pacific Community.

South Africa: Stone fruit & pomegranate sectors prepare for new EU regulations

in Brussels weblog B

The new EU regulations regarding false codling moth won’t only be applicable to citrus, but will affect peach, nectarine, pomegranate and capsicum exports from South Africa as well. The stone fruit industry has finalised its draft protocols to manage the new FCM regulations and orchards have already been registered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for EU exports. The start of the stone fruit season isn’t far off, although the regulation only kicks in on 1 January 2018, so they’ve had to move quickly, says Mariëtte Kotze, group operations manager at HORTGRO.

French Drone Project Boosts Africa’s Crop Yields

in Brussels weblog B

A French drone company is teaming up with a major European inspection service to improve agricultural yields in West Africa. Delta Drone and Bureau Veritas Afrique announced plans last week to consolidate Bureau Vertitas’ soil analysis data with aerial data harvested by Delta drones to optimize precision farming for poverty-stricken areas in Côte d’Ivoire and nearby nations. “As a pioneer in the burgeoning sector of civilian drones for professional use, Delta Drone built a complete value chain in order to provide its clients with business solutions that consider the safety or people and property, and acquires aerial data and then processes and delivers it in a format adapted to client needs,” Delta Drone CEO Christian Viguié said.

Agence Française de Développement: New public abattoir for Addis Ababa

in Brussels weblog B

The Addis Ababa public abattoirs are currently situated in the heart of the city and face important environmental, social and economic challenges. This project aims at relocating and modernizing the infrastructure to comply with environmental and social requirements and meet the increasing demand on both local and international markets. Ethiopia has an urban population growth of 4% a year. The country is facing a significant challenge: by 2020, 30% of Ethiopians are expected to live in cities, against 18% in 2013. The capital Addis Ababa should see its population double by 2022.

European Parliament/Gabon: stop clamping down the opposition

in Brussels weblog B

The serious post-electoral crisis following the 2016 presidential elections in Gabon is fueling instability, say MEPs. They condemn the pressure and intimidation of the opposition in the country as its role is fundamental in a democratic society. MEPs urge the Gabonese authorities to immediately overturn their decision 'denying the right to leave the country to several leaders of the Gabon opposition, including the candidate in the 2016 presidential election Jean Ping. An 'independent and objective investigation into the election-related violence and the allegations of serious violations for human rights and fundamental freedoms should be held.

SocGen and Bpifrance commit to the development of French SMEs in Africa

in Brussels weblog B

Through this partnership, the two organisations are engaging to provide jointly and in a complimentary way advice, introductions and e-learning tools for French SMEs seeking to develop in African markets. The two organisations will also participate together to projects leading to the growth of key sectors such as green energies or the agricultural industry in Africa.

EU auditors assessing if Ghana vegetable export ban can be lifted

in Brussels weblog B

A three-member team of auditors from the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union (EU) is in Ghana to assess the quality of Ghana’s vegetables. The audit will enable the EU office on food safety to reconsider a three-year-old embargo on vegetables export from Ghana to the EU Market. The auditors who are expected to end their duty tour by Saturday, September 21, 2017, will among other things thoroughly assess the sanitary and phytosanitary systems in Ghana required for ensuring the safety of food items and fresh produce.