Main events for the week: 27 February - 05 March 2017

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European Parliament

27 February 2 March: Committee Meetings

28 February: 3rd reform of the common European asylum system: up for the challenge

01 - 02 March: European Parliament Plenary Session

Council of the EU and European Council

27 February: Transport, Telecommunications & Energy Council

28 February: Environment Council

21 February: Economic and Financial Affairs Council

01 March: Coreper I and Coreper II

02 March: Coreper II

03 March: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

European Commission

27 February: Stakeholder meeting on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution including the possible establishment of a multilateral investment court

European Economic and Social Committee

01 March: Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations

02 - 03 March: 3rd European Migration Forum

Other events

01 March: InfoPoint Lunchtime Conference "InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Digital for Development (D4D) in practice"

03 March: InfoPoint Lunchtime Conference "Digital Finance for Inclusive and Sustainable Development"

ACP Regional Trade & South-South Cooperation news

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The CTA Brussels News Service is providing EU-ACP policy news since 2004, on various key thematic areas. In addition to this news service, we also provide news on ACP intra-regional trade, and south-south cooperation (investments of emerging countries' in agriculture in the ACP regions). The main stories for the week are featured in our newsletter and all stories can be found in our Regional Trade and the South-South cooperation sections.

Finnish Ambassador Commends Ethiopia for Economic Development

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Finland Ambassador to Ethiopia Helena Airaksinen said that Ethiopia has made good progress in terms of economic development."Finland is also keen on expanding economic cooperation with Ethiopia." In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Amb. Helena Airaksinen said Finland and Ethiopia have been working together in rural economic development particularly in Amhara state focusing on inland administration, agricultural value chain production improvement programs and the like. According to her, the rural economic development programs are aimed at improving rural farmers' productivity and income.

EU must take lead in linking trade in agriculture with the SDGs

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Time to breathe new life into the WTO process. Agriculture plays a critical role in climate change – it is both a cause and a victim of it. And it plays a key role in the implementation of most of the SDGs. "We must get the sustainable development goals right, but we must also get trade in agriculture right, and we look to the EU to lead the way here", says the EESC. The EU is well positioned positively to lead this process. It is the largest exporter and importer of agricultural products, it has a proven interest in trade and sustainable development and it has the credibility to play an effective bridging role between developed and developing countries.

DHL Express Launches ‘On Demand Delivery’ to SSA

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DHL Express, the world’s leading international express services provider, has announced the launch of On Demand Delivery for the Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) region in response to significant growth in premium cross-border e-commerce volumes. According to a statement from DHL Express, the On Demand Delivery is currently deployed in six markets across SSA – South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mauritius & Tanzania, with plans to roll out to further countries in SSA throughout 2017. The statement added that the new service with flexible shipping options designed to enhance the customer experience for online shoppers, allows shippers and receivers globally to select from a range of standardised delivery options.

GhanaVeg Graduates 20 Vegetable Trainers

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20 Agronomists have been certified by GhanaVeg through Wageningen University & Research for successfully graduating from the first GhanaVeg Agronomy Training of Trainers. The Graduation ceremony took place at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel on February 16, during the GhanaVeg Business Platform Meeting. Certificates were handed out to the graduates by the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Mr. Ron Strikker. The training assists the agronomists to train a at least 2.000 farmers in their localities; increasing their yields and incomes. The GhanaVeg Agronomy training has been designed to improve farmer productivity and post-harvest management. The 1-year in-depth Training Course focused on 6 key areas: seedling production, crop protection, spray techniques, irrigation and fertilization, production planning and adult learning.

Guyana to sign agreement with EU

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Guyana says it will sign the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the European Union Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU/FLEGT) initiative, which Georgetown adopted in 2003. The VPA will result in Guyana having access to more lucrative markets in the European Union (EU) for its timber products. It will also see improved governance at all levels, more revenues, capacity building, international recognition and reform policies and laws where needed. Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), James Singh, said upon the completion of the agreement between Guyana and the EU, the VPA will be used as a legal binding agreement. “I am happy to report that before the course of this year, before June we will be able to sign the initial agreement.

Time for Africa: Modern Poultry Industry Is Taking Shape in Africa

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Africa is ready to take its place on the world stage, as the poultry industry is evolving, from a national and regional basis to a more global platform, according to RaboResearch’s latest report ‘Time for Africa: Capturing the African Poultry Investment Opportunity’.The year-on-year growth in the global poultry markets is set to continue: a demand growth of more than 60% is expected over the next 20 years. This leads to significant global investment streams in an industry that is evolving, from a national and regional basis to a more global platform. Most recent investments have focused on Europe, the Americas and Asia, driven by bullish market circumstances. Africa has attracted relatively limited investor interest. But this is changing.

SPTO: South Pacific Islands goes to market in Europe

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The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is creating greater awareness of tourism in the South Pacific Islands region across Europe, through a series of marketing events over the next two months. Meet the Pacific is a series of one-day business-to- business meetings that’s held across five European cities, namely Barcelona, Milan, Prague, Zurich and Manchester from 22 February to 6 March. It creates the opportune platform for Pacific tourism suppliers to meet with key European tour operators (buyers) who are committed to or interested in selling the South Pacific as a destination to their clients. “Meet The Pacific is a great way for South Pacific tourism bodies and operators to meet with key industry buyers in Europe in a short period of time, and maximize their resources with maximum impact for their particular destinations, product and service offerings,” said SPTO Marketing Manager Alisi Lutu.

5th Africa Fiscal Forum in Yaoundé 7-8 February

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The Africa Fiscal Forum encouraged peer learning and South-South sharing of experience and was an excellent opportunity for dialogue with partners of EU budget support. The 5th Africa Fiscal Forum took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7-8 February, organised by the Government of Cameroon, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. It brought together senior officials from Ministries of Finance of more than 30 countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. Officials from DG TAXUD and DEVCO participated in the event and the EU Ambassador to Cameroon gave an opening speech. Under the heading of "Fiscal Policy under Stress" participants discussed issues related to adjustment to large falls in commodity prices, finding the right balance between spending to close the infrastructure gap and fiscal consolidation to avoid new debt crisis, mobilising more domestic resources and strengthening public investment management.

Unilever, Agventure & SNV sign Memorandum

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Kenyan farmers adopt conservation agriculture to double Kenya’s canola oil production in 2017. Unilever East Africa, Agventure Ltd. and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation have [on 22 February 2017] signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising a venture that aims to double canola oil production in Kenya by the end of 2017 via contract farming arrangements. Ambassador Frans Makken of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was present during the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement. The Dutch Embassy is funding SNV’s five year HortIMPACT programme and considers the agreement an excellent example of the combination trade and development cooperation which forms the core of Dutch development cooperation policy.

Ghana launches €820,000 mushroom project

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The Adentan Municipal Assembly has launched a 820,000 Euro mushroom project, dubbed the ‘Promush Project’, to create 5,500jobs for the youth and persons with disabilities. The three-year project is funded by the European Union(EU) with an amount of 660,000 Euros while the assembly, Centre for Local Governance Advocacy(CLGA) and Local Government Network (LOGNet), contributed a total of 160,000 Euros. Hajia Mahama said the project would use community sensitisation programmes to orient the crop and animal farmers, youth and the general public to see mushroom farming as a viable business venture.

Jamaica: Support for EU Market Project

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The Government has allocated $17 million for the completion of a project to facilitate increased production and more diversified exports of agricultural and agro-processed products to the European Union market. The allocation to the European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Capacity Building Project is included in the 2017-18 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives. For the 2017-18 fiscal year, the project will complete activities aimed at the accreditation of the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ) to issue certification for ISO 22000 & HACCP, as well as training and witness audit overseas and in Jamaica.

Pilot projects to boost Pacific coconut industry

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The Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union will support the coconut industry in Samoa and Vanuatu as part of a new regional initiative to improve small producer’s business competitiveness. The €3.5 million Coconut Industry Development Project (CIDP) aims to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Samoa and Vanuatu, and to share lessons learned to support the development of the regional coconut industries. SPC Project Team Leader, Karen Mapusua, says the call for Expressions of Interest is now open for all involved in the coconut industry including the private sector, farmers’ organisations, and NGOs working with farmers.

Trinidad and Tobago: $5m in EU funds for 17 groups

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The European Union Delegation to T&T has awarded 17 local and regional organisations grants totalling $5 million for projects in governance and human rights. In making the announcement yesterday, head of the EU Delegation in Port-of-Spain Aad Biesebroek acknowledged the important role of civil society groups in shaping government policy, fostering peace and empowering citizens. He also used the occasion to call for proposals from civil society groups involved in business and environmental preservation who are seeking grant funding.

EU launches $47billion fund for Africa

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The European Union has announced a launch of a $47.46 billion Africa Economic Development Fund aimed at helping Nigeria and other African countries drive economic growth and development. With the new development Nigeria and some other African countries hope of attracting foreign investments have been renewed by the European Union. According to the vice president of EU Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, the EU is already developing a strategic framework for the implementation and disbursement of the fund. He maintained that the EU is also designing security measures to ensure the fund is effectively and efficiently disbursed.

Nigeria encourages vegetable exports to EU amid shortage

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Nigerian exporters have been encouraged by Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute’s (ARMTI’s) Acting Executive Director Dr. Olufemi Oladunni to increase their vegetables exports take advantage of the current vegetable shortage currently being experienced in Europe. Consumers in northern Europe are seeing extremely limited availability of a number of vegetables. He advised them to address quality certification issues that have been a major hindrance food exporters have been facing in the European Union (EU) market.

Sudan and EU agree to continue strategic cooperation

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Sudanese government and the European Union (EU) on Monday have agreed to continue strategic cooperation and coordination at all levels during the coming period, said Sudan’s foreign ministry. In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said Sudan’s foreign ministry under-secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m on Monday has met with the EU envoy to Khartoum Jean-Michel Dumond. Khidir pointed that the meeting discussed political relations between Sudan and the EU besides issues of combating illegal migration and human trafficking and development.

Ex ante evaluation of possible EU-Ghana SFPA

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This report provides an ex ante evaluation of a possible Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and Protocol1 between the European Union (EU) and Republic of Ghana. The EU distant-water fishing fleets have been targeting tropical tunas in the Gulf of Guinea since the 1950s, today catching about 10 % of their global tuna catch in the Atlantic Ocean. Although the EU has never concluded a fisheries agreement with Ghana, the EU fleet have been fishing in Ghana’s waters under private licences since 2007.