Comesa is now Kenya’s largest export destination, says top Kenyan government official

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By MFA Press

Kenya’s trade in the COMESA region has increased from US$ 670 million in 2000, when Free Trade Area was launched, to US$2.7 billion by 2012, thanks to country’s steadfast implementation of the programmes by the regional body.

According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Principal Secretary, Dr Karanja Kibicho COMESA has since become Kenya’s leading export destination, accounting for approximately 73 per cent of total exports to Africa and 33 per cent of total exports to the world.

“I am happy to observe that the EAC and COMESA customs unions are significantly harmonized by more than 80 per cent and therefore the EAC countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) can now proceed to implement the customs union,” said Kibicho.

 

Rwanda Revenue Authority receives tracking devices from Comesa

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By Fridah Nkibuga

Rwand Revenue Authority will receive 400 additional tracking devices as the use of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in trade facilitation along the Northern Transit Corridor has picks pace.

The COMESA Secretariat has now initiated the procurement of additional equipment to enable freight forwarders and customs authorities manage and monitor cargo movement thus reducing the cost of doing business.

The equipment that will be supplied to Rwanda includes 400 additional tracking devices developed under the COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation System (CVTFS).

The devices will be delivered to the Revenue Authority with 300 going to containerized traffic and 100 for petroleum tankers. Already 600 units are in use in various transit corridors and the demand is rising by the day.

 

World trade body boosts COMESA on standards

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By Fridah Nkibuga

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Standards and Trade Development Facility has approved a grant of US $902,690 to simplify Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures on selected commodities and trade routes in the COMESA region.

During its working group meeting held from 25 - 27 March 2014 in Geneva, the STDF reiterated its commitment to strengthen the region’s capacity to implement SPS measures in accordance with international standards and best practices. 

SPS measures are enforced to ensure that all food is safe for consumers, and prevents the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants.

These sanitary and phytosanitary measures can take many forms: such as requiring products to come from a disease-free area, inspection of products, specific treatment or processing of products, setting of allowable maximum levels of pesticide residues or permitted use of only certain additives in food.

Sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) measures apply to domestically produced food or local animal and plant diseases, as well as to products coming from other countries in the region.  

 

Revolutionizing Wheat Production in Ethiopia

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By Agencies

ADDIS ABABA, The lush wheat land that stretches from the rural township of Kulumsa (Assela) deep into the southeastern part of the country comprises what is dubbed the Arsi/Bale wheat belt of Ethiopia. The sea of wheat farms along the belt are dotted with barley and teff fields and stretch as far as the eyes can see.

Over the years, the region gave the best wheat yield in the country, although overall production levels were not always the same. Just few years ago, the wheat lands of Arsi/Bale were dominated by smallholder subsistence farmers cropping on fragmented farm land. Wheat, in spite of its unique suitableness to the area, was planted alongside other crops. Today, through two agricultural programs supported by the World Bank, things are changing.

A monotonous wheat farmland now defines almost the entire belt. Signs of farm technologies and mechanization are visible, as well as a hint of commercialization across the Arsi/Bale wheat lands. The yield per hectare according to agricultural workers in the region has tripled in the past three years. In fact, in some places like Sinana woreda, also inside the belt, the yield has shot from around 1.8 to 5.0 tons per hectare

 

Africa need not suffer the resource curse, says Comesa Chief

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By Sindiso Ngwenya

Africa has 10 per cent of the world’s known reserves of oil, 40 per cent of its gold, and 80 to 90 per cent of the chromium and the platinum metal group, to list only a few.

But a number of commentators still refer to this wealth of natural resources and minerals as “Africa’s curse.”

They associate the many wars, poverty and untold suffering of ordinary Africans to this abundance.

It is true that the abundance of natural resources has been the catalyst for wars and conflict. But should an abundance of natural resources lead to Africa’s decline? The answer must surely be a resounding no.

Recent literature on the Resource Curse and Dutch Disease suggest that the real problem affecting commodity rich countries may be of commodities specialisation in an economy with little or no history of industrial development.

The Curse and the Disease refer to a situation in which a country's seeming good fortune proves ultimately to have a detrimental effect on the economy.

 

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