Swaziland removed from AGOA over workers’ rights

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The United States has removed Swaziland from a lucrative trade pact due to concerns over workers' rights, as it allowed Madagascar back in after the island restored democracy.

President Barack Obama pointed to Swaziland's use of force against demonstrations and lack of recognition of labor unions as he removed the impoverished kingdom from the Africa Growth Opportunity Act, which offers preferential access to the US market for goods from some 40 sub-Saharan nations that meet political and economic standards.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman said Washington hoped to work with Swaziland on improving conditions so it could return to Agoa.


Exporters’ awareness in SADC and COMESA too low, says trade officials

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By Fridah Nkibugah

Exporters should know and exploit opportunities available in the COMESA and SADC regions, says senior trade official.

Sources say many exporters are not aware about the benefits to be derived by companies by registering under the COMESA Rules of Origin protocol.

This emerged during an Export Awareness Seminar hosted by Zimbabwe Trade Promotion and Development Organisation (ZimTrade) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

The seminar attended by established and emerging exporters, government officials, customs officials as well as other stakeholders tried to develop ways to reach out to exporters to enlighten them on opportunities available.

A senior Zimbabwean trade Officer, Mr Tasara Muzorori, notes in a report that the knowledge of exporters and other stakeholders on how to utilize COMESA’s trade preferences, especially the rules of origin, is low.


World Bank to fund comprehensive agricultural programme

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By Fridah Nkibuga

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that include SADC and Comesa will receive  US $15 million funding from the World Bank for rolling out Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Sources say the funds will come under the next funding cycle of Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) 2 from 2015-2020.

Funding availability is contingent upon support to the MDTF2 from the different development partners. Speaking during the business meeting of the 10th CAADP partnership platform held 22 March 2014, World Bank’s lead agriculture specialist, Willem Janssen, said the allocation is based on spending and will see a shift of emphasis to enabling country level programme implementation.

Mr Janssen said MDTF1 prepared RECs in Africa to manage funds and develop adequate procedures, while MDTF2 will see the establishment of a fund secretariat housed within a suitable African organization.


SADC, EAC and COMESA tripartite free trade agreement expected end of 2014

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By Agencies

The three regional trade blocs in East and Southern Africa could become a free trade area by the end of this year.

African high-level officials indicated recently that negotiations for the establishment of a free- trade area spanning three major regional economic communities in Africa have progressed well and could conclude by the end of this year.

“Once we complete (the negotiations), it will be the engine of the continent’s economic and political empowerment.  I am satisfied with the pace of the negotiations.  I look forward, as I am sure we all do, to the conclusion of these negotiations before the last quarter of 2014, remarked President Kenyatta, who was the Chairperson of the Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State during the East African Legislative Assembly held in  Arusha, Tanzania on 25 March.

Echoing President Kenyatta, the outgoing Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tomaz Salomão, said significant progress has been recorded towards the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) in a recent SADC summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.


Intra-African trade to increase 50 per cent in the next 50 years, says African Union

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By EA Trade Review Reporter

Intra-African trade will increase to 50 per cent from the current 11 per cent says the African Union Commission (AUC) blueprint on how the continent ought to look like in the next 50 years.

“Agenda 2063” is the vehicle that will deliver the aspiration of the continent towards a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“The blueprint aims at increasing intra-Africa trade to more than 50 per cent compared to the current 11 per cent,” says AUC.

“Within this period it is foreseen that Africa will wean itself off foreign aid and become “capable of mobilizing its own financial resources, reliant on trade, not aid”.

The AUC Director of Strategic Planning, Mr Mandla Mandonesla, while leading a mission to COMESA for a consultative meeting last week said that the aim is to provide participants the forum to share their vision of the Africa they want in 2063 and propose goals, milestones, key drivers and enablers as well as priority actions.”


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