26 May 2015

AU finalises last steps before launch of TFTA next month

The African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting held from 8 – 15 May 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia marks the last step before the launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) set for 10 June 2015 during the third Tripartite Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. Negotiations for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) will then commence shortly after.

This dedicated session of Senior Trade Officials was mainly aimed at finalising the preparatory draft documents ahead of the CFTA negotiations. Additionally, a number of technical studies carried out by various regional and international organisations were also presented.

Participants agreed that plans towards the establishment of a CFTA were being developed to better adapt the changing global trade landscape.

The CFTA is “the flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063” declared Fatima Haram Acyl, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry.

Negotiators review development finance text

Delegates tasked with hammering out an outcome document for a UN conference on development finance reviewed a revised draft during an informal session held earlier in May in New York, completing a paragraph by paragraph review of the proposed text.

The revised outcome draft as released on 7 May is organised into three sections: an introductory narrative, an action agenda, and a now separate section on data, monitoring, and follow-up.

Additional informal sessions have been scheduled for the end of May and early June, with a view to advancing work on the draft outcome before a formal negotiation session in mid-June.

A trade section is included in the seven areas targeted under the action agenda. Other references to trade-related policy are also scattered throughout some of the other areas. This trade section was relatively well-received at the FfD3 session last week, sources say, although some textual suggestions were made and discussion prompted on certain key topics.

WHO tackles Ebola virus issues

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly kicked off on Monday, with the two-week meeting set to tackle issues ranging from improving the global health body’s response to emergencies in the wake of the Ebola crisis to the potential renewal of the organisation’s strategy on intellectual property (IP) and public health.

This year’s Assembly comes as the spread of the Ebola virus disease appears to be slowing down significantly. The WHO formally declared an end to the outbreak in Liberia just earlier in May, though cases are still being reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone – the three West African countries hardest-hit.

The difficulties seen in responding to such a widespread outbreak have put the WHO in the spotlight, calling for various improvements to the way the global health body responds to crises.

Africa stands against  illegal wildlife trade

African Heads of State, experts and policymakers, gathering for the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa stressed the urgent need to coordinate efforts in the fight against illegal trafficking of natural species in Africa.

The event held from 27-30 April Brazzaville, Congo resulted in an Africa-wide draft strategy and related action plan to reduce, and possibly eliminate the illegal trade in wild animal and plant species.

In the Conference Final Statement, the African governments reaffirmed the need for a unified strategy to help Africa in the fight against illegal trading of species and products from the wild fauna and flora. The Draft Strategy developed during the Conference, which outlines the key elements of such a unified strategy for the 2015-2024 period, is a real first across the African continent. The Strategy and its Action Plan will continue to be developed in consultation with African nations. Progresses in the area are expected to be reviewed in June, during the biannual meeting of African leaders to be held in South Africa.

This article is published under
26 May 2015
Aquaculture: Opportunities and Challenges – E15 Initiative – May 2015 This paper focuses on aquaculture as one avenue to mitigate the threats to the world’s fisheries. Still, as a rapidly growing...
26 May 2015
The US Senate passed legislation on 14 May to extend duty-free access to the US for Sub-Saharan African countries through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another decade. The US...