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The weekly Capital’s CFTA.now 5+1 questions is pleased to present to you Africa’s top business promoters. This week’s guest is Mr. Solomon Afework, the President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, and the 1st Vice President of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2014. Mr. Solomon talks with Mahlet Yebeka from the CFTA.NOW, about the big picture vision of business in Africa, and the role of PACCI in helping to shape trade and investment in Africa.

The entry into force of World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement, which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms all over the world and creates a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole.

In line with this the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Trade Policy Center is organizing a consultation meeting entitled ‘Enabling Cross Border Trade - Ways Chambers of Commerce can lobby in Support of the Single Window Meeting’ to update business on the progress made in implementing the Trade Single Window system across the continent and to contribute ideas to help shape the future of import/export processes and formalities in Africa.

The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced this yesterday after the conclusion of the Federal Executive Council meeting at which the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, presided.

He said the construction work would gulp $38 million ,while $1.9 million would be spent on consultancy service

The minister explained: "This was done under the African Development Bank procurement guidelines.

"We presented a memo to construct the Cameroun-Nigeria border link bridge at Ikot Efiem, under the African Development Bank support for improving relationship between Cameroun and Nigeria post the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgement over Bakassi


Read more at http://allafrica.com/stories/201702230039.html

JOHANNESBURG and ARMONK, N.Y., Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) is investing $70 million (approximately ZAR 945 million) in building much-needed digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to help support a 21st century workforce in Africa. The initiative, "IBM Digital - Nation Africa," provides a cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programs for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence and nurturing innovation in Africa.

Rwanda will start exporting fortified foods, next month, thanks to a new modern factory was launched.

The $45-million (about Rwf36 billion) factory is expected to produce 45,000 tonnes of fortified food annually, enough to help boost exports and prevent child malnutrition across country. Up to 60 per cent of its output is expected to be exported to regional and global markets.The Africa Improved Foods - Rwanda, based at Kigali Special Economic Zone Nyandungu, started production of fortified porridge flour .

Up to 60 per cent of its output is expected to be exported to regional and global markets.

The facility is a consortium of Royal DSM (the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences Company), the Dutch Development Bank, the DFID, the UK’s development financing institution under the Impact Acceleration Facility (managed by CDC Group Plc), and the International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank.

In 2013, Rwanda launched the ‘1000 Days’ national campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country. The campaign has been scientifically proven that the 1,000-day window has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive.


Read more at:- http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-02-03/207658/

“It is so good to be back home, after having been away for too long.”

Those were the first words of Moroccan King Mohamed VI in a speech at the 28th African Union (AU) Summit Tuesday. The speech came after a vast majority of the AU’s member states voted Monday to readmit Morocco to the continental bloc after a 33-year absence.

As the Moroccan king addressed the chamber in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it felt like a defining moment, according to Liesl Louw-Vaudran, an analyst at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa. “I’ve been following the AU for 20 years and I never thought I would see King Mohamed walk in and make a speech, it was quite historic,” she said from Addis Ababa.

But why has the North African country decided that, after a three-decade absence, it needs to rejoin the AU? After all, the collective is often criticized for bureaucracy and failing to resolve crises on the continent. Take Burundi, as an example: the AU has been largely toothless in dealing with a civil conflict that broke out in April 2015, which has killed more than 400 people. It backed off from sending in a peacekeeping force after Burundi expressed its dissatisfaction.

According to analysts, two key benefits stick out in Morocco’s reintegration in the AU: the opportunity for greater trade with African countries, many of which are growing much faster than European states; and a potential means of resolving the continent’s last remaining colonial dispute— the status of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco claims as its own but that an independence movement says deserves autonomy.

On the economic front, Morocco’s links with the rest of Africa are growing but still make up a small percentage of the country’s overall trade. The European Union is Morocco’s biggest trading partner, constituting 55.7 percent of its trade in 2015, with near neighbor Spain and former colonial power France being the biggest beneficiaries. Morocco has also been unable to benefit from intra-African trade regions to the same extent as other countries. It is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), a five-country trade agreement with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia. But the AMU has made little progress in boosting trade on account of recurring disputes between Algeria and Morocco—including on Western Sahara, since Algeria supports its independence—and has not held a meeting since 2008.

Mohamed indicated in his speech that this was something he wanted to change, and that he has already been hard at work. The monarch said that Morocco had signed almost 1,000 agreements and treaties with various African countries since 2000, while he had made 46 visits to 25 countries on the continent in the same period. Moroccan banks have expanded throughout Africa, with a presence in more than 20 countries, and the country’s state-run airline Royal Air Maroc is one of Africa’s biggest airlines, with Casablanca used as a transit point for many sub-Saharan Africans traveling across the continent.

“Morocco has opened a number of interesting diplomatic and commercial interests with their nearest African neighbors,” says Claire Spencer, a senior research fellow and North Africa expert at international affairs think tank Chatham House. “It’s logical that if their sub-regional development [in the Maghreb] is not going to happen that this should take place within the African Union.”

The Western Sahara dispute was the reason why Morocco left the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in the first place. A desert area roughly the size of Colorado, Western Sahara has been at the center of a dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front, an organization representing the indigenous Sahrawi people, since the 1970s. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 after Spanish colonizers withdrew, prompting the Polisario Front to launch a guerrilla struggle that continued until 1991, when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire. An estimated 90,000 people are living in refugee camps near the Algerian desert town of Tindouf, according to the U.N., as a result of the conflict.

Morocco left the OAU in 1984 when a majority of members voted to recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, as the Polisario Front calls the territory. In Monday’s vote, several countries—including Algeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe—reportedly wanted to make Morocco’s readmission to the AU contingent on it recognizing Western Sahara’s borders. But a top Western Sahara official, Sidi Mohammed, told the BBC that it welcomed Morocco’s readmission, calling it “a chance to work together” on organizing a long-promised referendum on the territory’s status.

According to Louw-Vaudran, however, Morocco’s re-entry to the AU could simply offer the North African state an air of “legitimacy” in seeking its desired solution in Western Sahara. Morocco has offered limited autonomy to the territory, but is unwilling to counsel full independence.

“Morocco wants to work from the independence to get Western Sahara expelled from the AU and once and for all lay to rest the whole issue of Western Sahara and its claims to independence,” says Louw-Vaudran. “I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks that total independence for Western Sahara is still on the cards.”

In a veiled nod to the controversial issue, Mohamed said in his speech that he was aware some AU member states were suspicious of its intentions. “We have absolutely no intention of causing division, as some would like to insinuate,” he said. Time will tell whether that proves to be the case...Read More

Governments across Sub-Saharan region should embrace innovative policy options to enhance the resilience of their economies in the light of external shocks like global economic slowdown and erratic weather patterns, policymakers and executives said at a forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.

ZAMBIA has scooped the position of Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the just-ended African Union elections by a landslide victory. Zambia's candidate Albert Muchanga polled 49 votes out of 51 votes. The AU consists of 54 member states and 51 participated in the elections that were held on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 2009 by 35 founding national business chambers to influence government policy and create a better operating environment for business.

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