Rwanda and Burundi were admitted to the East African Community (EAC) on November 30 2006 in a meeting attended by all the heads of states in East Africa. This will enhance the regional trade bloc with an additional market of people. It strengthens the community in terms of size, people, natural resources, market opportunities, attraction of investments, bigger bargaining power, bigger voice, and really increases the quality of life and a better future for the East African region. Uganda's Internal Affairs Minister, Ruhahana Rugunda said the admission would also enable Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda collectively to engage the negative elements fighting their governments.
Governments Not Committed to the East Africa Customs Union
Business leaders in East Africa do not believe governments are committed to the East Africa Customs Union. “Over the years, participating CEOs have felt that there is lack of political will in having the Customs Union start working,” says Pricewaterhousecoopers Country Director, Mr. Charles Muchene. The East Africa’s Most Respected Companies Survey shows that the business community is worried about the state of infrastructure. CEO’s from Uganda and Tanzania say they have difficulties in attracting the best worker.
AfDB to Provide Guarantee
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide a partial guarantee to the tune of Ksh 710 million to make it possible for women entrepreneurs running growth oriented small and medium enterprises to get loans over the next five years. AfDB has appointed the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to manage the Growth Oriented Women Enterprises (GOWE) Kenya programme
Africa Turned into a Junk Yard
Environmental experts fear that Africa may end up as the biggest loser in the booming mobile phones industry. Delegates in the UN- organized conference on hazardous waste say lack of a waste management framework has turned Africa into a junk yard for millions of used computers and mobile phones that are shipped to the country every year.
New Archaeological Findings in Botswana
Archaeologists have discovered what seem to be the remains of the world’s earliest religious worship site in the remote Ngamiland region of Botswana. The sensational discovery strengthens Africa’s position as the cradle of modern man. The new archaeological findings in Botswana show that ancestors in Africa engaged in ritual practice 70,000 years ago, some 30,000 years earlier than the oldest findings in Europe.
Africa Must Develop Business and Industry
Dominique de Villepin, French Prime Minister, said that Africa must develop its own business and industry to protect itself from commodity price volatility and commercial aggression in the global arena. Speaking at the SA Institute of International Affairs at Wits University last week, he further warned that if Africa did not succeed in defending its interests, it might see its wealth in raw materials become a problem. Particularly dangerous was the “illegal exploitation of resources by organized criminal net-works. Africa is subjected to the most brutal changes due to globalization without benefiting from it.
Trade between South Africa and COMESA Drops
Trade between South Africa and the regional economic bloc, COMESA, has fallen drastically, with exports and imports between the two reaching their lowest levels in five years. COMESA exports to South Africa in 2005 plunged $844 million, a decline of 70 per cent compared to 2004, when they registered $2,742 million. Now exports to South Africa constitute only 21 per cent of the total trade, where the major exports are copper, nickel, ores, cotton, tea and tobacco. Imports by COMESA countries from South Africa declined by 24 per cent in 2005 compared to 2004. COMESA countries imported goods and services worth $3,198 million in 2005, down from $5,487 million in 2004. Major imports in 2005 from South Africa were petroleum products, helicopters, steel, motor vehicles and maize.
IREN Goes International
- 4th Africa Resource Bank (Turning African People into a Resource)
Over 30 delegates participated in the 4th Africa Resource Bank meeting that was held here in Kenya early this week. The outcome of this workshop will be posted on the IREN and African Executive websites in two weeks time. The 5th Africa Resource Bank will be hosted by Tanzania on November 11 – 14, 2007.
- International Turkish – African Congress
IREN has been invited to take part in the 2nd International Turkish – African Congress from the 12th to13th December 2006 in Istanbul Turkey. The event will comprise a high powered delegation of key decision makers in Africa and Turkey including, Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Olesegun Obasanjo President of Nigeria, Joseph Kabila - President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Meles Zinawi - Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare - Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr. Mahmood Ayub - the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for UNDP Turkey among others.
Mr. James Shikwati, Director IREN will present a paper on the Economic Progress and Development Aid in East Africa – the case of Kenya under the major theme “Economy and Development Aid”.
Topics on Education, Health, Agriculture, Tourism, Economy and Development Aid in Sub-Saharan Africa will be covered. The event will also serve to strengthen the ties between Turkey and the Sub Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile Shikwati is in Berlin attending a conference on New Kids on the Block? China’s and India’s Growing Importance in African Development. Participants include officials from the Institute of West Asian and African, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, India’s Institute for defense studies and analysis and Board Chair of Sudan Monitor
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