The East African heads of state resolved to have a common market and a single currency by 2012, before moving to a political federation. While noting the overwhelming support of East Africans for a political federation, the leaders decided to "move expeditiously towards establishing a common market and a monetary union by 2012." The common market would allow the free circulation of goods and movement of the people within the region. To ease this, one common passport will be used within the five countries.
Information Gap Reduced by FAMIS
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has designed an electronic web based system Regional Food and Agricultural Marketing Information System (FAMIS), which will feature key information on major agricultural commodities, trade and investment opportunities in the region. The system will help farmers in member countries access relevant agriculture marketing information hence reducing the information gap that middlemen exploit.
Kenya Impex Forum 2007
Kenya will host East Africa’s premiere import and export forum, Kenya Impex Forum 2007 in September. The forum will explore how to ensure small businesses exploit emerging trade and investment opportunities in the region. The event will bring together businessmen, consumers and import/export support service providers from East Africa Community member states.
Seed Traders Source for Seed Legislation
Seed traders have asked Kenya’s Agriculture Minister Kipruto Arap Kirwa to publish the revised Seeds and Plant Varieties Regulation reflecting the liberalization of the industry. Since the Kenya Seed Industry was opened in 1996, the current law still reflects the monopolistic environment; yet, there are over 40 other players. According to the Seed Association of Kenya Executive Officer Obongo Nyachae, efforts to amend the regulations since 1996 bore fruits in March 2007 when government and the industry agreed on the amendments.
Other than removing some controls so as to liberalize the sector, the amendment increases penalties to traders to deter them from selling substandard seeds, and requires them to adhere to truthful labeling. The Association is seeking to have a single permit for seed selling that would attract a registration fee of Ksh. 5,000 down from Kshs.120, 000; and it also requested for a provision allowing plant breeders to earn royalties. “It is the feeling of the industry players that both institutions and scientists developing the new varieties should also benefit from the sale of their seeds and not only the seed sellers,” observed Nyachae.
The 2nd IREN Africa Think Tank Leadership
Inter Region Economic Network hosted the 2nd IREN Africa Think Tank Leadership Training at the Panafric Hotel on 16th –19th August 2007. The conference brought together 32 delegates from six African countries; Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Kenya. The conference focused on how to set up and run a think tank in Africa. One of the major challenges to African think was identified as advancing other people’s agendas at the expense of the African agenda. Think Tanks in Africa need to have clear visions and missions in order to run sustainable programs and have strong brands.
Compiled by Anne Mugoya
Inter Region Economic Network
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