Rising Food Prices Could Slow Down Trade in 2008

Published on 22nd April 2008

The growth forecast on trade for 2008 may slow to 4.5 percent from last year’s 5.5 percent due to rising food and fuel prices. According to WTO (World Trade Organisation), related social destabilisation may necessitate economic slowdowns causing trade disruptions. While financial turbulence may not deal a deadly blow to developed countries, the rest of the world will definitely feel the impact thereby temporarily abandoning some trade practices for cautionary measures. However, “the negotiations on agriculture and non-agriculture (industrial goods) market access (NAMA) expected in May are seen as ‘the correction point’ for developing states in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions,” said WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy.

South Africa: Private Hospitals Reject State’s Tariff Watchdog

New price controls on the private health sector and a radical overhaul of the body that regulates medicines have been proposed in South Africa. The proposed laws come as rising private healthcare costs are making medical scheme membership so expensive that a decreasing proportion of the population can afford cover, increasing the burden on the overstretched public sector. The draft legislation is likely to heighten tension between South Africa Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the private hospital sector, which has so far failed to persuade the minister not to regulate their tariffs. South Africa like many other African countries have well-developed privately run health services that are very expensive to access.

Dictionary to Improve Indigenious Knowledge

Rwanda’s Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST) lauched the first dictionary in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s indigenous language) translated from French.Currently in three volumes, the dictionary will later be condensed into one volume. “The language is one thing that binds all Rwandans and it is in this regard that it needs to be improved as a source of knowledge and cultural heritage which will eventually enable us to achieve our objectives,” said, Jean Baptist Nduwayezu, IRST Director General. The project, Nduwayezu pointed out, dates back to 1965, when it was started through a partnership between Rwanda and Belgium, involving IRST and the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren. However, the state of conflict in the country, since the 1970’s led to the death of many of the researchers who were working on the dictionary; their number was further drastically reduced in the 1994 genocide delaying the finalisation and publication of the dictionary.

Armory Shipment for Zimbabwe

The Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, whose shipment of three million rounds of ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles and small arms, 3500 mortars and mortar tubes as well as 1500 rocket propelled grenades is currently docked at the Durban harbour. The shipment destined for Zimbabwe has raised controversy over its timely arrival with reference to current political instability facing the country. The ship is also reported to have entered the port without clearance and is currently docked at the outer anchorage. The shipment has sparked a political outcry in South Africa with parties calling on the government to block the consignment to save lives of protesting Zimbabweans.

Accra 2008 WANGO Conference

The first edition of a WANGO (World Association of Non Governmental Organisations) regional conference in Africa will be held in Accra, Ghana. The event, which is a follow up to the 2007 World Congress of NGOs held in Toronto, Canada will bring together over 300 representatives of NGOs, government, business and support agencies in the region and beyond. The forum will address issues crucial to the growth and development of the humanitarian sector in sub-Saharan Africa. It will also be a unique opportunity to acquire the mechanism and support needed to network, brainstorm, and share innovative ideas that assist in the management of their NGOs in solving  basic problems.

Kenyan Banks Stamping Authority in Eastern Africa

Kenya’s indigenous banks have over the past few years been making their presence felt in the larger Eastern Africa region. KCB Bank and Equity Bank, exclusive Kenyan brands are pursuing ambitious plans of being the leading financial services providers in the region. In it expansion bid, KCB is planning to open a branch in Rwanda to build on its already expanded network in Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan. The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Martin Oduor-Otieno revealed that the bank is also planning to open 60 more branches within the region in the next few months. On the hand, Equity Bank, a once micro finance institution turned bank with an enormous growth rate, has also begun its race for the region. “A recent 100% purchase of Uganda Microfinance is just a beginning…we have been actively consolidating our dominant banking position in Kenya and seeking prudent regional entry points,” the bank’s Managing Director, Dr. James Mwangi said.

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