EU Approves 6.5B Euros for Trade in West Africa, Liberia Included

first_imgThe European Union Delegation to Liberia has announced the decision of the European Council to provide at least 6.5 billion euros for the Economic Partnership Agreement Development Program (PAPED) for West Africa during the period 2015 – 2020.The funds will greatly enhance trade and investment flow to 16 West African countries, including Liberia, thereby contributing to their development, sustainable growth and poverty reduction.The provision of the funds by the European Council, according to a statement, is an essential element of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiated with West Africa, and will provide funding for projects linked to trade, industry, transport and energy infrastructure in the region, as well as through support to civil society.In approving the funds, the European Council noted that “the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is an important step for the partnership between West Africa and the European Union (EU), in coherence with the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, for sustainable economic development that can benefit the West African population including its poorest segments.”The European Council, in addition, welcomed the efforts and progress which West African countries and regional institutions have made to foster regional integration, stating it recalls the fundamental role of regional integration as being instrumental in securing peace, stability and sustainable economic development, as well as its political commitment in support of aid for trade and to mobilise financial flows.According to the press release, this substantial new commitment from the European Commission and the EU Member States, demonstrates the EU’s continuous support to West Africa’s regional integration, which is the most advanced of the African continent.European Commissioner for development, Andris Piebalgs, and Karel De Gucht, for Trade policy, have meanwhile welcomed the decision of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, confirming new EU support of at least €6.5 billion for the Economic Partnership Agreement Development Program (PAPED) for West Africa.Commissioner Piebalgs said: “EU’s commitment responds to the needs expressed by West Africa and will allow the region to take advantage of all the opportunities of the Economic Partnership Agreement. The implementation of the EPA will be instrumental in creating favourable conditions to boost trade in the region and stimulate growth and job creation. The development of the region will also contribute to increase peace and stability in West Africa.”In 2010, the EU already pledged to provide €6.5 billion to support the PAPED for the period 2010-2014. This pledge was eventually increased and the EU has funded projects worth €8.2 billion (through the European instruments, Member States’ bilateral cooperation and the European Investment Bank). BackgroundThe region of West Africa1 includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cap Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania.In the Foreign Affairs Council’s conclusions, the European Union acknowledges the importance of the Economic Partnership Agreement Development Program (PAPED) developed by West Africa during the negotiations of the EPA between the 16 states in the region and the European Union.The PAPED has five objectives including promoting diversification and growth in production capacity; development of trade within the region and improved access to internal markets; improvement and reinforcement of regional and national infrastructure linked to trade; fiscal, social and economic reforms, and other trade-related issues; implementation of EPA monitoring and evaluation.The PAPED is an essential step in the process towards the implementation of the future EPA. Also, the EPA represents a new kind of partnership between West Africa and the EU in the sense that although it is a trade agreement, it has a specific development objective. It is designed to strengthen West-African economies via the production and export of a wider range of goods, and by increasing trade between the countries in the region.The negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union have recently been concluded and endorsement at political level is expected in due course.Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific regions engaged in a regional economic integration process. The EPAs were put in place to help ACP countries integrate into the world economy and share in the opportunities offered by globalisation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LOYALTY A KEY REQUIREMENT FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING – (PART THREE): CULTIVATING AND MAINTAINING THE…

first_imgIn this third article of the series centered on the necessary requirement of loyalty particular attention will be paid to how one can cultivate and maintain the virtuous habit of loyalty. Loyalty like most virtues can be craved, formed and maintained by conscious thought and practice. How? The rest of this article will endeavor to answer. The second article on the vice of disloyalty observed the following points:To be loyal means to be faithful to a person, institution, nation or a cause for as long as it takes and is required. It is the act of giving oneself totally in terms of time, energy, obedience, resources, and best thoughts to a cause or person. Loyalty is the giving of total support to a person or a cause. It is the act of keeping a promise come what may. It means being committed to the core. Loyalty means loving, defending, and promoting what one believes in. To be loyal is to be true to a person or cause at all times and under all circumstances.The exact opposite of loyalty is disloyalty. It means to be unfaithful, uncommitted and unreliable with regard to a cause or person. At its worst it takes the form of betrayal wherein one connives with the enemies of a friend, family or a cause that one is supposed to defend and promote to harm that friend, family or cause. It hurts deeply when one is supposed to be a loyal friend, family or a fan of a cause but is found to be the exact opposite.!This act of betrayal or lack of commitment is one of the major causes of families, institutions and nations not doing as well as they ought to. Disloyalty impedes and stifles their progress. Liberia is lacking behind countries in Africa that she is supposed to be leading in terms of stability and socio-economic wellbeing all because of the lack of patriotism which is another form of disloyalty on the part of many of her citizens, especially those in positions of leadership. Many Liberians pay a lip service to the indispensable quality of patriotism but in practice are very disloyal to the overall interests of the nation.If Liberia is to recover from past mistakes and make rapid and lasting progress in advancing the welfare of its vast majority of citizens, Liberians, must learn and practice patriotism. On the individual and institutional level, disloyalty can be overcome by the realization that it is a part of life and that anyone or institution can be a victim of it. When it does occur one or an institution must not let it be a determiner of fate. Progress must be continued as if disloyalty never occurred. Disloyalty occurs in all sorts of ways and to all sorts of people and institutions and it hurts. But to overcome it and not let it impede the achievement of dreams and aspirations, is an important strategy for any successful living.How then may one form and keep the good habit of loyalty to the right causes and persons? Loyalty is both a virtue and a principle. A virtue must be consciously owed, practiced as often as possible and made one’s second nature. One must believe passionately that loyalty is essential for a successful living and for pleasing God and all those to whom one is accountable. All just causes require loyal promoters.Just as one can resolve to be sincere under all circumstances, as far as humanly possible, one can also to be loyal to God Almighty and those just and noble causes and persons who promote justice and believe and work for the common good of the neighbor and all of society. Of course, a resolution is only a resolution on paper or in the mind until it is demonstrated through living it out. The way one can convince oneself and others is by living the virtue of loyalty.The saying is true that charity (the old word for love) begins at home. Loyalty has to begin with God the Creator and Source of all that one is and has. Someone has rightly observed that if one is unfaithful (dishonest) to God in prayer, giving (tithes and dues) and in worship, then one is likely to be disloyal to one’s partner, children, job and others. One way to demonstrate that one is loyal to God is to be loyal to the persons and causes that one is closest to and interact with most frequently. When such a habit is formed then it is a lot easier to extend it to those far off. Loyalty to just causes and persons is a necessity for living a healthy and fulfilled life and all sober minded persons must endeavor to form it and live it daily.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more