Diversification of regional economy defended

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has appealed to its member states to do more to diversify their economies, emphasising agriculture as a means for improving food-producing capacity. It said the focus on agriculture should go together with the development of an internal transport network linking agriculture production zones and consumer markets. Each country should consider agriculture as an important sustainable source for their economies. Read more here.
ANGOP

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SADC centre for agricultural research launched in Botswana

Centre for the Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA), which was established by SADC in 2010 under a charter, launched its center in Botswana on 14 July, 2011. The center is expected to coordinate joint regional research programmes in SADC, facilitate the sharing of research information and resources, as well as strengthen partnership and collaboration. In the launch, it has been emphasized that to keep pace with population growth and other life demands, research and technology development must remain focused and ahead of time. Africa must position herself to compete with the best in the global market. Read more here.
Angela Mdlalani

Markets key to achieving food security

The failure of many African countries to increase their spending on agriculture has been seen as a serious impediment to the continent’s mission to boost economic growth. But the story is different in a few countries. During the African Agricultural Markets Programme (AAMP) 5th regional policy seminar in Kigali recently, it was indicated that linking smallholder farmers to markets was key to achieving food security in Africa. This seminar, which is an initiative of Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), discussed the extent modern African agriculture can lead to poverty reduction. Read more here.
Joseph Olanyo

African leaders told to increase food production

African leaders under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have been urged to increase investments in agriculture to boost food production. The call was made again by Dr Chris Muyunda, the executive director of the Alliance for Commodity Trade for Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) at the Africa Agricultural Markets Programme policy seminar held in Kigali. Despite the Maputo Declaration, only eight out of the 53 countries have met the target to increase investment in agriculture to 10% of their national budget. This is a serious impediment to the continent’s aim to boost economic development. Read more here.
Prossy Nandudu

Informal cross-border food trade

FEWS NET has released its latest report on informal cross border food trade among selected countries in southern Africa. This study covers observed monthly trends, as well as current marketing year cumulative informal trade flows in maize, rice and beans at selected border points in the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. According to the report, informal cross-border trade usually peaks due to increased demand especially for maize; however, the 2010 overall volumes of traded maize, rice and beans declined. Read more here.

TradeMark SA newsletter

The newly-established TradeMark Southern Africa project, and its website, is set to play an important role in promoting closer regional integration in Southern and Eastern Africa. Besides providing technical advice to SADC, COMESA and the EAC on key components of intra-regional trade policy, infrastructure and trade logistics, the project’s website provides users with daily news updates, sourced from local newspapers and agencies, on trade issues across Southern and East Africa. The 15-20 news updates are tagged by key categories and converted into sectoral RSS feeds – agricultural trade is one of the primary news feeds provided by the website. Read more here.

Criminalisation of wilful transmission of HIV: sitting on the fence?

By Christele Diwouta, a researcher with Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme

In August this year the eyes of the world were upon an HIV-positive German pop star found guilty of having unprotected sex with her ex-partner and infecting him with HIV. Nadja Benaissa, 28, was found guilty and given a two-year suspended sentence as well as 300 hours of community service.

Nadja’s trial stirred up controversy and her story is not an isolated one. In the recent history of HIV and AIDS, there have been reported cases of wilful transmission of HIV. Some countries view the act of infecting a person with HIV as first-degree murder, as in the case of Ugandan-born Johnson Aziga under Canadian law.  Or it can be defined as serious bodily harm, as in the case or R. v. Cuerrier  where the supreme court of Canada ruled that a partner cannot truly give informed consent if the other fails to disclose their HIV status. In the American state of Florida, a person with a sexually transmitted disease other than HIV who knowingly passes on the disease through sexual activity is guilty of a misdemeanour.  But it is a felony  for any person who is knowingly infected with HIV to intentionally or recklessly pass it on to another person .

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