Africa in the news: The Uganda-EU deal, politics, airlines, and COVID-19 updates

Uganda and the European Union strengthen trade and business relationship

Earlier this month, Uganda hosted a delegation from the European Union (EU) for the first-ever Uganda-Europe Business Forum . The forum is a part of a larger effort to “facilitate collaboration between private and public actors and partnership between Ugandan and European companies , in the framework of the Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform.” The EU is an important trade and investment partner for the East African country: Trade between Uganda and the EU was worth $1.1 billion in 2018 .

As a follow-up to the forum, Uganda signed three grant financing agreements with the EU, worth $97.5 million . The agreements are intended to support projects aimed at improving the standards of Ugandan products, thus assisting the country in qualifying for and sustaining its exports to Europe. More specifically, according to Ugandan Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, about $50 million will go towards funding the inclusive green economy uptake program, which involves developing products and projects that reduce environmental risks. According to EU Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, those projects include “ climate-smart agriculture, green cities, eco-tourism, scaling of renewable energy investments that target off-grid and reduction of waste projects, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for households and industry.” Already, EU companies finance a number of infrastructure development and improvement projects in Uganda . Long term, according to Pacifici, EU firms plan to invest $733.3 million in the country over the next five years. Malawi’s Mutharika rejects election reforms; Cote d’Ivoire’s Ouattara won’t seek a third term

Earlier this week, President of Malawi Peter Mutharika announced he was refusing to ratify recent changes to his country’s electoral laws approved by the country’s parliament, arguing that the proposed laws controvert Malawi’s constitution. Malawi’s parliament recently set a date of May 19 for the new presidential election as well as amending the Electoral Act to allow for a runoff election within 30 days if no candidate wins an outright majority of votes. The results of the 2019 election, which Mutharika claims he won, were annulled earlier this year by the country’s Constitutional Court under the claims of “ widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities . Mutharika continues to appeal the court’s ruling.

On March 13, Mutharika had also dissolved his cabinet, consolidating all “all ministerial powers, functions and responsibilities” to the office of the president. Mutharika appointed a new cabinet this week. Also this […]

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