okra eXpress - Your creative, original and innovative PR, media and event specialist 

 

                                                 






 

 
 

 

okra eXpress.com

okra eXpress hosts series of multinational events bringing together  investors and targeted major players from industry and government with a particular emphasis  on making more effective investments in developing world markets. okra eXpress cuts a slice across the continent offering creativeoriginal and unique services in line with quality. Quality is the key at okra eXpress.  If you have learnt from our experience, then our past is a success.



Forthcoming 
events at okra eXpress. 
We have an amazing array of distinguished guest speakers and an excellent panel of formidable industry experts for the followingokra eXpress events listed below. 

The following events listed below will be inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpreSsss

  1. Global investment summit – Spotlight on Africa. Positives, Prospects and Potentials. Fresh insights on investment opportunities in resource rich Africa. This event will take place in London at 6pm on Thursday, 19 May 2016
  2. Emerging investment opportunities in digital technology – Who is ahead of the game in this digital modern age? This event will take place in London at 6pm on Thursday, 14 July 2016
  3. Untapped lucrative investment opportunities. Spotlight on the ambitious and progressive EU relations with  magnificent China. This event will take place in London at 6pm on Wednesday 19 October 2016
  4. Untapped lucrative investment opportunities. Spotlight on the ambitious and progressive EU relations withh triumphant United States of America. This event will take place in London at 6pm on Thursday, 20 October 2016
  5. Looking ahead. Peace and Security are great for sustainable Investment. Let’s talk about Democratic World Peace and Security. This event will take place in Brussels, on Monday, 20 February 2017.
  6. EU Africa 21st Century Trade and Investment Boost. Rejuvenating untapped lucrative investment opportunities in resource rich Africa. Spotlight on EU and Africa. This event will take place in Brussels, on Tuesday 21 February 2017.
  7. China Africa 21st Century Trade and Investment Boost. Rejuvenating untapped lucrative investment opportunities in resource rich Africa. Spotlight on China and Africa. This event will take place in Brussels, on Wednesday 22 February 2017.
  8. USA Africa 21st Century Trade and Investment Boost. Rejuvenating untapped lucrative investment opportunities in resource rich Africa. Spotlight on USA and Africa. This event will take place in Brussels on Thursday 23 February 2017.

Quality is the key at okra eXpress. If you have learnt from our experience, then our past is a success.

Success stories highlighted at the okra eXpress event - Spotlight on Unilever

Unilever logo

Speaking at the okra eXpress event in February 2009, a spectacular event  inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress, held in Parliament, Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament,  Unilever’s Vice President, Global External Affairs, a formidable industry expert  said at the okra eXpress event that  “I think it is very important to hear that companielike Unilever to be committed to AfricaAfrica (orthographic projection).svg for the long term. And despite what you may be hearing, seeing about the economic downturn, which I think will have an impact during the course of this year; most companies like ours see the potential of Africa being significant and continuing to be a very attractive place in which a company like mine can do business. Unilever has been investing in Africafor many, many years. I mean, I think we opened our first factory in 1902 and we are now operating in 19 different countries, and we currently have 138 factories in Africa in different countries and employ 88,000people and have roughly about £2 billion turnover in different markets. On average, our business grew very healthily throughout the cause of the year on average between 10 to 15%, so that is a very good growth opportunity and that makes Africa very attractive for foreign direct investmentPunchy Sound bites from the okra eXpress event, in February 2009. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment. 

Thumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011Flag of the People's Republic of China.svgPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, in November 2012. Spotlight on UK – China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN).

Speaking at the okra eXpress event in November 2012, a spectacular okra eXpress event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress, held in Parliament, Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, in swanky London an okra eXpress event series on global food security. Preventing food crunch. Food for thought.  A Chinese professor and the The Head of Secretariat, UK – China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN) addressed the okra eXpress audience on China’s cooperation on sustainable agriculture and food security. With kind permission from okra eXpress, the Chinese Professor, and Head of Secretariat, UK China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN), UK also brought with him and distributed copies of UK – China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN), annual report to the guests at the okra eXpress events. okra eXpress read the annual report in-depth and highlighted excerpt of the annual report, making  particular reference to the following pages, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 15, 16, 17, 18, Private Sector engagement as highlighted below. 

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svgThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011SAINWho we are

The UK-China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN) has been established to provide a coherent framework for the development and implementation of China- UK collaboration on sustainable agriculture and food security set up by MoA Defra and DfID DfID.svgiFlag of the People's Republic of China.svgThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011

 SAIN: What we do

  • Support UK-China cooperation in sustainable agriculture by fostering innovation in three areas: 
  1. policy approaches;
  2. institutional mechanisms for collaborative research
  3. translating policy and science into practice
  • Stimulating innovative thinking and research on all aspects of sustainable agriculture and and its relation to the local, national and global economy
  • Communicate information on sustainable agriculture issues and opportunities for change, and disseminate best practice to key audience
  • Contribute to global sustainability through south-south learning and similar initiatives 

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svgThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011SAIN Research Portfolios

The common objectives of SAIN projects are to address the issue of increased resource use efficiency, particularly nitrogen fertilisers and manures; reduce pollution from agricultural production to air and water, including GHG emissions reduction and to increase carbon sequestration; and communicate information on agricultural climate change mitigation, adaptation and options to policy makers as well as farmers.   

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svgThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011SAIN Research Portfolio:

  • Improved Nutrient Management in Agriculture a key to the Low Carbon economy
  • A review of Manure - Use in China (MUC)
  • Estimate of future agricultural green house gas emissions and mitigation in China
  • Conservation for enhanced utilization of crop wild relative diversity for sustainable development and climate change mitigation (CWR China)
  • Addressing vulnerabilities and building capacity for adaptation of agriculture to climate change in China
  • ADMIT: Harmonising ADaptation and MITigation for agriculture and water in China
  • Developing a catchment management template to mitigate non-profit source pollution in China
  • The future of food and farming - Foresight Report's implications for China

The Chinese Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Professor, and Head of Secretariat, UK China Sustainable Agriculture Innovative Network (SAIN),Thumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg also addressed the okra eXpress audience on China’s cooperation on sustainable agriculture and food securityPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, in November 2012. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event. okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment.

Photos above, sound bites from Managing Director, Carbon and Energy Markets, Standard & Poor’s at the okra eXpress event

on Global

Energy, Carbon and Markets

.

Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress Brussels event, in February 2010. Spotlight on the European Commission at and The African Union at the okra eXpress Brussels event

http://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.html

Speaking at the spectacular okra eXpress event in Brussels, an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress in Brussels on 24 February 2010, held at the The Secretariat of The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, (ACP Headquarters in Brussels), the European Commission'shttp://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.html Head of Unit, Directorate-General, Development  and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, addressed the okra eXpress audience, and gave his assessment of the Joint African EU Strategy (JAES) achievements. There had been ‘extremely significant results in most areas”. he said. In particular, there was a greatly enhanced political dialogue, with for example discussions about peace and security every six months, at ministerial level, which had enabled Europe and Africa to speak with one voice on a number of urgent issues.

  • On Climate Change
  • And Energy

The dialogue had also facilitated "common declarations". It had also had positive effects on EU and AU institutions, moving their communications beyond ‘closed circuits’ to working more closely with member states and external actors. The European Commission's Head of Unit, Directorate-General, Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, said the idea of working with the people, with civil-society - parliaments, private sector and non-state actors – was a pillar of the Joint African EU Strategy (JAES), but so far had had mixed results, and finding ways for non-state actors to participate better in the EU-Africa partnership was a priorityPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the spectacular okra eXpress Brussels event, on 24 February 2010. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event. okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment 

Speaking at the spectacular okra eXpress event in Brussels, an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress in Brussels on 24 February 2010, held at The Secretariat of The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, (ACP Headquarters in Brussels), The African Union's Ambassador, African Union Representative to the European Union, Permanent Mission in Brussels, agreed with the European Commission's Head of Unit, Directorate-General, Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States who spoke at the spectacular okra eXpress event  that it would be illusory to draw conclusions about the Joint African EU Strategy (JAES) from its first two years. He remained ‘optimistic’ about the (JAES) strategy. It was an achievement in itself, he suggested, for heads of state from Europe and Africa to meet en masse as they had in Lisbon in 2007 and discuss their differences frankly. He reminded the okra eXpress audience that seven years had elapsed between the first EU-Africa summit in Cairo, in 2000, and the second summit, illustrating the scale of the challenges that African and European leaders had set themselves. The African Union's Ambassador said that progress with the Joint African EU Strategy, (JAES) since Lisbon in 2007 had been ‘encouraging’, with political dialogue ‘enormously reinforced’. The two main challenges that he anticipated were to persuade heads of state to attend the next summit, and ‘to win" the media battle’. 

The African Union Ambassador, stated that the media could do far more to promote the partnership between Europe and Africa, and in some respects were an obstacle. He challenged the  mediato make Africa  attractive to Europeans ‘to present Africa as a place where one can do business, where one can  invest, where there’s a developed public sector’. There was a need for the media to tell the success stories, he said. Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 24 February 2010. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event. okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment.

Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the International Monetary Fund. Spotlight on International Monetary Fund. Credit: okra eXpressLagarde, Christine (official portrait 2011).jpgInternational Monetary Fund logo.svgOn Wednesday, 23 May 2014, world renowned global icon, IMF Managing Director, Ms. Christine Largarde, hailed Africa's growth spectacular.

Reality CheckInteresting Dynamics: Fascinating discussion: Credible questions from okra eXpress in the summer of 2010 to the European Commissionhttp://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.htmlThe Council of Europe and the European Parliament Coat of arms or logo and The Council of Europe.  Council of the EU logo.svg

(a)                What are your expectations for the 3rdAFRICA EU Summit in 2010 and particularly on the progress of the Joint Africa – EU Strategy (JAES)? What will happen? Is it working?

(b)               Where does the EU stand knowing resource rich Africa have more dealings with China,Flag of the People's Republic of China.svgand other international players?

(c)                What could the EU do better in terms of strengthening the EU http://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.htmlAfrica Partnership?

(d)               What investment opportunities can resource rich Africa offer the EU?

(e)                What are your expectations of the EU presidency in relation to strengthen the EU AFRICA Partnership?

(f)                How effective is the Joint AFRICA EU Strategy (JAES) to achieve that objective?

(g)               What would the EU like to discuss at the upcoming AFRICA EU Summit? What are the key questions?

Council of the EU logo.svgCouncil of Europe logo (2013 revised version).png

Council of the EU logo.svgFruitful and fascinating telephone dialogue interesting dynamics. A telephone dialogue between okra eXpress, and a cabinet member of The Council of Europe. Spotlight on The Council of the Europe before the okra eXpress Credit: okra eXpress 

As part of the preparation leading up to the EU Africa Trade and Investment Outlook - An Evening of Business InspirationA spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event.  okra eXpress telephoned and entered into positive and fruiteful telephone dialogue with a cabinet member of The Council of the European Union, who subsequently sent okra eXpress an email and this was what he had to say. "Dear Ms. Oluwole, (okraeXpress), Congratulations for the impressive speakers list. The European Council had one clear success story in Africa last year. It was naturally the 3rd EU-Africa Summit. You'll find the digital link below". Email sent to okra eXpress from a Cabinet Member of The Council of the EuropeFruitful and fascinating telephone dialogue interesting dynamics. okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment.


Fruitful and fascinating telephone dialogue interesting dynamics. A telephone dialogue between okra eXpress, and a cabinet member of The African Union. Spotlight on The Africa Union before the okra eXpress Credit: okra eXpress 

Fruitful and fascinating telephone dialogue interesting dynamics. A telephone dialogue between okra eXpress, and Chargé d'affaires, representative of the African Union to the European Union, Permanent Mission in Brussels. Spotlight on The African Union okra eXpress. Credit: okra eXpress 

As part of the preparation leading up to the EU Africa Trade and Investment Outlook - An Evening of Business Inspirationspectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event  and held on 15 March 2011. okra eXpress telephonedand entered into positive and fruitful telephone dialogue with with Chargé d'affaires, representative of the African Union to the European Union Permanent Mission in Brussels, in January 2011, and this was what he said. "Madame Berthaokra eXpress, you are really helping us and we are really grateful. We will support your actions so that something can be achieved and I know we can achieve something together. Let us do it that way and let us work closely together". Spotlight on African Union's Chargé d'affaires, representative of the African Union to the European Union, Permanent Mission in Brussels. African Union positive telephone and fascinating dialogue with okra eXpress, January 2011). Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, in November 2015. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address existing and emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment.

Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics, Fas from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. Spotlight on STANDARD & POOR'S at the okra eXpress event okraeXpress event series on - Global Carbon & Energy Markets.

Speaking at the okra eXpress event on 22 June 2011, a spectacular okra eXpress event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress, held in Parliament, Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament, Westminster,in swanky London, the Managing Director, Global External Affairs, STANDARD &POOR'S told the okra eXpress audience, that, "If policy priority for clean energy is well-placed worldwide, investment in clear power assets alone could potentially reach $2.3 trillion over the 2010-20 period. Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event. okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light.

 At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment

Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. okra eXpress event series on - Global Carbon & Energy Markets.

 Right, good evening everyone and thank you for taking the time to listen to me. What I am going to talk about is just to give you a sort of overview on Energy marketsEnergy resources in Africa, West Africa in particular. And perhaps discuss a little bit around some of the opportunities and risks that we think in our work are likely to arise as events move forward and the sort of Carbon, Low Carbon Energy mix debate and if you like significant events and  changes going forward.. Now I was pretty taken aback when I sat in my sofa watching what was going on in Fukushima in Japan. And the very first thing that struck me was whereas one of the fall outs are of this event is likely to be acooling off of the appetites for nuclear power. There is also likely to be rather perverse side effect which is that the reliance on hydro carbons both in the short term and perhaps in the long term is likely to be reinforced quite significantlyIndeed since then, I think Japan has been increasing its use of hydro carbons for electricity production. I think Germany has decided to reduce or at least slow its pace of nuclear use. And I think it would be very difficult for policy makers in Western Europe at least to be able to generate much public support for nuclear. Which after all if you look at the economics it is something that generally tends to besubsidised to some extent by the State. Now, what does this mean for Africa? Well on the one hand, I think it means that Energy resources in Africa are going to be competed over even more significantly than they were before. I am from West Africa which is emerging now as a major source of new discoveries for oil and gasIndeed, we had, just a couple of years ago major discoveries off shore in Ghana... In Sierra Leone... there are companies that are reporting interests in drilling resource and ramping up their exploration in the hope of finding similar to what was found in Ghana’s lucrative oil fields.  It is not just restricted to Sierra Leone. Indeed we are also looking at next door in Liberia, in Guinea. Companies like US hydro dynamics areramping up their efforts to see if they can make similar discoveries. No doubt now that the political crisis has reduced or to some extent been abated, in Cote D’Ivoire. You are very likely going to see the government there trying to ramp up hydro carbon production. Gabon, another West African country, which up till a few years ago, has been seeing, more recently has been seeing decline in output from its oil fields. It is now considering pushing the technological envelop even further if you like trying to encourage companies to drill in I don’t know the science of it sub sea sands?, I don’t know, something like that. Generally, notwhere you would expect to go for oilPartly because it is quite messy, partly because it is expensive to get the oil out of thegroundOn top of that, we have Nigeria, the giant in West Africa which so far since it discovered oil has been focusing most of its efforts in revenue generation from oil. But what is not known is that Nigeria has one of the top ten gas reserves in the world. One of the very clearly stated objectives of the new government and indeed the last administration and this one, the newly elected one in Nigeria is a commitment towards commercialising its gas reserves. Most of the reserves the gas in Nigeria tends to be burnt. Especially the gas that is been produced, while oil is been drilled.  Associated gas coming out whilst they drill wells and produce oil. Most of that is been fled. It is been burntObviously environmental consequences. Now they are thinking about trying to establish some sort of capture mechanism. The problems that the Nigerians have had with this so far has been that there has not been the legislative or financial structure put forward by the government to make it interesting to companies to try and get them to invest in these pipelines in a sort of gathering infrastructure. The government is moving at a speed as we speak. There is legislation going through Nigeria’s Parliament which they hope will allow it to commercialise its gas reserves. There are talks of building a pipeline from Nigeria, going all the way up across North Africa to pipe gas into Europe. Now on the geo-political front this has also brought in interesting dynamics. Russia at the moment  largely controls a very large proportion of thegas that comes into Western Europe. Increasingly, observers are starting to notice that Russia is veryvery prepared where necessary to use gas and Energy as a foreign  policy tool. Some of its former satellite States are finding out now that if they step out of line in terms with what Russia wants, it would either “jerk up” the price of the gas to the extent that it would damage yourfiscal indicators or it would just cut off the supply {and leave Europe in winter darkness}. The Europeans, Western Europeans have generally taken their eye off the ball when it comes to Africa and West Africa generally. And after... Russia's  entered Nigeria and started to establish relationships with the government there to get a first  move advantage, on this huge gas reserves that Nigeria has, The European Commission belatedly went to try to see whether they could offer something. So there are geo-political implications there as well which brings me to the point of low carbon"All across Africa, there are increasing efforts now by governments to try and see if they could encourage investment into low carbon alternatives largely bio fuel. Now this presentsgreat opportunities. West Africa is not that far from Europe.  Our climatic conditions are ideal for producing some of these things like sugar cane, producing ethanol, and palm oil, and we use very little of our arable land. This I would caution comes with a lot of caveats, a lot of risks and I think anybody who is investing in low carbon or indeed governments in these regions that are looking to develop and encourage investment into low carbon industries in their countries should be very aware of.  One point is even though we are not using the majority of our arable land, it is not because we have used everything we need. We still don’t have food security, for example. It is a really perverse and crude way to put it. But I think it is a very stark illustration. What we do not want for example is to end up in a situation where people and cars are competing for food.  I say it very crudely, but if certain food stuffs get suddenly become very interesting for Energy production, start to become overpriced, because they are now being traded on Global Energy Markets,  while the locals, the low earning Africans are unable to afford it,  you are very likely to see social unrest. There is also the environmental implications. There is already a problem of deforestation in large parts of West Africa. You just have to look to perhaps, South East Asia, and places like that to see some of the implications of clearing large forests to put in palm oil plantations". 


okra eXpress conducted a swift straw poll from the okra eXpress audience. At the okra eXpress event on 22 June 2011. {It has been mentioned that the fact that the bio fuels are used is a sort of double edged sword. Some peoplewill say  yes, it is a green thing. This is something that would save the planet. But as it has been pointed out thatthere is competition for the poorest people of the world for their most basic food supplies. Do you think bio fuels are a green answerHands up if you do. And if you don’t? Now that is interesting. I would say that is 70% bio fuels are not the answer

Further sound bites from the audience on bio fuels at the okra eXpress event on 22 June 2011. “That is not just the bio fuels. If you suddenly start to have palm oil and sugarethanol, been traded on Global Commodity Markets in the way that oil and gas are at the moment,  it perverts the incentives for farmers who would chose to switch production from rice and cassava to more interesting and more funky things that they can get a lot more money for. So, bad enough that we don’t have food security already, it could actually end up reducing food security. 

okra eXpress said to the okra eXpress audience. Okay, hold your thoughts till the end. And we will have a little time for other questions at the end. But we have a packed schedule and I would now like to welcome the Head of Carbon Market China at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Thank you very much for making time for us tonight.  And blah, blah, blah will be looking at the whole issue of Carbon Market Trading and more questions from him in about few minutes

okra eXpress  accelerated on and pressed ahead with with the fascinating discussion at the okra eXpress event. The details are appended below. 

In and around 2007, 2008, when we had the food price crisis, many African governments either to have largely ignored or presented lukewarm attempts at improving agricultural production for food Security, suddenly realised that after a number of riots, a number of West Africa countries, Cameroon, and a number of places, have realised that food security is now a regime stability issue.  And especially after the events of North Africa, I think anything that brings people out in the streets, is something that worries the governments quite a lot. So what has been their policy response? It has been, well if you come and invest in agriculture, “Agriculture”, we would provide all sorts of incentives. We would give you a tax holiday, we would help you acquire land, we would give it to you rent free, we would let you  import your equipments duty free, we would do whatever we can to  help you increase investment. There is a danger with that. Even if the investment not strictly going into low carbon or bio fuels, even if it is going into food production. The drive seems to be towards getting large commercialized agricultural operations. Now yes, there are economies of scale, the larger you are, the more efficiency you can produce. Economics has taught us that. But, it sort of glosses over the human factor. Land ownershipland tenor systems in Africa are quite fragmented. Africans  don’t see land as an asset that you can trade in. Land is a question of identity to us. In my country in West Africa, and several parts Africa, you can’t actually go and buy land outside the cities. Land is owned communally. The Chief assigns a plot of Land to your family to farm. Should your father die, they will reassign it and you know. You cannot go and contract to take pieces of land. So indeed, the problems that the big agricultural investors who are looking at coming into West Africa, are finding is that the governments sometimes have had to be slightly heavy handed, in forcing people to give up land to allow them to do these large scale agricultural projects. Now, unless these projects come within a sort of holistic approach, that aim to increase production from small scale farmers, increase their output and improve food security, and their incomes, you are likely to see  civil unrest around some of these large agricultural projects

I would like to see responsible investments, into large scale agriculture including something like if we have a massive farm around here, all the small holders around it would get some sort of support, be that part funded by the governments, part funded by the investors, part funded by the development finance institutions, that would help these farmers bring back onto the efficiency that these large agricultural projects. I’m talking about helping them better understand farming methods that would improve their yields. I’m  talking about helping with seeds and fertilizers. I’m  talking about helping them with finance that would help them to go out to produce which is at the moment is a major problem for them.The banks are not necessary prepared to lend partly because they do not have a trading history. Partly because they don’t have collateral, partly because the interest rates that banks charge are ridiculous. I mean I work for an  investment fund that manages a billion dollars, and I am responsible primarily for identifying companies to buy, African stocks and shares to  invest in, projects to do, and sometimes, I am pretty taken aback when I go to a tiny African country, or even larger African country like Nigeria, and find banks charging something like 18, 20% interest, not just that, they want their money within a year. If you look at what employs the majority of people in larger, in most African countries, you are very likely to come up with agriculture as the key thing. But if you look at the lending, the loan books of banks, what proportion of their lending goes to agriculture? You would be appalled to find out that in some places, it is as low as 2% in an economy that has 80% or 60 – 70% of people being employed by agriculture. So I think while the implications of recent events in Japan are likely to mean that the place of low carbon in the Energy mix is now going to have to be taken slightly more seriously. If not because the economics are right. If not because the governments are not prepared to do it, but simply because public sentiment is moving quite shapely in the opposite direction. Now this presents opportunities for us. But of course, but we have to take a very, very responsible approach to it. Because there is a huge risks that it might actually end up beckoning the people that it is supposed to benefit. .  I would stop here. I hope the few things that I have had to say have given you something to think about and I am happy to take any questions you have. Thank youPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light.

                            

 
 

Let's talk about sound bites from Standard & Poor’s at the okra eXpress event on 22 June 2011

Delivering his keynote speech in Parliament, Portcullis House, Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament on 22 June 2011, an event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress,  Standard & Poor’s, Managing Director and Head of Global Carbon Markets, addressed the okra eXpress audience and this was what he said. 

Okay let me just get my presentation up. Here we go. Good. Right. Good Evening, My name is blab la bla, from Standard and Poor’s. Standard and Poor’s credit ratings agency as okra eXpress said if you haven’t heard of us I don’t know where you have been for the past three years. My area of responsibility is to look at the area of the environmental finance markets and what’s going on in 

  • Climate Change
  • Carbon and so on

And what I want to give you is a really quick overview of the world of climate change financing as we see it as the moment. And this really is can be describes as a good and bad, and the ugly. Em… it’s a good story, here and there is also a lot of challenges and there is also a lot of challenge of uncertainties which are currently abound. So we don’t  know what real is going to happen. But let’s see what we can come up with. First of all the good news I suppose in termsof what is going on in the clean energy world. Last year, according to figures coming from our colleagues at Bloomberg Energy Finance and others it was a record year of investment and the amount of dollars going into clean technology, you know, renewable energy and so on, $243  billion, 30% increase, on previous year in 2010 going into the clean energy world. Europe saw investment double up nearly $100 billion, China grew by 40%, and US grew as well. In fact the US has seen a staggering amount of money going in and also from government sources. It was not just from private capital. The same goes for Latin America. So the overall, the picture in terms of investment, in terms of money going into this area is outstanding. And if we believe what the Pew centre says, and potentially, the amount of investment going into clean energy increased to $2.3 trillion that’s trillion dollars, between the decades 2010 -2020. So there is a lot of potential here. And the story so far could could be seen to be fairly good. Another aspect of the good, is that there is a mountain or a wall of capital of cash there to invest in areas such as:

  • Renewable
  • And clean energy

And a lot of these capitals are not coming from governments they are potentially coming from the private sector. The Capital Markets essentially, institutional investors. So if we look at pension funds, Insurance firms and mutual funds alone… the institutional funds and private pension funds are over $60 trillion of assets under management. So there is huge amount of money there looking for home constantly turning over looking for areas to invest in. And we know that there is appetite out there for investing in green in the economy.  The prolem is that a lot of these investments are seen as too risky. And the sort of the cost of capital for putting money into these investments is undesirably high. So we need to ask ourselves why that is thee? Let’s look at what’s been happening so far? This is based on some study done by blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah, which  came out earlier this year. They estimated that around, up to 40% of institutional investments assets under management are dedicated to fixed income debts. So that's basically bonds, and other forms of debts securities, which are profitably traded in the capital markets so the super effort... is to try to direct that amount of money towards low carbon economy. But there are barriers.And those barriers have come about for a number of reasons which I will touch upon in a second. But let's first of all start with what we see currently in markets. In terms of the credit ratings scale, basically an indication of the credit quality. We see a  spectrum of investments and financing structures in the markets ranging from the so called Green Bonds, which are rated triple AAA, and they are triple AAA, because they are backed by institutional such as the world Bank, or the IFC, the EIB, and so on and that’s a growing market. Last year, alone there was nearly $12 billion, of Green Bonds… this year roughly the same, up to $15billion and up to 2015 there is the expectation it could be up to $30 billion per annum of Green Bonds.... So it’s a fairly sizeable market and one which will grow even further. If you go down the credit scale, down to what is known as the sweet spot for I suppose risk transfer which is around the single “A” area. Now just bear in mind that triple AAA has a very low risk. Less than 1% default expectation over ten years. Single “A” around 5% over ten years. So it’s still fairly low risk. Now the appetite for single “A” debt is still fairly high. But there is very little in the area of low carbon projects or renewable energy projects in that space. In fact, what we have seen to date is more in the triple “B” spectrum and below. Now if you go below triple “B” you are more on a speculative ground, sometime known as junk bonds or high yield bonds.. The risk of defaults commodiously higher. We are talking up to 60, 70% default risk over a period of ten years or even it could go up to two years and it is much higher.. We are looking at a much riskier asset class. And that’s where, unfortunately, these low carbon projects tend to fall into. The ones that had been rated by Standard and Poor’s are the wind projects in Germany and France. And unfortunately, where they started the investment grid has gone down the scale. Mainly due to over optimistic assumptions about the resource risks. How much wind there will be and how that would affect the cash flows? So the future of Green Bonds going forward is potentially huge.  Again  that study  by blah, blah, blah, and blah, blah, blah, estimating $1.4 trillion to be unlocked through asset backed and secure types transactions. But to get that stage, we have got to see a substantial derisking of this area. Now talking about risk, and this is something which is as based on a study we put out last year. We held a round table here in London. We invited institutions, investors, policy makers, representatives from the governments and try to come up with a risk matrix. And what were the key challenges, the key obstacles that investors saw in the low carbon markets, impacts, probability matrix and I know  that a lot of people in business schools, this will appeal to them, now four by four or two by two matrix. The idea here is that a study of what are the key risks that you should try and alleviate to try and open up to private sector capital. Now one of the key issues is however you want to call it, a policy risk, a longevity risk is essentially tied up to risks that policy risk can happen and there is too much volatility in the marketInvestors, particularly fixed incomeinvestors, want stable, long term cash flows, very little in terms of volatility. That’s not what the carbon market; it’s not what the renewable energy or the green bond markets other than the guaranteed ones produce at the moment. There is a real need for some more work to be done on policy stability.. If we see what happened in Europe alone where there had been retroactive changes to feeding tariffs in some countries, maybe for good reason. But nonetheless, that signals to the market that they can’t basically put their money in green bonds, without having their risk of there being, basically the rug been pulled from under their feet at a later stage. So where does that leave us with longer term climate financing? Now is a huge challenge here. The United Nations framework Conventional climate change in their meetings, over the past few years, in Copenhagen and in Cancun, come to a pledged agreement of raising a hundred million dollars per annum between now and 2020. Where is that money coming from? If not from the private sector? Well what we need to see really is more structure which allow the leveraging up of public sector funds coming from developed countries, into capital markets, instruments used by developing countries. Now there is a duff of proposals in this area at the moment. Here is an example of one, one of the few which does exist, which has been put forward by the International Mission Trading Association. 

Halt: During his talk at the okra eXpress event, the formidable speaker and industry expert, the Managing Director from Standard and Poor ‘displayed on the screen and shared with the with the okra eXpress audience, a slide which made interesting and distinctive reading. okra eXpress pressed ahead with the discussion. The contents of the fascinating discussions are appended here under. 

It’s a structure which tries to capitalise on the “so called”, NAMA concept. NAMA stand for National Appropriate Mitigation Action. So it's really a way of reducing carbon in a developing country across maybe a sector for example the power station in China. If you can get a certain reduction and get it approved by the tion and get it approved by the UNF tripple CCC, then you are eligible for financing. That’s basically what NAMA is. The problem is that, where is that financing going to come from? Now the capital markets can be used. But not in a hap hazard way. They need to be structured. There need to be certain elements of governance put in place to stop countries from over borrowing and worsening their deficits. We all know what happens when we end up with huge budget deficits. So the idea behind this concept is to make sure that there is money coming in and leveraging up on the public sector funds and pledges being made through capital market borrowing. Putting a cap on that borrowing by the…. by something called credits for borrowing or permits to borrow and then at the same time, you know making sure that they are tied to real carbon reduction emission under the NAMA concepts. So we are not here to propose this or support it. I’m just saying, this is an example. There needs to be plenty more example out there put in the face ofinvestors. So they can sort of see how to allocate the risk. So they can then mobilise their money to try and solve the climate change debate. So that's all I really wanted to say. And I will be happy to take on questions as we proceed. Thank you very muchStandard & Poor’s, Managing Director, Managing Director and Head of Global Carbon Marketswas speaking at the okra eXpress event, inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress. PunchySound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress event.okra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light

  1. Question from the okra eXpress presenter:  I was particularly struck by that figure of 85% of projects in this area being dependent upon subsidies. Given the current political climate. Surely, it has to be a very scary number.  Even for the most triple AAA of Green Bonds.
  2. Answer from the global formidable industry experts: This real problem. In fact we are going to be putting out a report on this particular issue in a couple of weeks. The whole sustainability of the regulatory framework for renewable energy or clean energy  in general. It is clear that you know what's happened over the past year especially as sovereign government have found themselves in dire straits, having huge deficits which they can’t manage and potentially defaulting on their sovereign debt. They are looking for ways of cutting back on expenditure and implementing austerity packages. One way is to revisit subsidies that they have pledged historically to renewable mechanisms. You know what happened in Spain, it has happened in Italy, it has happened in the Czech Republic, you know in fact in the UK. Only last week we saw a change in the feeding tariff regime for small scale solar. So this a problem which is wide spread. And I think the key issue here, if you are going into investment as an investor and you are relying on the subsidies for the long term. I think you going to think very hard whether that is going to happen. Yes, maybe five years, but over the long term you have got to really look at different scenarios, where that subsidy regime will change and that will affect your investment.   
  3. Question from the okra eXpress presenter: Very briefly  and then I’ll take some questions from the floor. Surely, one potential solution to this is consecration.  Because if you package them up and simply hand it back again and say thiswill be the last of the bonds that don’t get paid back. It does give a bit of security. Can that help companies with a goodideas raise finance.
  4. Answer from the global formidable industry experts: Ssecuritisation has a financing technique, I think can help. Em… it needs to be looked at the point of view that it provides the risk capital. The bottom layer of equity…. Which ultimately could be used up if things start to deteriorate in terms of credit quality. Now there are plans, for example, the European Project Bond initiatives where the European Investment Bank as I was saying will come and provide the risk capital. In the UK, the Green Investment Bank is thinking of doing something similar. So yes, securitisation techniques are applicable, but it need to be very clear line of who takes the bottom slice, the high risk element.
  5. Question from the okra eXpress presenter: Questions from the floor. In that case that gives me the ground to ask another question. Why is it that companies that are looking to raise finance for these projects struggle so much. I mean that is always when I, as a journalist interviewed people who have what it sounds to me like a great idea event that Desertec power station that I mentioned earlier. Even in the boom times, it was access to finance. It is still not taken seriously by the big institutions.
  6. Answer from the global formidable industry: Well, there are two fundamental problems. One is the fundamental economics that a lot of these projects just don’t work and they have to rely on some sort of support mechanism, usually subsidies, that we have talked about. And then related to that problem is the policies and uncertainties. Because if you are relying on a support mechanism, or some form of subsidy to make a project economic there is always the risks as I have said earlier the rug could be pulled out from under your feet. And as such that risk is acting as a deterrent to investors or banks or capital market investors. So those are the key issues, basically economics and policies uncertainty.
  7. Question from the okra eXpress presenter: And I think, obviously with Black swans you can’t identify them in advance. And that’s the nature of Black Swans. But the Black Swans which you have identified tonight is political risk. That is the biggest risk facing so many.
  8. Answer from the global formidable industry experts: Well yes, I mean a year ago, who would have predicted what has been happening in North Africa and the Middle East. I mean who would have predicted the Fukishima accident? Some of those events are geopolitical. Some of them are technological and some of them are just natural disasters... But the unpredictable comes in and it changes the landscape to a huge degree. It makes things even worse than what they were before.
  9. Question from the okra eXpress presenter: Ladies and gentlemen Managing Director and Head of Global Carbon Energy, at Standard and Poor’s. Sound bites from the okra eXpress eventPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, on 22 June 2011. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpressputs on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment.

Punchy Sound bites - Interesting Dynamics from the okra eXpres event on 10 February 2010. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress

Sound bites from the okra eXpress event on 10 February 2010Yes, I don’t represent a government. I am not a bureaucrat. My job is, well I don’t say this in a derogatory way.  Just as a statement of fact. My job is to advice companies that invest in Africa on the risks that they are likely to face with their investments. So if you like I inhabit the space where ideally all of these initiatives bear fruits and the benefits would be seen in terms of developments and trades and what have you. Now my view is that the EU... http://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.html(under the leadership and direction of its President, Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, (in office, 22 November 2004 - 31 October 2014,) on your watchJose Manuel Barroso, EU-kommissionens ordforande, under ett mote i Folketinget 2006-05-19 (1).jpgneeds to define what it wants its relationship with Africa to be. My view is that the EU has been caught napping as far as its relationships with Africa. Through the 90’s it was not very bothered. Now that China and India and Brazil and Russia are moving in, the EU has decided to move. But the EU should have a first mover advantage in Africa because the EU has had a very long engagement with Africa. Now the Joint –Africa EU Strategy partnership or what we call it is something that I will call paralysis by analysis. It has been in place for effectively two years if you like and we are still talking about redefining its objectives and redefining its goals. Now in these last two years, I would invite anybody to observe the trade statistics that define the relationship between China and Africa, define the relationship between Africa and IndiaBrazilRussia and the number of these other countries. So I think fundamentally what the EU has to do is decide how it wants to engage with Africa and once it has decided that, to come up with policies that work. Now part of the agenda that this programme looks at is strengthen trade integration and infrastructure partnership between Africa and Europe so I will delve into that a little bit more. Let’s consider the economic partnership agreements that Europe was supposed to sign with Africa and was supposed to define a new sort of economic trade relationship. Now the actual effect of those economic partnership agreements which were quite contentious by the way was that they serve to undermine what semblance we have towards integration already in Africa. If you take East Africa community, if you take West African Regional Economic groupings, you will find out that the EU tried to break apart the common approach towards negotiating trade deals with Europe by African countries and then instead sort to go with bilateral trade deals. It has weakened the integration that these groups have been going on so far. Now there are very serious implications for this. In terms of security of course there is. In terms of Energy security, in terms of natural resources, you will find that China is making very very strategic investments into Africa that is securing control of African natural resources which let’s not forget are going to be very crucial over the next twenty, thirty years to global development for its own exclusive preserve. First it was taking just entire concession. Now it has started to do global natural resource deals with countries like Guinea and what have you. As you go forward, European companies are going to be suffering as a result of these deals. Now the practical implications in terms of geopolitics are very easy to see.  Let’s not forget that it was African support that led to China, mostly African support that lead to China been recognized and granted a place in the United Nations Security Councilall those years backBut if you look

  • How many countries in Africa recognize Taiwan? Not that many.
  • How many countries in Africa have lined up on the side of Europe when they discuss at Kyoto or other places, on climate change  or what have you. You are very quickly going to find out that over the next five to ten years that Africa is lining itself with BrazilRussiaIndia and China and not so much with the European UnionThis has implications for security. This has implications for economic security and physical security. And I think that Europe has to get its acts together and decide on how it wants to deal with Africa and get on with it. The Africans if you notice those who are involved in the EU Africa strategy will notice that very few of the very senior top level African diplomats are allowing themselves to get involved. Well if there is a programme for integration of trade and economic partnerships and what have you. Why is it that most of the important trade deals regarding Europe and Africa are not discusses there. They are discussed elsewhere. As a result the Africans don’t bother to send the people that matter there. Infrastructure is one of the things that have been slightly more progressive in all these goals that they have been talking about. However, I went to the European investment Bank website today to research my talk. In the last two years, 2007, 2009, they had committed Euro 96 million to infrastructure in AfricaOkay, yes, just a couple of days ago, they announced another $800 million plan to fund a power pool in some parts of Africa. However, if you just oppose that to how much China has spent on infrastructure in Africa? The figures look ridiculous. I think Europe needs to get its act together and needs to decide what it wants to do with Africa. And once it’s done it. It needs to get a head with it. Thank youPunchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, in February 2010. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpressputs on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment. together we will continue to press ahead
Punchy Sound bites interesting dynamics from the okra eXpress event, in February, 2008, held at the Foreign Press Association, the Former home of the British Prime Minster the now-deceased William Gladstone, (29 December 1809 - 19 May 1898) a handsome building in Pall Mall,IMGP4352Mayfairswanky London. A spectacular okra eXpress event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventA highly respected BritishThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011economist, formally lecturer at Harvard University who is also is a diplomat at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Logo.svg
 Thumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011(British Foreign office)swanky London attended the okra eXpress event in February 2008 and this was what she said.  Sub-Saharan Africa is growing strongly.  A continent that in the 1990s suffered the ignominy of zero growth, has reversed that trend since the beginning of this decade, and grown in tandem with other developing regions.  This growth is widespread, not just confined to oil exporters.  Even fragile states are growing steadily.  The UKThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011and EUhttp://www.euro.cauce.org/en/countries.html view this as positive, both for Africans – growth is the best way to alleviate poverty and improve living standards – and also for ourselves.  An emerging AfricaAfrica (orthographic projection).svg  is a continent with which we can do business. In the last six years, private capital has overtaken aid as the primary source of financing in Africa.  The largest proportion of that is foreign direct investment. In their search for higher yields, foreign investors have found that an Africa with robust growth and an improved investment climate has become more attractive. Sixteen African countries now have sovereign credit ratings – though admittedly only three are “investment grade” (Botswana, South Africa and Tunisia). In 2007 Ghana became the first sub-Saharan country, other than South Africa and Mauritius, to issue a Eurobond. The figures are impressive: 
  • Net FDI into Sub-Saharan Africa from the rest of the world has more than doubled since 2000.
  • Net portfolio equity flows have increased threefold.
  • Remittances are also increasing—in 2006, $9.3 billion flowed into Sub-Saharan Africa.

This growth has reduced poverty.  Between 1984 and 2004, almost every country in sub-Saharan Africa that experienced sustained growth in income per capita of over 1% a year reduced poverty.  However, there is still much to do.  As the mid-term review of the Millennium Development Goals showed last year, there are still far too many people living on less than $1 a day in Africa.  Growth is often unequal.  There is a risk that private investment could simply drive enclave developments in the oil and natural resource sectors.  Those who had looked only at Kenya’s overall growth figures – well above 5% - would have missed the fact that, as revealed by the last AfroBarometer survey before the recent crisis, Kenyans’ number one concern was unemployment. As Lord Dot. Dot. Dot. has said, ‘a successful international business in Africa needs an in-built social dimension as a key part of any long-term business strategy’. This is about working with stakeholders - suppliers, employees and political leaders – to deliver for citizens who are also future customers with purchasing power.There are many positive stories about businesses taking imaginative approaches that support broad-based growth in Africa: In telecoms, Africa has skipped the fixed landlines stage of development, and moved straight to mobile phones.  75% of all telephones in Africa are mobile.  These have provided strong benefits to African governments – CelTel is the biggest tax payer in the DRC.  The highly competitive industry has created tends of thousands of jobs across the continent.  And mobiles are being used in creative ways, for example to transfer money and buy goods – revolutionary in a continent where most people do not have a bank account         Introducing small African suppliers to big global markets by indigenising supply chains can also yield huge benefits. Take the example of SAB Miller who sourced and worked with local farmers in Zambia to develop sorghum crop for their production of Eagle beer. This sort of approach creates local employment, and helps provide a degree of income predictability for farmers working within the supply chainAs we will hear from other speakers this morning, European businesses are well placed to take advantage of these opportunitiesThe EU too is committed to supporting African growth.  On 1st January this year, new trade agreements – known as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – between the European Union and 35 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific region came into effect. These agreements allow these 35 countries better access to European markets by removing barriers that previously existed, and therefore will help to encourage trade and economic growth in some of the world’s poorest regions. Trade and development is at the heart of the EU-Africa relationship. The EPAs that have been agreed will be pivotal in providing better access to EU markets and thus helping Africa to trade its way out of poverty. Duty free and quota free access to the EU market brings important and immediate benefits for Africa. For instance, Lesotho’s clothing industry now enjoys better Rules of Origin than the US’ Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) scheme. This provides very real improvements to their commercial opportunities in the EU. It is also true of a range of products of importance to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries – bananas, sugar, beef, to name a few. Trade is important to Africa: exports accounted for 35% of African GDP in 2006. Trade is also growing: exports were 30% higher in 2006 than in 2000. Economic Partnership Agreements should work to further increase African exports, and provide more jobs in African regions. Aid for trade is vital in helping developing countries increase their capacity to trade. The EU has pledged to raise its spending on aid for trade to Є2 billion a year from 2010 – Є1 billion from the European Commission and Є1 billion from Member States. The UK has committed to increase its support for trade policy and private sector development to £100 million per annum by 2010. But, as important as access to the EU is for obvious reasons - it is a rich large market - efforts to enhance regional integration are equally important, the gradual opening of markets amongst developing and least developed countries. The Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement has established one model of regions working together to get a deal that provides real economic benefits to their countries. Over the coming months EU and ACP partners will be working together to set out how we are going to move forward towards the stronger regional framework that was envisioned in the 2000 Cotonou Agreement that initiated the EPA process. Economic Partnership Agreements have marked a decisive development in the nature of EU-ACP relations. But, we must remember that these agreements are the first step in a longer process. All the agreements signed now allow other countries to join at a later date and we hope that more will do so. The UK Government will continue to work to make sure that trade brings benefits to the poor and serves as a real tool for growth and poverty reduction. EPAs should contribute positively to existing regional trade initiatives and to furthering regional integration. Beyond trade and development, the EU is increasingly working in partnership with Africa to address global issues, including peace and security, climate change, and human rights. In December 2005, the EU explicitly acknowledged the importance of its strategic relationship with Africa by adopting its first Africa strategy. That strategy set out what the EU could do to support Africa, for example, in its achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, but also recognised the need for the EU to develop its relationship with Africa in partnership with African states and the African Union. In December 2007 at the Second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon that partnership was made explicit. The Summit Declaration confirmed that the EU and Africa would, build a new strategic political partnership for the future, overcoming the traditional donor-recipient relationship and building on common values and goals.’  The Summit adopted a Joint EU-Africa Strategy with an Action Plan to guide implementation over the three years until the next Summit in 2010. The Plan comprises 8 Partnerships covering the

  • Peace and Security
  • Good Governance and
  • Human Rights; Trade
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • Energy
  • Climate Change
  • Migration and
  • Science and Technology.

A new EU Delegation to the African Union, opened in Addis Ababa this year, will support implementation of the partnerships and the development of the EU-AU relationship. The challenge for both European and African states is to ensure that the partnerships they enter into, whether on trade, development or other issues of common concern, really deliver for European and African citizens. The UKThumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011is actively involved in this process. Punchy Sound bites presented by a highly respected British economist, formally lecturer at Harvard University who is also a diplomat at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Logo.svg

 Thumbnail for version as of 04:05, 3 October 2011 speaking at the the okra eXpress event, in February 2008. A spectacular event inspired, project managed and hosted by okra eXpress eventokra eXpress puts on knowledge networking events for emerging and well-established markets generally focussing on their economy, aimed at better enhancing their visibility and positioning them in a clearer light. At okra eXpress, we foster and promote foreign direct investment, and we take steps to address emerging challenges affecting today’s diverse global environment