Stories written by Servaas van den Bosch

Southern African Trade Talks Stall, and the Clock Ticks

Southern Africa has to settle in for another round of negotiations after talks on Economic Partnership Agreements failed to produce results in June, bringing countries closer to losing access to the lucrative European Union market.

Rail networks in Africa remain underdeveloped only 10 percent of transport goes via rail. Here a train crossing the Namib Desert. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

South Africa No Longer the Gateway to the Continent

South Africa’s membership of the bloc of leading emerging economies and its unique position in Africa heralded the country’s role as a gateway into the African continent. However, trade experts question whether it can live up to this position as investors begin to increasingly look towards other African markets.

In a glass case two exhibited skulls are a morbid reminder of the horror of a century ago. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: German Extermination Marginalised Ethnic Groups

Over 100 years after the attempted extermination of Namibia’s indigenous men, women and children, 20 of the 300 skulls that had been stolen for racial research have finally returned home from Germany.

Namibia is looking to diversify its beef exports to countries in the global South in order to lessen its dependency on the lucrative EU market. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Europe Puts Foot Down on EPAs

Botswana and Namibia are set to lose preferential access to the European Union, which wants African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to sign controversial free trade agreements within two years or face potential loss of market access to the 27-member EU bloc.

Seventy percent of Namibians depend on agriculture.  Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Climate Change Will Impede North-South Trade

Climate change is increasingly playing a role in North-South trade, as carbon emissions are being used as an excuse to protect markets, with poorer countries likely to lose out.

European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

Namibia Wants to Conclude Talks and Sign EPAs

European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht made a pit-stop in Windhoek to appease concerns over a troublesome economic partnership agreement (EPA) ahead of the Africa-European Union summit in South Africa.

Few fisheries products reach landlocked countries in the region because of infrastructure development and trade barriers.  Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Southern Africa Has its Work Cut Out

Southern Africa has moved forward with regional economic integration, but challenges remain, say trade experts.

Chief Economist of the World Trade Organization Patrick Low says preferential trade agreements are less about tariffs. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Africa Still the Odd One Out

While globally trade agreements are more and more about linking production chains between countries and continents, Africa remains locked in a struggle to overcome the colonial legacy of fragmentation, trade experts say.

A cavalier attitude has seen South African businesses and services spreading across the continent.  Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Free Trade in Africa, For Better or Worse?

It is not certain that an African free trade area will further regional integration or deepen the existing inequality between countries.

The status of Namibia's fishing industry and the country's 200 nautical miles Economic Exclusive Zone remains a sticking point with the EU. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE-NAMIBIA: No Progress on Access to European Markets

Weariness surrounds the negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) regulating trade access between Southern Africa and the European Union (EU).

Victoria Mulunga is a participant in the CES programme in Namibia. Women take an interest in topics like conservation farming and drip irrigation. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

Women Keen to Ease Greenhouse Effect on Their Ability to Provide

A successful entrepreneurial programme in the north of Namibia that infuses farming practices with gender-responsive environmentalism may serve as a model for other countries on the African continent.

TRADE: Brazil and Africa Ready to Do the Samba

African trade with India and China flourished over the past decade but, with unemployment rising and industrialisation failing to take hold, cracks are appearing in Africa’s much-vaunted "Look East" doctrine. Meanwhile, from across the Atlantic, Brazil is making inroads into the continent.

Registered nurse George du Plessis takes a patient's blood pressure in the mobile clinic. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: Investing in the Health of Farm Workers

In one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet, people travel up to 200 kilometres in the simmering heat to see a nurse or get basic medication.

Windmills in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: Sound Policy Key to Renewable Energy

A radical rethink of current energy policy can cut South Africa's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. More than that - after an initial spike in investment - South Africans four decades down the line would pay 23 billion dollars per year less for their electricity compared to business as usual.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Little ‘Extraordinary’ About Latest SADC Summit

Inaction marked the Extraordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community heads of state in Windhoek this weekend, despite an agenda covering Zimbabwe elections, political deadlock in Madagascar, the suspension of the regional court and allegations of corruption within SADC itself.

Zimbabwean war veterans hold a make-shift sign directing people to plots on a seized farm. Credit:  Fidelis Zvomuya/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Afeared of Its Own Tribunal

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) faces several awkward problems at the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State scheduled for May 20-21.

"Sex and Chocolate" delivers messages about sexual health in the context of real pressures on young people. Credit: Rachel Coomer/LAC/IPS

NAMIBIA: Feature Film Explores Realities of Safer Sex

A new film explores the real complexities of relationships for young people in Namibia, and the effects of gender inequality and culture on the choices people make about their sexual lives.

l-r: Tarah Shaanika (NCCI), Paulina Elago (Trade Mark East Africa) and Paul Kalenga, trade policy advisor, SADC Secretariat. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

AFRICA: Tripartite Free Trade Plan May Repeat Previous Mistakes

With regional wheels rolling to put in place the envisaged grand tripartite free trade area (FTA), questions have arisen about whether it would be viable and increase competitiveness.

Swaziland's autocratic King Mswati III, photographed at SACU's centenary in Windhoek in 2010, has come under attack for being a spendthrift. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: Southern African Rulers Eyeing the Money, Not Development

A new revenue sharing formula in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) could boost development but has met with resistance from the governments of poorer states in the sub-region that are interested in "just getting the money".

Heaviest Ever Floods in Northern Namibia

North-central Namibia is experiencing the heaviest floods ever recorded, but unlike in previous years, the area is fully prepared.

Developmental challenges keep Southern African markets small, which impinges on the region's ability to benefit from IBSA. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

Questions Abound Over Whether IBSA and BRICS Can be Complementary

The IBSA Dialogue Forum, a South-South alliance of India, Brazil and South Africa, could be better suited to the needs of Southern Africa for South-South cooperation than the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) loose alliance of emerging economies. But Southern Africa will have to beef up its markets to truly benefit.

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