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The East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA) expects tea exports to Afghanistan to continue so long as Afghanistan’s financial services remain operational./Getty Images

 

Kenya's tea exports to Afghanistan have remained steady despite the recent Taliban takeover of the country.

Tea accounts for 30 percent of the East African country's exports to Afghanistan, with statistics indicating that Kabul purchased about $18 million worth of Kenyan tea in 2020.

Edward Mudibo, the Managing Director of the East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA), told CGTN he expects the exports to continue so long as Afghanistan's financial services remain operational.

"If the financial services continue to operate, we don't see any decline for tea, that's the situation right now and even in a situation of turmoil still the citizens continue taking tea, that's the consolation we have," he said.

The Taliban made a fast takeover of Kabul last month as the U.S. and allied forces evacuated their troops to end a 20-year presence in the country.

The group on Tuesday announced the formation of an interim government for Afghanistan.

The developments raised fears of possible disruptions of most aspects, including trade.

Speaking to CGTN earlier however, a Taliban spokesperson, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, said he expected the new administration to maintain cooperation with interested nations and regions, including Africa.

"We need (the cooperation) in all sectors. It is in the education sector, infrastructure, agriculture, industries, especially natural resources. We have huge (reserves) of natural resources in Afghanistan. There is a need for investment in those resources," said Shaheen.

The formation of the new government now shifts focus to rebuilding the country and ensuring a return to complete calm and order, as well as building relations with foreign nations.

As normalcy returns, Kenya will be among many countries globally that will be looking to strengthen trade relations. - CGTN

President Kersti Kaljulaid's state visit to Kenya. (Photo: Raigo Pajula / presidendi kantselei)

 

President Kersti Kaljulaid became Estonia's first head of state to make an offical visit to Kenya this week to promote "business diplomacy" between the two countries.

"Nairobi is the heart of economic life for the entire African continent and many Estonian companies want to expand their reach here," said Kristel Engman, from the foreign relations department of the President's Office.

Engman said Kenya is also one of the main centers of "diplomatic life in Africa" and hosts the headquarters of several international agencies. The country has also expressed interest in Estonia's education system, e-government and digital experience.

Writing on social media on Thursday after a meeting with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kaljulaid said: "There's a great potential for our countries, people & businesses in this cooperation."

On Thursday, foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) met with the foreign minister of Kenya Raychelle Awuor Omamo.

The pair discussed bilateral relations, cooperation in the UN Security Council, the COVID-19 situation in Africa and the world, and digital options for supporting developing societies. 

"We are fellow members with Kenya at the UN Security Council until the end of this year and see great potential for cooperation in international peace and security as well as digital development and economic cooperation. We also have a shared interest in education cooperation," Liimets said. 

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson (Reform) and a business delegation have also accompanied Kaljuaid on the trip, which lasts until Sunday. - Helen Wright, ERR News

 

The forests of Uganda are under severe threat. They are being lost at a rate of almost 2% a year and from 1990 to 2010, the country lost 31% of its forest cover – a reduction from 19,000 square miles to just 14,000.

Deforestation has been caused by a rapid population increase, climate change, agricultural expansion, logging, weak legal protections, and poor enforcement of the laws that are on the books.

However, Uganda is replanting some of its deforested areas thanks to the help of people who live 9,000 miles away.

In 2008, a program was launched in Wales to plant a new tree in the country every time a child is born or adopted. The program was named Size of Wales because the phrase is often used to describe large areas that have been deforested around the globe.

The was so successful that it hit its target goal of planting 7,700 square miles of new forest by 2013. In 2018, organizers decided they would keep the program going with a new goal. This time they would protect an area twice the size of Wales.

They chose Uganda because of its threatened forests, focusing specifically on an area known as Mbale in the eastern region of the country. Mbale is a large hilly area that is heavily deforested and suffers from irregular downpours that cause potentially fatal landslides.

Size of Wales works with the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise to distribute free tree seedlings to local villagers. The trees protect the villagers by helping to prevent soil erosion and their fruit provides a reliable source of food and extra income.

The program has supported 1600 families in 30 villages as well as five free-trade coffee plantations.

"For more than a decade Wales has developed and deepened its community-based links with sub-Sahara countries in Africa," Jane Hutt, Wales' Minister of Social justice, said in a statement. "This mutually-beneficial approach has long supported sustainable development and solidarity, of which we can be justifiably proud."

The program which is funded by the long-standing Wales and Africa program has already planted 15 million trees. Now organizers have pledged to plant 3 million a year in Uganda to "support community resilience in the face of environmental challenges."

"The Mbale Trees initiative is an example of what can be achieved when nations work together to combat climate change," Julie James, Minister for Climate Change in Wales, said in a statement. "Our pledge to plant three million more every year for the next five years will deliver substantial benefits, not just for those within Mbale, but it will have a considerable global impact on climate change."

Now whenever a child is born or adopted in Wales, two trees are planted, one in their home country and another in Uganda. Every child that helped contribute to the tree planting is given a certificate made of recycled paper that shows they helped make this incredible environmental accomplishment. - Tod Perry, Upworthy

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