A recent conference on business and investment opportunities in Africa organized by the Czech Foreign Ministry, focused on innovative forms of investment and modern technologies. Titled “Creative, Innovative and Participative Africa” the event brought together ambassadors and business representatives, underlining Czech interest in establishing new partnerships and projects on the African continent. I spoke to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa about the opportunities opening up, the risks involved and what the Czech government is doing to help
Czech companies doing business in high-risk markets will now be able to apply for up to CZK 25 million in funding thanks to a new foreign ministry scheme unveiled on Tuesday. It says the plan is the first of its kind in Central Europe and follows the EU’s shift in focus from foreign aid to investment.
Officials seized almost 9,000 fake brand-name items during a raid at Prague’s Vietnamese market, Sapa, this week, a customs official confirmed on Friday. According to the calculations, the items represented potential losses equalling a total of almost 14 million crowns (the equivalent of just under 540,000 euros). Fake goods seized carried the logos of a number of international brands including Adidas, Gucci, Ray-Ban and Rolex.
Czech police are hunting for a former top banker who is suspected of selling forged painting to a series of VIP clients. Police believe the former banker, who used to deal with VIP clients at Komerční Banka, has probably fled abroad. He is believed by police to have successfully sold modern paintings valued at at least 30 million crowns and was in the process of selling more, with a value of around 53 million, with another 40 million crowns of paintings in stock for later deals. Among those duped by the banker is the Czech actress Jiřina Bohdalová. Police say the suspected con man was last spotted in Istanbul with latest reports suggesting he might be in Fiji.
China’s ambassador to Prague was called on Thursday the circumstances surrounding Beijing’s last minute ban on agriculture minister Marian Jurečka heading a delegation to the country. The ambassador met with deputy foreign affairs minister Martin Tlapa where the subject was raised. The meeting had been scheduled previously. Christian Democrat Jurečka has been an outspoken backer of party colleague and culture minister Daniel Herman in a recent row over the circumstances of his meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The Czech agriculture delegation was part of an agreed programme aimed at cutting China’s massive trade surplus with the Czech Republic. Deputy minister Tlapa said after the meeting that the ambassador could not give reasons for the ban and apparently did not know them. Attempts will be made to fix future dates for Jurečka's visit.
The Czech Republic provided development aid worth close to 5 billion crowns in 2015, according to a preliminary estimate published by the Czech Development Agency. The money was used to secure access to drinking water for villages in Ethiopia, finance the education of socially challenged children in Palestine and help farmers in Afghanistan, among others. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa Czech firms have shown a growing interest in investing in the developing world, but there are few willing to invest in the poorest countries.
The Czech Republic has agreed to send some four million crowns in extraordinary humanitarian aid to Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa confirmed on Thursday after meeting his counterpart Faisal Mekdad. Humanitarian aid and the need to bring hostilities to an end in Syria were the two main issues discussed at their Prague meeting this week.
The Czech Republic will send some four million crowns in extraordinary humanitarian aid to Syria, deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa said on Thursday after meeting with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad. Medical equipment and material should reach even the hard to access conflict zones. The aid should be sent in two deliveries in May and June and distributed in Syria by the Red Crescent Movement. According to Tlapa, the Czech Republic could send up to 200 million crowns in aid to Syria over the next four years, if the programme is approved by the government.