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Archive for November 8th, 2013

Changing lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

Tigo set to change lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) in partnership with Swedish non-profit organization Reach for Change launched today the ‘Tigo Reach for Change’ initiative, which focuses on identifying and supporting local social entrepreneurs with solid ideas on improving the lives of Tanzanian children.

Tigo Tanzania General Manager Mr. Diego Gutierrez said, “Statistics show that children less than 18 years of age constitute almost half of Tanzania’s population. But to date the investment in addressing their needs is not proportionate with their share of the population or their role as tomorrow’s leaders and human capital. Investing in children is the single most important investment in national development”.

Mr. Gutierrez added that “Tigo has for many years been deeply involved in addressing challenges concerning children and youth in Tanzania. We believe the most effective way to bring about sustainable change is to empower motivated individuals with the right tools to bring to life innovative ideas that can change their society. Tigo Reach for Change initiative allows us to do just that!”

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website: http://www.tigo.co.tz. Each application will be reviewed by a panel of experts and the strongest and most promising applicant will be invited to join a three year incubator programme where their ideas will be transformed into sustainable ventures. In addition to this, they will receive funding of USD 25,000 a year for up to three years, as well as mentoring and professional advice from senior employees of Tigo.

For the duration of the 3 years programme the social entrepreneur’s business idea will undergo evaluation to ensure that they attain required key performance indicators until their project is fully developed and self-sustainable.

Children in Tanzania have right to participation, development, protection, freedom from discrimination and an identity. “Despite the progress made to date in fulfilling these rights a lot need to be done to ensure children grow to their full potential hence become contributing members of the society. We are determined to address challenges which hinder children development/realization of their rights by empowering local individuals with solutions that will improve lives of children. We believe that local problems are better solved by local individuals who thoroughly understand the issues at hand. This is the second year in a row that we are partnering with Reach for Change and there has been great impact from the winning projects from last year. We are looking forward to this year’s applications with great expectation”, said Woinde Shisael, Tigo’s Corporate Responsibility Manager.

Last year’s program received over 1000 applications. The three winning projects included an initiative to empower children with disabilities with vocational skills; mobile classes for street children; and a project aimed at bridging the rural-urban digital divide. All the projects are still ongoing and are changing the lives of many children across Tanzania.

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About Reach for Change

Reach for Change is a non-profit organization established in Sweden and co-founded by Kinnevik, the founding company of Millicom. The search for social entrepreneurs first began in Sweden in 2010, followed by Russia in 2011, before embarking, in that same year, as a pilot project for Africa in Ghana, which has recently reported an improvement in the livelihoods of over 140,000 children.

About Tigo

Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 30 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.  Tigo strives to be Tanzania’s most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa.

Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible and readily available cellular telephony services to more than 45 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

The success of Tigo is based on the “Triple A” strategy, which stands for Affordability, Accessibility and Availability. We create a world where mobile services are affordable, accessible and available everywhere and to all. This guarantees that our subscribers experience the best services at the most affordable rates throughout our 30 regions in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

 

SOURCE: Tigo Tanzania

 

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Liberia Sanitation Project Selected by UNFCCC as one of 2013 Outstanding Climate Innovations

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

BONN, Germany, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced Wednesday the selection of the Monrovia Fostering Innovative Sanitation and Hygiene (FISH) project as one of the 17 Lighthouse Activities to be showcased at the November 2013 UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Lighthouse Activities projects are selected based on their innovative and transformative qualities, and are recognized for the value of the solutions they propose to address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.

The 2013 Lighthouse Activities were selected by a 16-member, international advisory panel (http://unfccc.int/secretariat/momentum_for_change/items/6648.php) as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative (http://unfccc.int/secretariat/momentum_for_change/items/6214.php), which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

“The 2013 Lighthouse Activities are true beacons of hope, demonstrating what happens when innovation and passion come together to address the biggest challenge of our time,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said. “There are thousands of examples of people taking action to address climate change all over the world. The Lighthouse Activities highlight some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change, which I hope will inspire others to do the same.”

The FISH project was designed to enhance Monrovia city’s capacity for sustainable city-wide fecal sludge management. The project complements efforts by the Government of Liberia and development partners to improve sanitation service access rates and reduce the vulnerability of the urban poor to diseases caused by water contamination resulting from open defecation and septic tank overflows.

Earlier this year, the project had received a €1.2 million grant from the African Water Facility (AWF) to cover 86 per cent of the financing needed for its implementation.

“The selection of the Monrovia project is a much-deserved recognition of Liberia’s leadership in promoting innovation to deal more effectively with issues affecting peoples’ lives and build resilience to climate change,” said Akissa Bahri, Coordinator of the African Water Facility. “This also goes to show that improving sanitation services is a must-have component of any city’s resilience strategy, and that it is possible for fragile states to overcome sanitation challenges through the adoption of creative ideas meant to optimize resources recovery. The FISH project is a remarkable example to follow.”

The 17 Lighthouse Activities will be showcased at special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, November 11-22. Interested stakeholders can interact with the activity representatives during two social media discussions ahead of the climate conference.

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About the African Water Facility (AWF): The AWF (http://www.africanwaterfacility.org) is an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), established in 2004 as a Special Water Fund to help African countries achieve the objectives of the Africa Water Vision 2025. The AWF offers grants from €50,000 to €5 million to support projects aligned with its mission and strategy to a wide range of institutions and organizations operating in Africa. Its three strategic priority activities are (1) preparing investment projects to mobilize investment funds for projects supported by AWF; (2) enhancing water governance to create an environment conducive for effective and sustainable investments; (3) promoting water knowledge for the preparation of viable projects and informed governance leading to effective and sustainable investments. Since 2006, AWF has funded 84 national and regional projects in 51 countries, including in Africa’s most vulnerable states. It has mobilized more than €935 million as a result of its project preparation activities, which constitute 70 percent of its portfolio. On average, each €1 contributed by the AWF has attracted €20 in additional follow-up investments. The AWF is entirely funded by Algeria, Australia, Austria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Norway, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the African Development Bank. The AWF is governed by a Governing Council representing its 15 donors, UN-Water Africa, the AU via NEPAD, AMCOW and the AfDB. For more information:http://www.africanwaterfacility.org

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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Violence in Central African Republic may spin out of control

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday warned that a deteriorating cycle of violent attacks and reprisals in the Central African Republic risks plunging the country into a new conflict.

On 26 October, self-defence militias, known as anti-Balaka, attacked and occupied Bouar, a town in the west of the country, on the main road to neighbouring Cameroon. This led to clashes with ex-Séléka forces, and resulted in the death of at least 20 civilians. One teacher was repeatedly run over by ex-Séléka forces because of his perceived support of the anti-Balaka militias. At least 10,000 people have been displaced as a result of the fighting in and around Bouar.

“I am deeply shocked by the killings and human rights violations that are being committed in the Central African Republic,” Pillay said. “The latest clashes between ex-Séléka forces and various self-defence groups, are extremely worrying. Such violent incidents have heightened tensions among communities, caused splits along religious and sectarian lines and could lead to further destabilization in the country.”

“For decades, diverse ethnic and religious communities have lived together in this country. This escalation of violence and hatred must be halted before it spins completely out of control,” the High Commissioner said.

Pillay said that recent reports of a massacre of mostly women and children in a village near Bouar on 26 October illustrate the level of violence prevailing in the Central African Republic and the absolute disregard for human life shown by fighters – in this particular case, alleged ex-Séléka forces.

“I urge the authorities to immediately launch a transparent, independent investigation to verify these shocking reports,” she said.

Fighting and violations are also taking place in other parts of the country. In Bossangoa, also in western CAR, clashes between the two groups have resulted in an unknown number of casualties since September 2013 and led to a large-scale displacement of population.

A UN human rights team which recently visited Bossangoa received reports of widespread human rights violations committed by both groups, including summary executions, sexual violence, arrests and arbitrary detentions. Several hundred civilians, including two humanitarian workers from the non-governmental organisation Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) are reported to have lost their lives during the first two weeks of September.

As a result of the fighting, most Christians have taken refuge in Bossangoa’s Catholic mission, which has turned into a camp for at least 30,000 displaced people. Civilians, especially men, are afraid to leave the mission, fearing detention, beatings or murder by ex-Séléka forces, if they are suspected to be members of anti-Balaka militias. Muslim civilians have also been displaced and many have taken refuge in the Sub-Préfecture (sous-préfecture) and the Liberty school premises.

At least 20 villages surrounding Bossangoa have also been affected by clashes, which have forced villagers to flee and hide in the bush in precarious conditions and in constant fear for their lives.

“The civilian population is bearing the brunt of this chaotic situation. Civilians are clearly being targeted for their perceived support of a group or for their religion,” Pillay said. “Entire villages have been burned to the ground and widespread lootings continue to take place, including poaching of cattle.”

The High Commissioner also expressed concern about reports of illegal arrests, detentions and torture in secret detention centres in the Central African Republic capital, Bangui. According to information received by the UN Human Rights Office, ex-Séléka forces working for the CEDAD (Comité extraordinaire pour la défense des acquis démocratiques), a committee set up after the last ministerial reshuffle, are allegedly responsible for illegal arrests and human rights abuses. The CEDAD building appears to be used as a private and illegal detention centre where torture is reportedly used extensively. The CEDAD is not legally mandated to detain individuals or investigate criminal offences.

“I call on the authorities to immediately look into these allegations and, if they are confirmed, to take urgent measures to ensure that illegal arrests, detention and the use of torture are halted immediately,” Pillay said.

“There is an urgent need for the restoration of the rule of law in the Central African Republic,” the High Commissioner said. “Unless immediate action is taken, both by the authorities and by the international community, there is a clear risk that the situation will degenerate rapidly and inexorably into a full-blown conflict. This would take a terrible toll on the people of the Central African Republic, and could also reverberate across the region.”

 

SOURCE

United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

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Conclusion of an IMF Mission to Namibia

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

WINDHOEK, Namibia, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Windhoek during October 24-November 7 to conduct the 2013 Article IV Consultation discussions with Namibia. The mission’s work focused on reviewing recent economic developments and prospects and policies to ensure continued macroeconomic stability and growth. The mission met with Prime Minister, Honorable Hage Geingob; Minister of Finance, Honorable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila; Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Calle Schlettwein; Bank of Namibia Governor, Ipumbu Shiimi; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, Ericah Shafudah; senior government officials; development partners; and representatives from the private sector and civil society.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Lamin Leigh, the IMF Mission Chief for Namibia, issued the following statement in Windhoek today, outlining the mission’s preliminary conclusions:

“Real GDP grew by a healthy 5 percent in 2012. Preliminary data for the first half of 2013 suggest that growth has moderated somewhat. The slowdown reflects weak global demand for exports, which more than offset the solid growth in the non-mineral sector most notably in retail trade. At end-August 2013, inflation stood at 6 percent, broadly in line with inflation in South Africa.

“The fiscal outturn in the fiscal year 2012/13 was significantly better than targeted, with the budget almost balanced at the end of the fiscal year. The strong performance reflects both revenue over performance and some under-execution in capital spending.

“Looking ahead, the mission forecasts that output growth would further moderate to about 4 percent in 2013. Mineral exports will likely remain subdued in the second half of 2013 on account of weak external demand with growth slowing in Namibia’s major trading partner economies. The impact of the drought will also likely weaken economic activity. These factors would be partly offset by strong domestic demand growth emanating from the recent income tax reform, along with the fiscal expansion targeted in the fiscal year 2013/14 budget. The non-mineral sector, in particular construction, is also expected to further rebound in the second half of 2013, mainly on account of the development of the Husab Uranium mine, which is expected to become the second largest uranium mine in the world in the coming years.

“The fiscal year 2013/14 budget laid the groundwork for an active reform agenda most notably in the area of reduced income taxation, and improved public financial management and tax administration. While the budget is fairly expansionary, total tax revenue collections to date have proven resilient and should help consolidate on the large gains made in the fiscal year 2012/13. With an uncertain external environment, the mission urges the authorities to begin to rebuild the policy buffers. This should be pursued through a “growth friendly” fiscal consolidation strategy, which would focus on reining in current spending such as current transfers and subsidies to state-owned enterprises (SOE), while preserving growth promoting capital and infrastructure spending, which some SOEs contribute to. The fiscal consolidation process also needs to be balanced with a combination of both expenditure cutting measures and domestic revenue mobilization efforts. Thus, the mission welcomes the government’s commitment to a simplified income tax system to achieve higher compliance and lower cost of administration. The mission supports the authorities’ ongoing work on broadening the tax base through rationalization of existing tax incentives in some sectors.

“Namibia’s banking system is highly profitable and well-capitalized, with relatively low nonperforming loans and adequate buffers to smooth shocks. The 2011-2021 Namibia Financial Sector Strategy (NFSS) is sound and strikes an appropriate balance between financial inclusion and stability. The strategy outlines measures to reduce financing constraints for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) engaged in productive projects (including through the SME Bank that was licensed in December 2012), while stressing the need to safeguard the stability of the financial system. The Bank of Namibia’s semi-annual Financial Stability Reports have also rightly focused on the challenges that could emanate from the high household indebtedness and recommended appropriate policy responses to minimize the associated risks. The mission welcomes the successful cooperation between NAMFISA—the regulator for non-bank financial institutions, the Bank of Namibia and the Ministry of Finance that aimed at strengthening and modernizing the regulations of non-bank financial institutions.

“The authorities’ increasing emphasis on efficiency and innovation driven growth, underpinned by greater private sector development, to boost economy-wide productivity, is a step in the right direction. This approach would require increasing the quality of public spending including through ongoing reforms of public financial management, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system, reducing the cost of doing business, and diversifying the economy. The mission welcomes plans by the government to do a comprehensive review that aims to improve the investment climate, the ease to do business, support to SMEs and pursue deeper economic integration. Delivering good outcomes from the government’s diversification policies would require supportive measures to liberalize the service sectors, reduce the domestic regulatory burden on firms and address the skill mismatch in the labor market.

“Finally, the mission would like to express its sincere gratitude to the Namibian authorities for the consistently high quality of the policy discussions and for their warm hospitality.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Porsche makes strategic move

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE eyes Africa expansion

Porsche eyes Africa expansion

DUBAI, UAE, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – In line with the brand’s global 2018 development strategy, Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE (http://www.porsche.com/middle-east), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is planning to expand its presence across the region, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Looking currently after 19 markets across the Middle East, Levant, Africa (excluding the Maghreb states) and India, the regional office in Dubai is eyeing to establish facilities in currently untapped markets, following the creation of a new Network Development department.

Porsche eyes Africa expansion

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=717
(Porsche eyes Africa expansion)

The announcement comes together with the launch of a new dedicated investor communication platform which marks a key development in the brand’s regional growth strategy. Potential investors are invited to express their interest in becoming a Porsche importer in the above mentioned region by completing an online application. The selection process continues after the pre-selection screening, with interviews and visits to proposed building sites. As well as identifying dealerships with the ability to meet Porsche’s exacting sales and customer service standards, Porsche Middle East and Africa will support future business partners in a healthy investment structure with a view to creating a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership.

Christer Ekberg, Managing Director at Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE, commented: “With the implementation of the investor communication platform, we have made substantial progress towards our 2018 growth target. Porsche is looking for investors that are as passionate about the brand as we are, and with the local market expertise to help us deliver an unparalleled experience and unrivalled service to customers.”

A successful finish of the third quarter in 2013 saw Porsche Middle East and Africa deliveries increase 38 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. The new-generation Porsche Panamera – including Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid drive in the luxury class, the Panamera S E-Hybrid – has just arrived. The remainder of the year will also see a focus on the 50th anniversary of the legendary 911, with the regional debut of three new 911 models: the 911 GT3, 911 Turbo and Turbo S, in addition to the exclusive 911 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The company also celebrated the world premiere of the production version of the first ever plug-in hybrid super sports car, 918 Spyder, at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show; first units are scheduled to be delivered to Middle Eastern customers next year. Preparations for the launch of the all-new Porsche Macan, a sporty SUV in the premium segment set to arrive in 2014, are also under way.

 

SOURCE

Porsche Middle East & Africa FZE

 

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African Union (AU) on Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) fielded a visit to Abyei from 5 to 6 November 2013 to mark its solidarity with the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, as well as with the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) as part of its effort to promote peace, security and stability in the region.

Council was received by the Governor of South Kordofan, Mr. Adam Elfaki, during its transition in Kadugli on its way to Abyei. Council expressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to it and the facilities made available.

In Abeyi Town, on 5 November 2013, the PSC received briefing from the Ngok Dinka community through their representatives namely, the Paramount Chief of Ngok Dinka, Bulabek Deng Kuol Arop, the Chairperson of the Civil Society Organization, the Representative of South Sudan Political Parties and the Chairperson of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC)-South Sudan on the situation prevailing in Abyei, as well as from UNISFA regarding its mission and the current situation in Abyei. On 6 November 2013, Council received briefings from the AJOC-The Sudan and the Misseriya traditional leaders, as well as from the people of Misseriya in Diffra.

Council recalled the objectives of its important and historic field visit to Abyei as stated in its communique PSC/MIN/COMM.1(CCCLXXXVII) Rev.1, adopted at its 387th meeting held on 29 July 2013, and expressed satisfaction that the field visit afforded Council the opportunity to obtain first-hand information and understanding of the situation in Abyei. Council acknowledged the enormity of the humanitarian needs, as well as the far reaching challenges facing UNISFA and the Abyei communities.

Council also noted the plight of the local communities and called for urgent development assistance, especially in the fields of health and education, and pledged to do its utmost in seeking assistance for such development.

Council reaffirmed its communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDIII), adopted at its 403rd meeting held on 26 October 2013, through which Council among other things, reiterated its deep concern about the situation prevailing in Abyei, and stressed the need for active and continued African involvement in support of efforts aimed at addressing the challenges at hand. Council reiterated its full acceptance of the proposal submitted by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), on 21 September 2012, and renewed it appeal to the UN Security Council to urgently support the proposal as the best way forward for the solution in Abyei.

Council underscored the inalienable right of the people of Abyei to self-determination in accordance with the Abyei Protocol contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. With regard to the decision of the Ngok Dinka community to conduct a unilateral referendum, Council listened to the expression of deep frustration, anger and concerns, as well as reasons for the action of the Ngok Dinka community and stressed the need for continued efforts to resolve the final status of Abyei within the context of the AUHIP proposal of 21 September 2012.

On 6 November 2013, Council met with the Chairman of AJOC-The Sudan, Mr. Alkhair Alfaeem Almakki, and the members of his Committee and the Misseriya Paramount Chief and the Community Leaders and people in Diffra before returning to Addis Ababa via Kadugli. Council listened to the expressions of their deep concerns and rejection of the unilateral action of the Ngok Dinka community and reassured them that the PSC had noted their views and would take them into account during their deliberations at their future meetings.

Council underlined that its visit was aimed at helping in the healing process for the Abyei communities and expressed its determination to continue its support to the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities in seeking a lasting solutionso that the communities can co-exist peacefully. Council once again called upon all the stakeholders in Abyei not to aggravate the already tense situation on the ground.

Council expressed its gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the members by the authorities and the communities of Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Council expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of The Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as the UNISFA Force Commander for their tireless support in facilitating its field mission to Abyei. Council commended the laudable work of UNISFA in maintaining peace, security and stability in the Area despite the daunting challenges it faced in its working environment.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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