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Archive for November 12th, 2013

AfDB and Namibia sign ZAR 2.9 billion loan agreement

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

WINDHOEK, Namibia, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) and Namibia on Friday, November 8, 2013 signed a ZAR 2.9 billion (US $338 million) sovereign guaranteed loan to Nambia Ports Authority (Namport) to finance the construction of a container terminal at Walvis Bay New Port.

In line with its Ten Year Strategy and focus on infrastructure development and regional integration, the AfDB Group approved the construction of the New Port of Walvis Bay Container Terminal Project in July 2013. The Bank also provided a UA 1.5 million grant (US $2.3 million) to the Government of Namibia for logistics and capacity building complementing the port project loan.

Namibia’s Finance Minister and Governor for the Bank, Sara Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila, signed the loan guarantee and grant agreements on behalf the Government in Windhoek. Namport CEO Bisey Uirab signed the loan agreement on behalf of Namport, while Ebrima Faal, Regional Director of the AfDB’s Southern Africa Resource Center (SARC), signed for the Bank.

In her intervention, Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila stressed the importance of the project and its contribution to one of the key development goals (the logistics pillar) of the National Development Plan which aims to position Namibia as a regional logistics hub by 2017. The Minister also thanked the AfDB for its strong and holistic support to Namport and the Government of Namibia through the loan and grant financing.

For his part, the Namport CEO acknowledged the positive spirit and enthusiasm of the AfDB in committing to finance the project and its unwavering commitment throughout the project preparation process.

In his statement, Faal emphasized the developmental impact of the project: “This project is important for Namibia and for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It is critical to fulfilling Namibia’s aspirations to become a world-class logistics hub in the SADC region,” he said.

According to Faal, the project will enhance international and inter-regional trade and regional integration and Namibia will be able to fully exploit its unique geographical location to facilitate trade to and from the region.

“With the high levels of youth unemployment, the Bank’s support to Namport and the Government of Namibia will greatly improve private sector development and youth employment and will especially boost women participation in the logistics sector,” he emphasized.

The Project is expected to enable Namport to triple the container-handling capacity at the Port of Walvis Bay from 350,000 TEUs to 1,050,000 TEUs per annum. It will also finance the purchase of up-to-date port equipment and the training of pilots and operators for the new terminal. The grant component will fund the preparation of the National Logistics Master Plan study, technical support and capacity-building for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and training of freight forwarders with particular emphasis on female staff.

According to the AfDB Director of Transport and ICT, Amadou Oumarou: “Through this project which potentially serves up to seven major economies in the SADC region, the Bank is assisting in the diversification and distribution of port facilities on the southwest coast of Africa, and provides the much-needed alternative for the region’s landlocked countries.”

The project will stimulate the development and upgrade of multimodal transport corridors linking the port to the hinterland while improving the country’s transport and logistics chains. It will also boost competition among the ports and transport corridors in the region with the ripple effect on reductions in transportation costs and increased economic growth.

The projected project outcomes include improvement in port efficiency and increase in cargo volumes by 70% in 2020 as a result of increased trade in the region. The benefits of the project will include among others, the stimulation of inter-regional trade and regional integration, private sector development, skills transfer and most importantly employment creation, leading to significant economic development and poverty reduction in Namibia, and the SADC region.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

 

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New range of satellite services for African enterprises

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Belgium-based satellite service provider, SatADSL (http://www.satadsl.net) is set to launch its new range of services for professional users at the AFRICACOM Conference, slated for tomorrow at Cape Town Convention Centre.

The new services will allow to provide high quality communications and Internet connectivity with guaranteed performances to corporate offices, bank agencies, mining sites and all similar medium-size exploitations in Sub-Saharan Africa where terrestrial communication services are either not available, unreliable or too expensive.

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA*. The new Service Delivery Platform provides SatADSL with complete control over the definition and enforcement of its service profiles and   paves the way for building tailor-made services. The new platform provides to SatADSL the flexibility that is required to serve the complex requirements of the African telecom operators and ISPs who are offering the service locally and are willing to propose various options that meet their customer specific requirements and budget.

Speaking ahead of the conference, SatADSL Chief Technology Officer Fulvio Sansone said “the new Service Delivery Platform is a cornerstone in the company development”.

“Companies in Sub-Saharan Africa are often confronted to limited coverage and reliability of terrestrial telecommunications means. Especially outside of urban and coastal areas where the population is less dense, telecommunication links may not be as reliable as needed by professional users. That is where SatADSL comes in with specialised, but at the same time affordable, services for the professional market. This market segment requires customised services, often with guaranteed data rates. SatADSL is now in a position to offer a complete range of services and become a one-stop-shop for its customers for services from low-cost transaction-based or back-up to unlimited services” he said.

The new services have been successfully demonstrated and are now being launched commercially all over Sub-Saharan Africa in cooperation with SatADSL local partners. They allow medium-size offices and corporate branches to get connectivity, Internet access and voice over IP with guaranteed performances wherever they are located. Using the same low-cost, self-installable, Sat3Play hardware, users will be able to choose among a wide range of Unlimited, Contended Services, as well as the previously available Fair Usage Policy based Services.

SatADSL delivers and manage customer’s mission-critical communications with end to end solutions, integrated technologies and flexible service options. SatADSL is a premium partner of SES and Newtec respectively leading satellite operator and equipment manufacturer. SatADSL is already offering reliable and low-cost satellite networking solutions and operates close to 1000 terminals across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Caroline De Vos, Chief Operations Officer, and Thierry Eltges, Chief Executive Officer, will welcome the visitors, potential partner-distributors and customers at the company stand P14 located in the exhibition area of the conference.

* The view expressed herein is independent of ESA’s official opinion.

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About SatADSL:

SatADSL (http://www.satadsl.net) is a satellite service provider offering low cost transactional, Internet access and VoIP service to branch offices of companies located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company is seated in Brussels, Belgium, and offers Internet access by satellite in Africa since 2010. Hundreds of African companies use SatADSL service in over 15 different countries in Africa. A money transfer company is connecting together more than 100 of their branches offices thanks to SatADSL.

SatADSL new satellite communication service in Africa is unique because it combines very high-quality service with a low cost of equipment and subscriptions. Corporate users operating in remote areas require both service quality guaranteed by SLAs and affordability. SatADSL service offer is recognized in Africa as being a unique competitive offer for serving companies small branch offices performing business-critical transactions.

SatADSL teams up with highly qualified African partners who offer a high-quality service to professional end-users, spanning from Mali to South Africa. SatADSL distribution network is expanding every day.

 

SOURCE

SatADSL S.A.

 

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ACTION NEEDED TO PULL CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC OUT OF CRISIS

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

NEW YORK, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the meeting of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic, as prepared for delivery by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Bangui on 8 November:

I thank the African Union and the Mediator of the Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic crisis, His Excellency President Sassou Nguesso, for inviting the United Nations to participate in the third meeting of this International Contact Group. I thank the Government of the Central African Republic for hosting this first meeting of the Group in Bangui.

We meet at a moment of real urgency for the people of the Central African Republic. They are suffering. They are vulnerable. Their security, dignity and future must be foremost in the discussions today and in the actions that must be taken as soon as possible to pull the country out of this dire crisis.

All too often in the past, the Central African Republic has been described as a forgotten crisis. But, today more is being done to sound the alarm and mobilize a response. Since the last meeting of the International Contact Group in July, there has been increased awareness about the situation and the plight of its people.

The African Union and Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic have strengthened their efforts to support the transitional authorities and agreed to deploy the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic. A high-level meeting on the Central African Republic was organized by the European Union, France and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. And, the Security Council adopted its resolution 2121 on 10 October 2013.

The international community is speaking with one voice. We must now translate awareness and concern into effective action to ensure that the crisis is addressed in all its dimensions — security, political, human rights and humanitarian. We must help stop the suffering and act now, without delay.

There has been some movement on the political track. Most of the transitional institutions and implementation mechanisms are now established. The Government has developed a draft road map for operationalizing the transitional commitments. A key milestone on the horizon will be the holding of free and fair elections within 18 months of the inauguration of the Head of State of the Transition. I encourage the National Transitional Council to adopt the draft road map and promulgate the electoral code as soon as possible. I also encourage the authorities to establish the National Authority for the Elections. The United Nations stands ready, once the National Authority for the Elections is in place, to provide assistance in identifying the technical requirements for the successful organization of elections, defining a more specific calendar and mobilizing resources.

Security remains the most immediate priority and pressing concern. I am profoundly concerned about the rapid deterioration of security and the rule of law in the Central African Republic, particularly in the countryside, and the corresponding deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

Elements of the ex-Séléka coalition have continued to terrorize the population, with rampant looting and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, targeted killings and the recruitment of child soldiers. We have also seen the emergence of local self-defence groups and a cycle of targeted attacks and reprisals with religious underpinnings. This is planting the seeds for a long-lasting conflict between communities that have always co-habited peacefully. We must do everything in our power to de-escalate the religious tensions between Muslim and Christian communities.

I remind the national authorities of their responsibility to ensure respect for human rights, to bring perpetrators to justice and protect all Central Africans from abuse. I call on them to take all necessary measures to restore security and the rule of law and to facilitate humanitarian access. The regroupment and cantonment of former Séléka fighters should take place as soon as possible, in compliance with international standards.

I encourage ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) to help the authorities organize a national conference as soon as possible, as decided by ECCAS leaders at their last Summit. I urge the international community to provide support to MISCA. A Technical Assessment Mission led by my Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations ended its visit yesterday, and I will report to the Security Council shortly.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has earmarked $2.5 million through the Peacebuilding Fund to support the refurbishment of police and gendarmerie stations in Bangui and the interior. Additional support has also been approved in principle by the Peacebuilding Fund to support the regroupment of former Séléka elements.

Finally, let us all recognize that the Central African Republic faces a financial crisis that limits its ability to address the current crisis. While I encourage the international community to help, the level of assistance will depend on the Central African Republic authorities themselves. You must help us to help you. I therefore encourage the Government to make every effort to improve the transparency in the management of the available financial resources.

Excellencies, let me return once again to the urgency of the situation, and the need to act while there is time to prevent any further deterioration. Sparing the people of the Central African Republic more suffering and insecurity must be our collective goal. There is a chance to work together to reverse the downward spiral in the Central African Republic and to set the country on a path toward peace and stability. Time is of the essence. We cannot let the people of the Central African Republic down at this moment of pressing need. Thank you for your attention.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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