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Archive for November 21st, 2013

Support for the African Union International Support Mission in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

November 20, 2013

I am deeply concerned by the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic and the deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness that affect millions of people every day. In the continuing aftermath of the March 2013 overthrow of the government by the Seleka rebel alliance, militia groups are now organizing themselves along increasingly sectarian lines and engaging in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians. At this moment, the United States sees no evidence that the CAR transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially the abuses committed by elements of the Seleka rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.

Pending notification to the United States Congress, the Department of State plans to provide $40 million in assistance to MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the CAR, to help protect civilians and provide security throughout the country. This assistance may provide logistical backing, non-lethal equipment, training, and planning support. In the immediate term, we believe that MISCA is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence in the CAR and prevent further atrocities. MISCA is also in the best position to help establish an environment that allows for the provision of humanitarian assistance and an eventual political transition to a democratically elected government.

There are nearly 400,000 internally displaced persons and over 220,000 CAR refugees in neighboring countries, including approximately 68,000 new refugees who have fled in recent months. In the past year, the U.S. government has provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance to support programs that provide food, health services, and other aid in the CAR. We have also provided an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to specifically support new Central African refugees.

We call on the region and the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security in the country, and we will continue to work with others in the region and the international community to implement a credible political transition and assist the people of the CAR who have suffered so greatly in this conflict.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Government of Sudan and LJM: UNAMID’s Head welcomes the signing of final security arrangements between the two parties.

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The AU– UN Joint Special Representative/ Joint Chief Mediator (JSR/JCM) for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, attended the signing ceremony of the final security arrangements between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), stipulated under the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), in the afternoon of 20 November 2013 in Khartoum.

The JSR/JCM welcomed the signing of these arrangements and expressed his hope that they would constitute a significant step towards the implementation of the DDPD. He also congratulated the Government of Sudan and the LJM for the commitment, flexibility and concessions both sides have demonstrated during the negotiations, which have brought them to this important moment.

In his brief remarks at the ceremony, Dr. Chambas reflected by saying “With this signing, a new chapter will begin for the LJM. The commencement of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of their forces will offer new opportunities for many of their troops; whether this is to join the Government forces or to seek a civilian future. It is this future away from war that the DDPD was intended to secure.”

 

SOURCE

United NationsAfrican Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

 

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In many countries in Africa, the majority of small farmers are women – They are Key to Africa Achieving its Trading Potential –

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ African countries have enormous potential for trade with the global market and for more intensive trade among themselves. Regional trade in Africa can play a vital role in diversifying economies and reducing dependence on the export of a few mineral products, in delivering food and energy security, in generating jobs for the increasing numbers of young people, and in alleviating poverty and promoting a shared prosperity.

The new volume—Women and Trade in Africa: Realizing the Potential—demonstrates how women play a key role in trade in Africa and will be essential to Africa’s success in exploiting its trade potential. Women make a major contribution to trade in most African countries through their involvement in the production of tradable goods as cross-border traders and as managers and owners of firms involved in trade.

According to Marcelo M. Giugale, Director, Department of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programs, World Bank Africa Region, “Removing the three main obstacles to regional trade integration in Africa—misregulation, monopolies and corruption—would be particularly beneficial for poor women, as they literally carry most of the small-scale, cross-border commerce that happens within the Region. The potential benefits are huge and obvious: better food security, faster job creation, more poverty reduction, and less gender discrimination. This is a win-win-win-win reform agenda that is ready for action.”

The main messages from the volume call for Governments to recognize the role that women play in trade and ensure this is communicated to officials at all levels; Government should ensure that the rules and regulations governing trade are clear, transparent and widely available at the border. It is important to simplify documents and regulatory requirements where possible. In addition, it is essential to design interventions to develop trade in ways that ensure that women benefit.

Governments and donors are making concerted efforts to facilitate trade, to increase productivity in export-oriented sectors, and to improve competitiveness. But these need to be better targeted to ensure that women who participate in trade are reached by these interventions and that it is not just men who benefit. Finally, help women address the risks they face in their trade-related activities given that they are typically more risk averse than men and respond to risk in different ways.

In many countries in Africa, the majority of small farmers are women, and they produce crops such as maize, cassava, cotton, and rice that have enormous potential for increased trade between African countries and with the global market. Women are also involved in providing services across borders, such as education, health, and professional services, including accountancy and legal services. Hundreds of thousands of women cross borders in Africa every day to deliver goods from areas where they are relatively cheap to areas in which they are in shorter supply.

However, Africa’s trade potential is undermined by constraints that women face. The contribution of women to trade is much less than it could be because of various specific nontariff barriers that impinge particularly heavily on the trade activities of women and women-owned enterprises. These barriers often push women traders and producers into the informal economy where lack of access to finance, information, and networks jeopardize their capacity to grow and develop their business.

 

In its goal to ensure the equitable distribution of the benefits of integration, and specifically to empower women traders, TradeMark East Africa’s Private Sector and Civil Society Program facilitates programming to increase awareness of the challenges of informal cross border traders and build up knowledge and advocacy for a better trading environment.

Lisa Karanja, Director of the program states that ”…these and other deterrent conditions prevent women from taking full advantage of the opportunities created by trade and thus undermine the aspirations of countries in Africa to use trade as a driver of growth, employment, and poverty reduction.”

Yet, policy makers typically overlook women’s contribution to trade and the challenges they face. This neglect reflects, in part, the lack of data and information on women and trade in Africa and also the underrepresentation of small traders and rural producers in trade and trade policy discussions. This volume looks at the ways that women participate in trade in Africa, the constraints they face, and the impact of those constraints.

“The aim of this book is to make available new analysis on the participation of women in trade in Africa to a wide audience, says, Paul Brenton, Editor of the volume and World Bank Africa Trade Practice Leader. It highlights the key role that women will play in achieving Africa’s potential in trade. In addition to raising the profile of this public policy issue, we also hope that it will encourage more research and analysis over a wider range of African countries and so extend the knowledge base.”

 

SOURCE

The World Bank

 

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Norway contributes US$ 10 million to support climate services

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.

The challenges are huge. An estimated 70 nations, including many of the Least Developed Countries, have inadequate or no climate services and are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of both natural variations in the climate and human-induced climate change.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and State Secretary Hans Brattskar of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed the agreement today during the annual climate change conference taking place in Warsaw.

“The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is a model of how a wide range of partners can unite to ensure that the benefits of scientific advances reach those who are most at risk from weather and climate-linked hazards,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The funding from Norway will allow us to roll out climate services to help African countries adapt to our changing climate and to increase resilience to droughts and floods and other extremes.”

“Africa is the continent most vulnerable to a wide range of impacts of climate change. Africa is already facing a decrease in food production, floods and inundation of coastal zones and deltas, as well as the spread of waterborne diseases and malaria. Often it is the most vulnerable people that suffer the most, and there is an urgent need for effective and coordinated action. Norway firmly believes that with this multi-agency climate services program, we can deliver climate services to those vulnerable people and also contribute to strengthening the global framework as the knowledge and action hub of climate services,” said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende.

The provision of more and better climate services will allow farmers to fine-tune their planting and marketing strategies based on seasonal climate forecasts; empower disaster risk managers to prepare more effectively for droughts and heavy precipitation; assist public health services to target vaccine and other prevention campaigns to limit climate-related disease outbreaks such as malaria and meningitis; and help improve the management of water resources. These activities all contribute to appropriate adaptation planning to a changing climate.

The main countries to benefit initially will be Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. The programme will build on existing climate services in food security, nutrition and health, and disaster risk reduction at national, local and regional level. It is intended that the Climate Services Adaptation Programme will become operational in other African countries in the future and will serve as a model for other parts of the world.

“The Norwegian support for the GFCS project in Malawi will enable consideration of how to better meet user needs in Malawi, and provide opportunity to make progress,” said Mr. Jolamu L Nkhokwe, Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in Malawi. “While a great emphasis in Malawi has been placed on the ability to forecast large-scale rainfall patterns, it is a known factor that users often request tailored packages that integrate a variety of information, including more detailed features of the expected rainfall, other climate variables, and information about the consequences of the expected climate. Within this project, a number of simple methods of statistical downscaling of the large scale climate product will be turned into the type of rainfall information requested by many users in Malawi.”

Dr Agnes Kijazi, Director General of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency, said “The Programme will be a significant opportunity for enhancing availability of wide range of data and assuring better access to all available data and information. Furthermore, the programme will empower the meteorological agency to better serve our key customers, in particular the agriculture sector and the authorities responsible for disaster management in the country. This in turn will contribute to improved food security and disaster management for the country.”

The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is implemented by seven partner organizations: WMO; the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO); the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is growing momentum towards the provision of climate services in both developed and developing countries alike within the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users such as disaster management authorities, water and energy utilities, public health agencies, the transport sector, and farmers, as well as the community at large.

This new programme is building on achievements made under another Norwegian supported programme. The GFCS Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa programme started in 2011 with the aim of contributing to the amelioration of weather and climate related disasters and to climate change adaptation in Africa through operationalizing the Global Framework for Climate Services. Tangible impacts obtained so far with Norwegian support include the holding of roving seminars for farmers in 17 different African countries, during which the farmers have received information about weather and climate, future climate change and the implications in their region, climatic risk in production of different crops in their region and better risk management.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

 

SOURCE

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

 

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ECOWAS SALUTES REGION’S NATIONAL TEAMS

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The President of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has congratulated “Teams ECOWAS” – Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – for winning three of Africa’s five slots for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil.

In a goodwill message to the three countries, the President said it is gratifying to note that ECOWAS national teams consolidated their sterling exploits at the Africa Nations Cup tournament earlier this year in South Africa, where they dominated the 16-nation competition with Nigeria emerging the continental Champions.

With their impressive performances in the just-concluded World Cup Africa qualification series, Teams ECOWAS have confirmed the region’s reputation as the soccer powerful of Africa.

The President assured them that the entire Community and its more than 350 million people are solidly behind them as they fly the region’s and Africa’s flags in Brazil 2014.

President Ouedraogo also wished Cameroon and Algeria, Africa’s two other World Cup qualifiers good luck and enjoined all the continent’s representatives to surpass Africa’s quarter-final record in the global football tournament.

Through hard work, discipline and dedication, he said they can bring the coveted trophy to the African soil for the first time in the World Cup history.

 

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

 

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