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Archive for December, 2013

IMF Completes the Eighth and Final Review Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Seychelles

Posted by African Press International on December 31, 2013

African Press International (API)


VICTORIA, Mahe, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On December 19, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund(IMF) completed the eighth and final review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF)1 for Seychelles. The Executive Board’s decision was taken on a lapse-of-time basis.2 The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 3.3 million (about US$5.1 million), which will bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 26.4 million (about US$ 40.7 million).

The EFF was approved in December 2009 for an amount of SDR 19.8 million (see Press Release No. 09/472) and was extended by one year in 2012, with an augmentation of access of SDR 6.6 million (about US$10.0 million).

Strong policies have fostered economic growth, brightening Seychelles’ near-term outlook. A robust rise in tourism earnings in 2013 supported growth, as well as a reduction in the current account deficit as a share of

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Libya ‘frees’ US military personnel

Posted by African Press International on December 30, 2013

The Libyan authorities have released four American military personnel detained on Friday, US officials say.read more…

 

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“South Sudan faces large displacement and protection crisis”– UN expert calls for dialogue to halt violence

Posted by African Press International on December 29, 2013

African Press International (API)


GENEVA, Switzerland, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ “South Sudan will face a large displacement and protection crisis, if the situation is not managed with restraint or if political dialogue does not take place,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, warned today.

“I am deeply concerned about this violent upsurge, and the targeting of civilians, and call on all those involved to cease hostilities immediately,” Mr. Beyani said, adding his voice to those of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

More than 34,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought shelter in UN compounds in Juba, Bor and Bentiu due to the violence that broke out in South Sudan’s capital earlier this week. “The real scale of the internal displacement remains unclear at this stage as violence…

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VIDEO: Rhino ranger battles poachers

Posted by African Press International on December 28, 2013

South Africa, home to over 80 percent of all rhino in the world, has lost over 800 of the creatures to poaching this year alone.read more

 

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VIDEO: UN: ‘Give peace a chance’ in S Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 27, 2013

  • The United Nations special representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, has appealed for leaders in the country to order their forces to lay down their arms. read more..

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Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida and His Excellency Mr. Nabil Fahmi, Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Posted by African Press International on December 26, 2013

TOKYO, Japan, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – On December 19, commencing at 5:10 p.m. for approximately 30 minutes, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Fumio Kishida held a meeting with His Excellency Mr. Nabil Fahmi, Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. The situation in Egypt

(1) Minister Kishida said the steady progress with the roadmap is encouraging. The finalization of the amended draft constitution is an important milestone in particular, and he will be watching closely the course of the national referendum on January 14 and 15 next year. He also said regulations such as the protest law and the detention of anti-government activists are a concern as they are issues that also involve human rights and social stability. On the other hand, he is well aware of the struggles the interim government faces in maintaining security and public order. He condemns the terrorist activities in the Sinai Peninsula, and extends his condolences to the victims and their families.

(2) In response, Minister Fahmi said democratization process such as drafting the amended constitution has been progressing, it proceeds based on guarantee of the basic human rights and the principle of the rule of law and he hope the interim-period will be terminated peacefully by next summer.

2. Japan-Egypt relations

(1) Minister Kishida said Japan will continue to extend support toward economic development and socio-economic stability that benefits Egyptian citizens overall, while focusing on Egypt’s progress with the democratization process and the promotion of youth employment, and he announced the provision of the grant aidwill commence for the construction of a ward for the Cairo University Pediatric Hospital, and with the cooperation of the UNDP and other organizations a total of approximately 16 million USD in support is being newly prepared. With the Construction of New Dirout Group of Regulators (DGR) and Improvement of Water Management Project as a starting point, the Japan wants to implement new yen loans also. However, in going forward Japan wants to consider such loans based on explanations of Egypt’s specific efforts toward economic stabilization. He noted that the travel warnings in some tourist locations were lowered further last week, and said he hopes that this, coupled with stability in Egypt’s social situation, helps to encourage tourism and other people-to-people exchanges.

 

(2) In response, Minister Fahmi said expansionary policies are being implemented for improving the economic situation and he expressed gratitude for the new economic assistances and the longstanding assistances from Japan such as Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST).

 

SOURCE

Japan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

 

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Togo: Navi Pillay calls for greater respect of human rights in the administration of justice

Posted by African Press International on December 25, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Togo still needs to strengthen respect for human rights in the administration of justice and improve the overall functioning of its justice system, despite some progress and reform, a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has concluded. The findings are based on work by […]  Read More…

 

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Mozambique plane crash ‘intentional’

Posted by African Press International on December 24, 2013

December 22, 2013

Mozambique’s civil aviation institute says a pilot deliberately crashed a passenger plane last month, killing all 33 people on board. READ MORE

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Egypt jails three leading activists

Posted by African Press International on December 24, 2013

December 22, 2013

Three prominent Egyptian pro-democracy campaigners are sentenced to three years in jail for organising an unauthorised protest. READ MORE

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White House condemns Syrian government for recent bombings

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday condemned recent missile and barrel bomb attacks on civilians by the Syrian government and said Damascus must respect its commitment to allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid. READ MORE…

 

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IMF Completes the Eighth and Final Review Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Seychelles

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2013


VICTORIA, Mahe, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On December 19, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund(IMF) completed the eighth and final review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF)1 for Seychelles. The Executive Board’s decision was taken on a lapse-of-time basis.2 The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 3.3 million (about US$5.1 million), which will bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 26.4 million (about US$ 40.7 million).

The EFF was approved in December 2009 for an amount of SDR 19.8 million (see Press Release No. 09/472) and was extended by one year in 2012, with an augmentation of access of SDR 6.6 million (about US$10.0 million).

Strong policies have fostered economic growth, brightening Seychelles’ near-term outlook. A robust rise in tourism earnings in 2013 supported growth, as well as a reduction in the current account deficit as a share of GDP. The exchange rate strengthened slightly, at the same time as the central bank accumulated more international reserves than expected. Inflation decelerated below 5 percent, and the government is on track to achieve its 5 percent of GDP primary surplus target, as a shortfall in tax revenue and grants has been offset by lower-than-anticipated capital expenditure. All performance criteria under the EFF for end-June 2013 were met, as were the third quarter indicative targets. The measures in the structural benchmarks were also all completed, although there were short delays compared to initial plans for technical reasons.

The authorities’ macroeconomic policy framework for 2014 provides a solid basis to continue to reinforce external and fiscal sustainability. The authorities remain on track with their objective to reduce public debt below 50 percent of GDP by 2018, while increasing allocations to address social needs. Monetary policy will continue to aim to stabilize inflation at low levels and to accumulate international reserves, and the authorities and staff agreed on the need to strengthen the monetary policy framework to improve the transmission mechanism. Structural reforms aim to extend improvements in financial discipline to the broader public sector, including through rebalancing utility prices to reduce implicit subsidies and through better oversight of parastatals, which staff stressed was key to avoiding potential future losses and ensuring better focus on their core mandates. Financial sector reforms seek to increase access to credit.

With the completion of this review, the EFF arrangement comes to an end. The program’s key objective of placing the economy firmly on the path to external and fiscal sustainability has been achieved, based on the successful implementation of the debt restructuring, robust fiscal consolidation, and the resumption of growth. Public debt has been brought down from 124 percent of GDP at end-2009 to an estimated 71 percent at the end of 2013, reflecting an average primary surplus of over 6 percent of GDP and growth of 3½ percent. Inflation has fallen below 5 percent. External reserves, a vital buffer for such an open economy, have improved from just over 2 months of imports at the start of the program to over 3½ months at the end of 2013.

While substantial progress has been achieved under the current Extended Fund Facility (EFF), the economy faces continuing vulnerabilities from still high debt levels, low reserve coverage, and an unfinished reform process. The authorities indicated their intention to request a successor arrangement with the IMF to consolidate and extend the progress made during this EFF. Discussions on a possible successor arrangement will continue early next year.

1 The Extended Fund Facility under the Extended Arrangement is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries facing serious medium-term balance of payments problems because of structural weaknesses that require time to address. Assistance under the extended facility features longer program engagement—to help countries implement medium-term structural reforms—and a longer repayment period. (See http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/eff.htm). Details on Seychelles’ arrangement are available at http://www.imf.org/seychelles

2 The Executive Board takes decisions under its lapse-of-time procedure when the Board agrees that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

 

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Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are being persecuted: Information to be made public in the next few months will clear them

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013

African Press International (API)

  • This story has been updated – see below on updated marked 29.4.2013:

The next few months will bring a twist to the whole trial in the Hague against Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto, the two men supposed to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

Information expected to be released will expose the manipulations that took place engineered by Mr Ocampo in order to succeed to have them stand trial after the Confirmation of Charges Hearing that took place in September/October last year 2011.

The information is so embarrassing that it will cause difficulty for the prosecution to carry on with the case. They will have to ask the court to free them.

Some members of the prosecution who are privy to the information are now very troubled, knowing that the deal, once out in the open, will expose impunity within their ranks.

The officials privy…

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“South Sudan faces large displacement and protection crisis”– UN expert calls for dialogue to halt violence

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013


GENEVA, Switzerland, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ “South Sudan will face a large displacement and protection crisis, if the situation is not managed with restraint or if political dialogue does not take place,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, warned today.

“I am deeply concerned about this violent upsurge, and the targeting of civilians, and call on all those involved to cease hostilities immediately,” Mr. Beyani said, adding his voice to those of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

More than 34,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought shelter in UN compounds in Juba, Bor and Bentiu due to the violence that broke out in South Sudan’s capital earlier this week. “The real scale of the internal displacement remains unclear at this stage as violence has started to spread across the country,” the expert said.

“This is primarily a political crisis that is spreading into an increasingly ethnicized conflict across South Sudan,” he said. Initial reports indicate several hundreds have died with many more injured. “Ethnically targeted violence is already reported and could escalate unrest across the rest of the world’s youngest nation,” Mr. Beyani noted.

Clashes in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, began on Sunday, 15 December 2013, allegedly triggered by either a mutiny or an attempted coup. The President’s dismissal of the former Vice President in July 2013 along with the entire Cabinet had already intensified political frictions along ethnic lines.

The war-torn capital of Jonglei, Bor, is now reported to be under the control of troops defected from South Sudan’s Liberation Army (SPLA). “This is likely to exacerbate the already volatile situation and displacement in Jonglei,” the expert noted.

The Special Rapporteur, who recently undertook an official mission* to look into the situation of internally displaced persons in South Sudan, welcomed the initiative of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to begin political dialogue in South Sudan.

 

SOURCE

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

 

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Civil war is creeping in slowly in South Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013

OSLO, Norway, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “The political leaders in South Sudan must take responsibility for stopping the violence and resolving the conflict through political talks. Unless the violence is brought under control soon, I am afraid the situation could develop into a new civil war,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The civil war that raged in Sudan for more than 20 years, and finally ended in 2005 when a peace agreement was signed between the north and south, caused terrible suffering for the population.

“The current violent conflict in South Sudan and the constant reports of attacks on civilians on the basis of ethnicity give serious cause for concern. I urge the UN, theAfrican Union and other regional organisations to do what they can to persuade the parties to stop the violence and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Norway is prepared to assist where needed with the resources we have at our disposal,” said Mr Brende.

The spread of violence from the capital to other parts of the country is further cause for concern. The UN has confirmed that at least two peacekeepers and two civilians were killed in an attack on the UN base in Jonglei state in South Sudan on 19 December. A group of civilians had sought refuge in the UN base.

“I condemn the killing of the two Indian UN peacekeepers serving in South Sudan in the strongest terms. Attacks on the UN mission and on civilians who have sought protection from the UN are completely unacceptable,” said Mr Brende.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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Uganda gays face life in prison

Posted by African Press International on December 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

Uganda’s parliament passes a bill to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life in jail and force people to report gay activities.Read More…

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