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Archive for December 7th, 2013

Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

5 December 2013:


Yesterday the Dutch government decided to offer debt relief to Sudan, an extraordinarily misguided action, the more so since Sudan was the only country favored by such relief.  The decision is bad for many reasons, but most conspicuously because of the encouragement it gives the present regime in Khartoum to believe that other nations and institutions will offer similar relief; indeed, according to some observers this was the thinking on the part of some in the Dutch parliament.  The amount to be forgiven is relatively small— €150 million or about $US200 million—given the massive debt that has accrued largely under the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime: some $45 billion, according to the IMF.  Debt was only a fraction of this before the military coup that brought the NIF/NCP to power in 1989.  And despite gross mismanagement of the economy, the regime now believes there is hope it will be given a lifeline by which to survive current civil unrest in the country.

Let’s be clear: There is simply no country in the world less deserving of debt relief than Sudan—not one.  Coincidentally, two days earlier, Transparency International released the results of its Global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2013.  Sudan ranked at 174 out of 177 countries surveyed, with only Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia faring worse in the Index.  Moreover, Sudan’s score actually declined this past year; there is absolutely no sign of improvement.  This is important because many of the reasons for Sudan’s external indebtedness derive from corruption, which takes various forms: the vast system of cronyism that provides political support to the regime; the illegal appropriation and sale of valuable farmland to foreign companies; the impunity afforded to the security services in extortion and asset-stripping of humanitarian organizations and “non-Arab” Sudanese; and the monumental graft that has defined the regime for more than two decades—all of these have compelled unneeded or misdirected borrowing…. [ English original continued at]

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IFJ/FAJ Back Journalists Protest over Oppressive Media Bill in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) are giving their full backing to journalists in Kenya in their battle against a contentious Media Bill that threatens press freedom in the country.

IFJ/FAJ affiliate, the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA), is on Tuesday, 3 December, led hundreds of journalists in peaceful protests against the oppressive clauses of the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment (KICA) Bill.

“We support our affiliate’s stance and all journalists in Kenya,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “This Bill’s draconian provisions are gagging the media. We call on all journalists and press freedom advocate to gather as one to reject the provisions.”

The KCA says the bill, recently passed by Kenya’s National Assembly, provides heavy financial penalties for journalists and media houses which are designed to gag the media and intimidate journalists into not covering stories deemed critical by the government and the ruling elite.

“We stand by all journalists and call on them to mobilize in order to make the protest successful. This Bill is an attempt to undermine freedoms of expression and association in the country and all journalists and media practitioners must refuse that,” said Mohamed Garba, FAJ president.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) have recently expressed serious concerns about the intimidation of journalists in Kenya and some provisions of the country’s media bill.

It has provisions for a Communications and Multi-Media Tribunal which will fine journalists up to 5,952 US Dollars if found guilty of writing stories considered in violation of the Act, and a fine of USD 238,095 US Dollars in the event that the tribunal finds them guilty of violation of provisions of the act, largely on stories considered critical of the government.

. The KCA says the Bill, which was forwarded to President Uhuru Kenyatta for assent, has now been returned to the National Assembly by the President but with recommendations which are still unacceptable to the media industry.

According to the KCA, the president only declined to assent to the Bill after protests from stakeholders but has sent it back to the National Assembly with a memorandum that reinforces some of the offensive clauses, including entrenching government control of the media.

“We had consultations with the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Communications and tabled our recommendation on the Bill but we realize there are forces within the executive who are bent on gagging the media,” said KCA chairman William Oloo Janak.




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Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has put investors who had encroached on the riparian land on notice

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

  • BY JACK MARWA LAKE 6TH,december, Kenya

Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has put investors who had encroached on the riparian land on notice and asked them to move out to conserve the land. He at the same time called for the opening of all access corridors around the water body as the lake is of great economic value to the national and county governments. The governor said the invasion of the land has contributed to pollution of the lake.

He said the lake is of great economic value to the national and county governments. “We are working with development partners to address the issue of sewer and storm water which is polluting the lake,” he said. He expressed his concern over the sharp increase in cases of poaching around Lake Naivasha and said was as a major security threat to major investments around the water body. “At the moment we are experiencing drought in parts of the country and I call on those around the lake to accommodate the pastoralists by giving them access to water,” he said.

Mbugua was addressing the press in Simba Lodge Naivasha during a consultative meeting on Lake Naivasha which was organized by The Imarisha Naivasha board. He admitted that the lake faced various challenges and praised the Imarisha Naivasha and Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) for their efforts in conserving the lake. The chairman of the Imarisha board Richard Fox said that the workshop was meant to come up with a road map on conserving the lake. Fox said that the road map would address issues of the riparian land, access roads to the lake, poaching, pastures and water for pastoralists.

“This meeting has brought together various stakeholders and various challenges facing Lake Naivasha will be addressed,” he said. On his part Nakuru County Commissioner Mohammed Birik termed Lake Naivasha as an important body to the country’s economy. The commissioner said that all communities should benefit from the lake warning that conflicts increased during dry seasons. Birik added that deforestation in the catchment area was leading to a bad situation and called for concerted efforts to conserve water towers.



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AfricaLive 06/12/2013; Nelson Mandela’s death touches many

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

AfricaLive 06/12/2013 Nelson Mandela‘s death touches many


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Pentagon approves $1.1 billion Raytheon missile sale to Saudi Arabia

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon has approved the sale of more than 15,000 Raytheon Co anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia under two separate deals valued at nearly $1.1 billion.READ more…… 


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Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

NEW YORK, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gérard Araud ( France):

The members of the Security Council are profoundly saddened to hear of the death of President Nelson Mandela. He was an inspirational leader who transformed the lives of millions of people around the world. The members of the Security Council extend their deepest condolences to his family and to the Government and people of South Africa at this time.

The members of the Security Council express their deepest admiration for the outstanding qualities of moral and political leadership displayed by Nelson Mandela throughout his lifetime. His lifelong fight against racial oppression and his decisive role in shaping the peaceful transition to a united and democratic South Africa are a lasting legacy to his country and to the world.

The members of the Security Council commend the adoption in 2009 of Nelson Mandela International Day, the first ever international day in honour of an individual. The members of the Security Council consider this to be a reflection of the magnitude of Nelson Mandela’s contribution to freedom and justice. Nelson Mandela Day is a celebration of the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact, just as Nelson Mandela did himself.

The members of the Security Council express their solidarity with the people of South Africa at this sad time. President Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as someone who gave up so much of his life in the struggle for freedom, so that millions could have a brighter future.





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Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

VATICAN, Holy See, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence to Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, on the death of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela yesterday.

In the text, the Pope extended his condolences to the Mandela family, members of government, and all South Africans. Pope Francis recalled “the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation, and truth.”

“I pray,” the message continues, “that the late president’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments,” the telegram concludes, “I invoke upon all the people of South Africa the divine gifts of peace and prosperity.”



Vatican Information Service (VIS)


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Statement by the US Vice President on the Death of Nelson Mandela

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Nelson Mandela once said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Mandela’s wisdom and compassion were formidable enough to change the world. First his courage and then his forgiveness inspired us all, and challenged us to do better. In the words of the South African poet Peter Horn, he “dreamed the world another way.”

I saw his world the way it used to be when I visited South Africa as a 34 year old Senator. When I exited the plane I was directed to one side of the tarmac, while the African American congressmen traveling with me were sent to the other side. I refused to break off, and the officials finally relented.

When I tried to enter Soweto township with Congressmen Andrew Young of Atlanta and Charles Diggs of Detroit, I remember their tears of anger and sadness. Because of Nelson Mandela’s courage, and compassion, that world has been transformed. One of my favorite Irish poets, Seamus Heaney once wrote: “History says, don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up, and hope and history rhyme.” In the hands of Nelson Mandela, hope and history rhymed. This is a better world because Nelson Mandela was in it. He was a good man.



The White House


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UN expert group launches first information-gathering visit to Morocco

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will undertake its first official visit to Morocco* to assess the situation of deprivation of liberty in the country.

During the ten-day visit from 9 to 18 December 2013, the group of independent experts will visit various detention facilities, including prisons, police stations and detention centres for migrants in irregular situations, in order to gather first-hand information from detainees, their families or representatives on their cases of deprivation of liberty.

The Working Group will also engage with relevant authorities as well as civil society organizations, in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Salé, Tanger and Laâyoune.

The delegation will consist of the Chair-Rapporteur Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway), Mr. El Hadji Malick Sow (Senegal) and Mr. Roberto Garretón (Chile). They will be accompanied by staff from the Working Group’s Secretariat at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A press conference on the preliminary observations of the Working Group will be held at La Tour Hassan Hotel, Rabat, on 18 December 2013 at 15:00.

The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2014.

(*) The Working Group will also visit Laâyoune, Western Sahara, on 15 and 16 December 2013.



United Nations – Off


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IMF Executive Board Completes Seventh and Final Review Under the Policy Support Instrument

Posted by African Press International on December 7, 2013

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the seventh and final review under Rwanda’s Policy Support Instrument (PSI) and approved a new three-year PSI. In completing the review, the Board approved the authorities’ request for a waiver for non-observance of the continuous assessment criteria related to the ceiling on contracting non-concessional borrowing (NCB).

The Executive Board took note of Rwanda’s cancellation of the current PSI, which was scheduled to expire in January 2014. The IMF’s framework for PSIs is designed for low-income countries that may not need financial assistance, but still seek IMF advice, monitoring, and endorsement of their policy frameworks. Members’ programs under PSIs are based on country-owned poverty reduction strategies adopted in a participatory process involving civil society and development partners (see Public Information Notice No. 05/145).

The authorities’ program aims to lay the foundations for strong and inclusive growth, with a strong emphasis on economic transformation; rural development; productivity and youth

employment; and accountable governance, supported by macroeconomic stability and improved public financial management. Rwanda’s program will build on the progress made under the previous PSI-supported program and is aligned with the objectives of the new economic development and poverty reduction strategy.

The Executive Board approved a three-year PSI for Rwanda on June 16, 2010 (see Press Release No. 10/247). On June 17, 2013, the Executive Board completed the sixth review and approved an extension of the PSI by seven months to end-January 2014 ( see Press Release No. 13/217).

Following the Executive Board’s discussion of Rwanda, Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated:

“The Rwandan authorities are to be commended for the strong implementation of their economic program under the Policy Support Instrument. Prudent and inclusive policies, good governance, and support from development partners have contributed to sustained economic growth and poverty reduction.

“Going forward, fiscal policy will need to focus on domestic revenue mobilization to finance the authorities’ ambitious development goals. Aligning spending with available resources and judicious selection and financing of investment projects will minimize risks to the budget. It will also be important to strengthen debt management capacity and follow a prudent approach to new borrowing to entrench long-term fiscal and debt sustainability. The central bank will need to closely monitor rising inflationary pressures and adjust the policy stance as needed while maintaining exchange rate flexibility. Efforts to increase financial inclusion and bolster the regulatory and supervisory frameworks should also be accelerated.

“The authorities’ new poverty reduction strategy aims to sustain high and inclusive growth. The authorities should maintain their commitment to prudent policies and pursue their broad reform agenda to tackle structural impediments. In particular, further reducing the costs of doing business and addressing infrastructure deficiencies would support economic diversification, foster private sector development, and broaden the export base. The renewed focus on integration at the East African Community level should help in this regard. Finally, continued emphasis on policies that will further assist poverty reduction efforts is welcome.”


Recent Economic Developments

Rwanda’s economic performance over the last decade has been an economic success story. Its macroeconomic performance has generally outperformed its peers in the region. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies geared toward maintaining macroeconomic stability, coupled with a strong emphasis on building institutional capacity, promoting good governance, and creating a business friendly environment, contributed to low inflation and average annual economic growth in excess of 8 percent over the last decade. Public debt remained modest and reserve buffers kept the economy resilient to shocks.

However, Rwanda faces some key vulnerabilities, including its high dependence on donor aid, low government revenue, narrow export base, and weak infrastructure, with resulting high costs of doing business that arise from relatively high energy and transport costs. For example, recent economic developments have been strongly influenced by the suspension and delays of aid flows last year, and their eventual resumption this year.

Reflecting the slowdown in the first half of the year, growth for 2013 is projected to be 6.6 percent. For 2014, growth of 7.5 percent is projected, supported by a recovery in agriculture and a pick-up in services. Headline inflation is projected to rise to 6.5 percent by end-2013, reflecting rising food prices because of a relatively poor second harvest.

Program Summary

The objectives of the new PSI program are centered around four key pillars:

Private sector development: Strong private sector development is an important pillar of the authorities’ economic transformation strategy. In this regard, the government intends to continue its investment program in strategic infrastructure to reduce the cost of doing business while deepening its reforms to continue improving the business environment.

Exports promotion: The new export strategy is aimed at increasing export earnings through broadening of the export base. The strategy focuses on a limited number of products with a view to diversify into non-traditional exports that are particularly agro-based while taking advantage of traditional exports to extend production and add value.

Domestic resource mobilization: In view of the important investment spending that is needed, one of the main priorities will remain creation of fiscal space through accelerated domestic resource mobilization and rationalization of spending.

Financial sector development: Financial sector development is the fourth pillar of the program. Financial inclusion is seen as a means to further ensure connection of the population to the market while increasing monetization of the economy. The financial reforms and the strengthening of capital markets are expected to allow mobilization of cheaper resources and support private sector investment.



International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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