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Archive for February 27th, 2014

“Enough is enough”: the women of the DRC demand an end to sexual violence & conflict

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2014

No more war on women’s bodies

BUKAVU (South Kivu), Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC), February 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A fact-finding mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo—led by Nobel peace laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and organized by the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict—today called on the government of the DRC and the international community to put women at the centre of peace efforts and bring an end to rampant sexual violence.

“They say that the DRC is the rape capital of the world,” said Gbowee.  “But what I see is that it is the capital of strong women and solidarity among women.  We are here to support the courageous women who have survived rape and other forms of sexual violence—and are now working to help other survivors.  These women are the peacemakers, and they need to be supported to bring true peace to this country.  They have told us:  ‘enough is enough’–no more war on women’s bodies.”

The group, which also included American journalists, philanthropists and women’s right experts, visited Kigali (Rwanda), Bunia in the Orientale province of the DRC and Bukavu in South Kivu of the DRC.  At each stop, the group met with women’s organizations, grassroots groups working on justice, provincial government officials, and officials from the UN and other international organizations—and also toured women-led projects aimed at supporting survivors of sexual violence.  The delegation came to the DRC at the invitation of women’s organizations in the DRC that are part of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.

“We work with organizations around the world who care deeply about the situation of women in the DRC,” said Julienne Lusenge, the President of Solidarite Feminine pour la Paix et le Developpment Integral (SOFEPADI).  “Together with our partners in the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, we are calling upon the governments of the region to come together with us to ensure adequate access to care for survivors of sexual violence all across the DRC—and end the impunity that still exists for committing rape and other atrocities against women.”

The fact-finding mission met with over 350 women in the DRC.  The women presented the delegation with key recommendations for the government of the DRC, governments in the region as well as the international community.  The recommendations include greater protection for human rights defenders, effective application of transitional justice in DRC and reparations for survivors, access to a full range of services for survivors (medical, psychological, legal and socio-economic, family planning) across the DRC, reform of the police, army and other judiciary mechanisms and the full implementation of the National Action Plan on Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

One of the key concerns is the lack of adequate funding for grassroots women’s organizations.

“Groups like SOFEPADI do so much—with so little,” said Elizabeth Bernstein, the Executive Director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative (http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org), an organization created by six women Nobel peace laureates.  “These small organizations have the knowledge and skills to provide a full range of services to women in the DRC.  We are calling for more direct support to such grassroots organizations.”

The delegation will end it’s mission in Kigali, where it will be meeting with local officials, members of the diplomatic community and representatives of international agencies.

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The Nobel Women’s Initiative (http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org) was established in 2006, and is led by Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and Mairead Maguire. The Nobel Women’s Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and of courageous women peace laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality.

SOURCE

The Nobel Women’s Initiative

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Tanzania: Taking Steps to Enhance Fiscal Sustainability

Posted by African Press International on February 27, 2014

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, February 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Paolo Mauro, visited Tanzania during February 12–25, 2014. The mission completed the assessment of the recent performance under the Standby Credit Facility (SCF) and discussed a possible new Policy Support Instrument (PSI) program.i The mission met with Hon. Saada Mkuya Salum, Minister of Finance, Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and other senior government officials.

Mr. Mauro released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“Performance under the government’s IMF-supported SCF program has been broadly favorable. Economic growth remains strong. With continued prudent monetary policy and benign developments in food prices in the region, inflation is expected to further moderate by mid-2014 to the medium term target of 5 percent. The current account deficit widened further in 2013, as the global prices of gold and traditional exports weakened.

“Fiscal pressures last year (fiscal year 2012/13, July to June) resulted in the ceiling on net domestic financing agreed under the government’s IMF-supported program being breached by 1.2 percent of GDP. During the current fiscal year (2013/14), revenues are falling short of the assumptions embedded in the budget approved by Parliament. To attain a fiscal deficit close to the 5 percent of GDP target in the budget, the government has been appropriately cautious in releasing funds for budget implementation. The upcoming mid-year budget review is expected to reduce expenditure allocations to align these with available resources. Meanwhile, expenditure arrears have increased considerably, especially for road projects. To preserve the credibility of fiscal policy, further policy measures are needed to avoid the accumulation of new arrears and to clear existing ones after verification.

“Preserving macro-economic stability is necessary for rapid growth to continue in the medium term. The key challenge is to preserve fiscal space for infrastructure investment and priority social spending while gradually reducing the fiscal deficit to maintain debt sustainability. The government’s tax policy reforms under preparation, including a review of the value added tax, have the potential to improve efficiency and to mobilize additional resources while sharing the burden more fairly. Nevertheless, the revenue shortfalls and subsequent expenditure compression experienced during the current fiscal year reinforce the importance of making realistic revenue assumptions during the upcoming budget cycle.

“Agreement was reached at the technical level on policy measures that, once endorsed by the Government, would permit concluding the final review under the SCF, subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board. Broad agreement was also reached on the general outlines of a program that could eventually be supported under a new PSI, once detailed discussions are completed.

“The next IMF Executive Board meeting is tentatively planned for late April 2014.

“The IMF team is appreciative of the constructive and open policy dialogue and thanks the authorities for their warm hospitality during the visit.”

i The SCF supports low-income countries that have reached broadly sustainable macroeconomic positions, but may experience episodic, short-term financing and adjustment needs, including those caused by shocks. The SCF supports countries’ economic programs aimed at restoring a stable and sustainable macroeconomic position consistent with strong and durable growth and poverty reduction. It also provides policy support and can help catalyze foreign aid. (See http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/scf.htm.) The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Tanzania’s current SCF are available athttp://www.imf.org/tanzania

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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