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Archive for March 23rd, 2014

G4S guards face plane death charges

Posted by African Press International on March 23, 2014

  • March 20, 2014
    Three custody officers are to be charged with the manslaughter of an Angolan man who died while on a plane as he was deported from the UK. READ MORE…..

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One On One With Kenya’s Second Most Powerful Woman_Rachel Chebet Ruto

Posted by African Press International on March 23, 2014

One On One With Kenya’s Second Most Powerful Woman_Rachel Chebet Ruto

Now she is Kenya’s second most powerful woman today but Rachel Chebet Ruto is a woman with many hats and multiple responsibilities perhaps she is now prominently known for being the deputy president’s wife as well as the visible champion of women’s empowerment in kenya.
our crew spent time with her and tells us the story of this humble but amazing woman.

 

End

Source K24

 

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IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with West African

Posted by African Press International on March 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – On March 14 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the annual Discussion on Common Policies of Member Countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).1

The political and security situation in the region has stabilized. Peaceful elections took place in Mali and Togo and further progress has been made towards normalization in Côte d’Ivoire.

Regional growth remained strong and inflation moderate in 2013. After rebounding to 6.6 percent in 2012, regional growth reached 5.5 percent last year. This performance was driven by the post-crisis recovery in Côte d’Ivoire, public investment efforts, good harvests in several countries, and the beginning of oil production in Niger. Growth was particularly strong in Côte d’Ivoire, at about 9 percent, but also exceeded 5 percent in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo. The economy remained weak in Guinea-Bissau, and the drought in the Sahel took a heavy toll on GDP growth in post-crisis Mali. Regional inflation decreased to 1.6 percent, thanks to lower food prices.

Despite a substantial increase in public investment in 2013, the area-wide fiscal deficit (including grants) stabilized at about 3 percent of GDP. The composition of spending shifted in favor of investment, while grants and tax revenue increased in most countries. The average public debt ratio for the region recorded a small decline to about 39 percent of GDP. Monetary policy was further eased. The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) lowered the policy rates by 50 basis points in 2013 and increased liquidity injections as bank liquidity contracted and inflationary pressures remained moderate. Money growth remained moderate as the decline of net foreign assets was offset by strong growth in credit to the economy. Bank lending rates recorded a small decrease.

The area-wide current account deficit continued to increase in 2013 mainly owing to higher public investment and a sharp decline in gold prices. The current account deficit (including official transfers) widened to 6.7 percent in 2013. Imports of intermediate goods, equipment, and services were boosted by higher public investment in most countries. Gold exports, which now represent about 20 percent of total regional exports, dropped on account of falling international gold prices. The overall balance of payments recorded a slight deficit, which led to a small decline of official reserves to 4.7 months of next year’s extra-regional imports.

The regional surveillance framework is being reviewed to improve fiscal policy coordination. The existing criteria and enforcement mechanism suffer from a number of shortcomings. For instance, the key criterion on the basic fiscal deficit has often been violated and after debt relief the debt criterion is no longer constraining. In light of these issues, the WAEMU Commission has launched a review of the whole framework.

Executive Board Assessment2

Directors welcomed the strong growth performance and moderate inflation in the region and noted that the near-term outlook is for continued strong growth. Directors underscored that sustaining this momentum in the medium term, while preserving macroeconomic stability, will require consolidating improvements in regional security, high-quality public investment, and ambitious growth-enhancing reforms. Regional policies to improve competitiveness, foster economic, financial and trade integration, and financial sector development will enhance growth and strengthen resilience.

Directors viewed the current macroeconomic policy mix as appropriate. In light of the widening current account deficit and declining official reserves, they supported a pause in monetary easing. Given the strong growth outlook, Directors also encouraged the authorities to strengthen fiscal and debt sustainability and build buffers while maintaining public investment and expanding social safety nets. They emphasized the importance of additional efforts to improve the quality of spending and increase revenue mobilization.

Directors underscored the need to improve fiscal policy coordination, and they welcomed the ongoing review of the regional surveillance framework. Directors agreed that convergence criteria should aim at preserving fiscal and external sustainability, and that they should be simple and transparent, while leaving policy room for countries to respond to shocks. Adopting a participatory approach to the reform of the framework would increase ownership and compliance. Directors also recommended progress in the coordination of public finance management, debt management, and tax policy.

Directors welcomed the ongoing financial sector reforms, and looked forward to faster implementation. To foster financial deepening, priority should be given to developing the interbank and sovereign debt markets. Directors underscored that efforts to strengthen bank supervision should continue, so as to increase observance of prudential rules. Given that some of these rules need to be brought closer to international standards, Directors welcomed the authorities’ intention to move to Basel II and III regulation. They recommended tightening certain prudential rules in the meantime. They also encouraged further improving the crisis prevention and resolution framework.

Directors stressed the importance of enhancing regional trade integration for creating new opportunities, sustaining high growth, and increasing resilience. They encouraged coordinated action to remove nontariff barriers to trade, fill regional infrastructure gaps, and improve the business and legal environments. Directors noted the important role that structural transformation and diversification will have to play in fostering long-run growth. Efforts should also continue to improve the quality and timeliness of data.

The views expressed by Executive Directors today will form part of the Article IV consultation discussions on individual member states that take place until the next Board discussion of WAEMU common policies

WAEMU: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2010–2018

2010    2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018

Est.    Proj.    Proj.    Proj.    Proj.    Proj.

(Annual percentage change)

National income and prices

GDP at constant prices 4.2    1.2    6.6    5.5    6.5    6.3    7.1    6.7    6.3

GDP per capita at constant prices 1.2    -1.7    3.7    2.6    3.6    3.4    4.1    3.8    3.4

Broad money to GDP 8.3    6.3    -1.6    5.3    …    …    …    …    …

Consumer prices (average) 1.4    3.9    2.4    1.6    2.3    2.2    2.2    2.2    2.2

Terms of trade -0.4    6.4    -1.0    -0.8    1.2    0.9    -0.6    -0.7    -0.4

Nominal effective exchange rates  -4.3    1.7    -2.3    …    …    …    …    …    …

Real effective exchange rates -6.3    1.0    -2.7    …    …    …    …    …    …

(Percent of GDP)     National accounts

Gross national savings

14.9    17.6    14.4    15.1    14.6    15.5    15.9    16.1    16.5

Gross domestic investment 19.7    19.0    20.0    21.9    22.2    22.6    22.9    23.1    23.4

Of which: public investment  5.8    5.7    6.6    7.8    8.6    8.4    8.7    8.8    8.9

(Annual changes in percent of beginning-of-period broad money)

Money and credit 1

Net foreign assets  3.1    1.0    -2.1    -4.3    …    …    …    …    …

Net domestic assets 12.6    9.7    11.9    14.8    …    …    …    …    …

Broad money 15.7    10.7    9.8    10.6    …    …    …    …    …

(Percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

Government financial operations 2

Government total revenue, excl. grants  17.9    16.6    19.0    19.4    19.4    19.4    19.8    20.2    20.4

Government expenditure 23.3    23.2    24.8    25.3    26.9    25.5    25.7    25.8    25.8

Overall fiscal balance, excl. grants  -5.4    -6.5    -5.8    -5.9    -7.5    -6.1    -5.9    -5.7    -5.4

Official grants  2.3    2.5    2.2    2.9    3.2    2.9    2.8    2.7    2.5

Overall fiscal balance, incl. grants  -3.1    -4.0    -3.6    -3.0    -4.3    -3.2    -3.1    -3.0    -2.9

Basic fiscal balance, incl. grants & HIPC -0.7    -2.1    -2.1    -0.9    -1.1    -0.9    -0.8    -0.7    -0.6

External sector

Exports of goods and services 3   29.1    29.0    29.1    27.8    26.2    26.4    26.5    26.4    26.7

Imports of goods and services 3:   33.4    37.0    39.0    37.6    36.6    36.2    35.8    36.1

Current account, excl. grants 4: 6.8    -3.3    -7.1    -10.5    -10.4    -9.1    -9.0    -8.6    -8.4

Current account, incl. grants 4: -5.0    -2.0    -5.6    -6.7    -7.6    -7.1    -7.0    -7.0    -7.0

External public debt 32.5    31.5    26.5    26.8    27.8    27.8    27.6    27.3    27.1

Total public debt 44.4    44.3    39.7    38.8    38.7    38.5    38.2    37.5    37.1

Broad money 28.6    30.4    29.9    31.5    …    …    …    …    …

Memorandum items:

Nominal GDP (billions of CFA francs)

34,779    36,688    40,200    43,220    47,056    51,117    55,869    60,869    66,068.8

Nominal GDP per capita (US dollars)

714    768    756    816    895    961    1,040    1,122    1,202.7

CFA franc per US dollars, average

495    472    511    494    …    …    …    …    …

Euro per US dollars, average

0.76    0.72    0.78    0.75    …    …    …    …    …

Foreign exchange cover ratio 5  99.9    97.2    98.4    91.2    …    …    …    …    …

Reserves in months of imports

(excl. intra-WAEMU imports) 6.6    5.7    5.0    4.7    …    …    …    …    …

Sources: IMF, African Department database; World Economic Outlook; IMF staff estimates.

1The estimates for 2013 refer to annual change at end-June, with the beginning-of-period referring to end-June 2012.

2 Fiscal data for 2014 reflect a strong increase in the fiscal deficit of Niger, following a new project in the hydrocarbon sector.

3. E xcluding intraregional trade.

4 Data up to 2011 are corrected for intraregional trade discrepancies by BCEAO.

5 Gross official reserves divided by short-term domestic liabilities (IMF definition). The estimates for end-September 2013.

1. Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here:http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm

2. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here:http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Philips to establish Research & Innovation Hub in Africa

Posted by African Press International on March 23, 2014

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya will be the center for developing innovations “in Africa-for Africa” in the areas of healthcare, lighting and healthy living.

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ 

•          The Philips Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya will be the center for developing innovations “in Africa-for Africa” in the areas of healthcare, lighting and healthy living

•          Hub underlines Philips’ commitment to invest in Africa and provide Africa-relevant innovations to address key challenges facing the continent

Nairobi, Kenya – Royal Philips (http://www.philips.com) (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG) today announced the establishment of its Africa Innovation Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, which underlines the company’s commitment to invest in Africa. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will work both on the creation of new inventions, as well as bringing these inventions to the market.

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will do application-focused scientific and user studies to address key challenges like improving access to lighting and affordable healthcare as well as developing innovations to meet the aspirational needs of the rising middle class in Africa.

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will be located at the Philips East African Headquarters in Nairobi, where African talents and international researchers will operate on the concept of “open innovation” and will work in close collaboration with the R&D ecosystem of Kenya and Africa. Philips is in discussions with local organizations and Universities on R&D collaborations to co-create meaningful solutions for Africa.

“We welcome the establishment of Philips’ Innovation Hub in Kenya; Philips is a globally recognized innovation powerhouse and their selection of Nairobi as the site to establish their African Innovation hub is a testament to the Kenyan government’s commitment to nurture the drive for research and innovation in the region”, says, Hon’ble Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development. “We lend our full support to the investment being made by Philips and look forward to the outcomes of their Africa-specific research and projects that can contribute to transforming society, business and government across the continent”.

JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President & CEO Philips Africa states: “Philips is passionate to invent, apply technology and partner to help people succeed. Our ambition is to create impactful innovations that matter to people and address the key challenges that confront society. With Kenya as a leader in the continent in science and entrepreneurship as well as a hub of collaboration on technology and innovation, Nairobi, is the ideal location to establish Philips’ African research presence. We want to tap into the city’s vibrant R&D eco-system and contribute to the process of co-creating new solutions, new business models and meaningful partnerships to provide innovations that make an impact.”

Enhancing people’s lives in Africa though meaningful innovations

Some innovations that Philips was already working on have now become part of the Innovation Hub, hence, the Philips Africa Innovation Hub will kick-off with ventures that are under development as well as in the pilot phase; these include:

Respiratory rate monitor to support pneumonia diagnosis: Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five, resulting in 1.1 million deaths worldwide annually (1). Of these, 99% of deaths occur in developing countries in low-resource settings, which typically entail rural areas with very limited or poor healthcare facilities or with low-skilled health workers. The current diagnostic tools in such settings are not easy to use, can easily distract the workers from an accurate conclusion, and thus lead to a poor diagnosis.

The Innovation hub is working on the development and clinical testing of a robust and affordable Automated Respiratory Rate Monitor that aims to support the diagnosis of pneumonia among infants and children, using smart sensing technology on the body which is intended to be more accurate and reliable compared to manual processes being currently observed. This device will be specially designed for use by community health workers and nurses in rural areas. In Kenya, discussions are on with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to further develop this project and co-create an effective solution tailored to circumstances in rural Africa.

Community care services: The development and testing of a work-flow innovation designed to reduce the number of avoidable maternal and child deaths. The purpose of the workflow is to enable remote area health centers to diagnose, triage, treat, stabilize and (prepare for) transport expectant mothers that come in for a check-up and treatment.

Smokeless cook stove: Philips has designed and is manufacturing this innovative stove to improve the lives of those who rely on wood or biomass for their daily cooking. These specially designed stoves are extremely efficient and significantly reduce the use of wood as fuel. The cook stove can reduce smoke and carbon monoxide emissions by more than 90% compared to an open fire (2)  thus reducing the health risks of indoor cooking. The contribution of the innovation hub is to create new go-to-market models for these stoves.

Consumer solar solutions: Today an estimated 560 million Africans live without electricity; Philips is committed to improving access to lighting in Africa, for the majority of the population that lives in off-grid communities. The Innovation hub is designing and developing new consumer products using the combination of solar power and energy efficient LED technology. New go-to-market models are also being established to ensure these solutions become accessible to people that would not be able to afford them otherwise.

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub while headquartered in Kenya, will be responsible for pan-African research and projects and will have operations across Africa, linked to the Philips regional offices across the continent; the hub will be headed by Dr. Maarten van Herpen and will work in close collaboration with the Philips research labs in Bangalore, Shanghai and Eindhoven.

(1) Source: Unicef http://www.unicef.org/media/media_70890.html

(2) Reference source: Water boiling test version 4.2.2 done at accredited stove laboratory, Aprovecho Research Center (http://www.aprovecho.org/lab/index.php), Oregon, USA.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Royal Philips.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (http://www.philips.com) (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 115,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located athttp://www.philips.com/newscenter.

SOURCE

Royal Philips

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