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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

IOM launches Christmas HIV Awareness for Mozambican mine workers back from South Africa

Posted by African Press International on December 19, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– IOM organizes, this week, an HIV awareness and testing campaign for mine workers returning from the South African gold and platinum mines for the holidays. The campaign, which also marks International Migrants’ Day on December 18th, will be done in Ressano Garcia border town, a thriving border post which is the main artery linking Mozambique and South Africa.

Mozambique currently has around 35,000 registered mine workers in South Africa; many of them return to their communities of origin over the Christmas period to celebrate with their families. The border office extends its opening hours to 24 hours a day in order to manage the sharp increase in Mozambicans returning from South Africa.

At least 1.5 million Mozambicans are estimated to be living in South Africa, the regional economic hub. The dynamics of migration increase the HIV vulnerability of migrants mine workers and their families. Regions from where the mine workers originated have the most heavily affected HIV communities in the country, with up to one in three adults living with the virus.

During the week of activities, The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) volunteers, who have been trained in IOM’s health promotion model, will conduct outreach activities targeting mine workers at TEBA’s office in Ressano Garcia border town to stimulate demand for HIV-related services. Activities include: one-on-one dialogue, radio listening groups, theatre, singing, dancing, and video shows. Volunteers will also refer mine workers to on-site counselling and testing services provided by the Estradas (roads) project called FHI360′s, and collect information about miners’ destinations to provide follow-up services in their community.

The collaboration between IOM, TEBA and FHI360 is funded by USAID/PEPFAR, under the project Community-Based Responses to HIV and AIDS in Mine-Sending Communities in Mozambique (Txivirika). In this role, IOM provides capacity-building and day-to-day technical support to TEBA Development to implement its USAID/PEPFAR Txivirika project.

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

 

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NGO Bill threatens to hinder civil society’s work in South Sudan, UN rights experts warn

Posted by African Press International on December 19, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Three United Nations Special Rapporteurs today warned that the NGO Bill currently discussed by Parliament in South Sudan threatens the work and independence of civil society organizations in the country.

“The Government oversight proposed in the draft law goes beyond simple notification requirements and veers into the territory of excessive control,” they stressed.

 

“We urge the Government of South Sudan to reject legislation that would unduly restrict the sectors in which associations can work and narrowly defines permissible objectives for these associations, severely limiting the independence of such groups,” they said.

 

The human rights experts reiterated their serious concern about the growing trend in Africa and elsewhere to wield more governmental control over independent groups using so-called ‘NGO laws’. “South Sudan’s NGO Bill is yet further evidence of a worrying tendency worldwide,” they noted.

 

The NGO Bill also includes burdensome registration and re-registration requirements and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the proposed law.

 

“The ability of civil society organizations to engage in activities of their own choosing is fundamental to the right to freedom of association,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, said. “And this right is critical in ensuring that newly formed (or constituted) countries such as South Sudan develop in a way that strengthens democracy and development.”

 

The NGO Bill also subjects civil society organizations to a regulatory body mainly composed of Government representatives and members appointed by the Government. This body has broad authority ‘to facilitate and coordinate the work of all national and foreign’ NGOs and ‘to provide policy guidelines for harmonizing their activities with the National Development Plan for South Sudan,’ and the power ‘to receive and consider application for work permits in respect of prospective employees of a registered NGO.’

“The vague provisions and administrative discretion provided in the NGO Bill could be wielded as tools to suppress dissenting views and opinions,” the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, cautioned. “NGOs working in governance, anti-corruption and human rights would be particularly at risk.”

Other vague provisions allow for the revocation of the registration status to organizations that contravene the principles of ‘Participation of local communities’ and require that civil society organizations not interfere with ‘national policies, which are too broad grounds for revoking registration

“These provisions clearly undermine the independence of civil society and place undue restrictions on the right to freely associate which limits the ability of human rights defenders to claim rights for all,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, underscored.

 

SOURCE

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

 

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IFC Helps Bank of Africa Côte d’Ivoire Support Trade, Small Business Growth

Posted by African Press International on December 17, 2013

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has committed a $2 million trade finance guarantee to Bank of Africa Côte d’Ivoire and signed an agreement to provide the bank with advisory services to help it increase lending to smaller businesses in the country.

IFC’s support for BOACI will help hundreds of the bank’s small business clients gain financing to engage in cross-border trade, or to take loans to buy equipment or material for expansion. IFC’s advisory support program aims to help BOACI grow its portfolio of small business loans by 20 percent by 2016.

Lala Moulaye, Director General of the BOACI, said, “The trade finance guarantee from IFC will allow us to better support Côte d’Ivoire’s smaller importers and exporters. This partnership will help BOACI finance smaller businesses, grow its SME portfolio, and enhance its presence in international markets.”

Peer Stein, IFC Access to Finance Advisory Director, said, “IFC’s partnership with BOACI will help strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s financial infrastructure and its small business sector, which plays a critical role in job creation and the health of the country’s economy. IFC is committed to Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term growth and our investments in the country are expected to total $250 million this fiscal year.”

IFC’s one-year advisory support program is specifically designed to help BOACI improve its market knowledge of the SME sector, roll out an SME strategy, and improve its risk management framework. IFC will also train about sixty BOACI staff on risk management and working with SMEs.

The $2 million trade finance facility, provided by IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, will allow BOACI to establish working partnerships with a number of major international and regional confirming banks in the program, strengthening regional trade.

Although Côte d’Ivoire is one of the strongest and most diversified economies in West Africa, its smaller businesses still struggle to obtain the financing and support they need to expand or take on more employees.

IFC’s partnership with BOACI is part of its broader strategy to help Côte d’Ivoire’s smaller businesses more easily obtain financing and access training opportunities. IFC is also supporting growth in Côte d’Ivoire’s power, tourism, and agribusiness sectors and, with the World Bank, is advising the country on investment climate reforms.

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

 

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Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

Posted by African Press International on December 17, 2013


Op-ed by WaterAid: Africa’s once in a generation opportunity

UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Op-ed by Lindlyn Moma, Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa (http://www.wateraid.org)

Africa’s leaders have in their hands a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the international development agenda, not just for their continent but for the whole globe.

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

Lindlyn Moma is Regional Advocacy Manager for WaterAid in Southern Africa

The continent’s leaders are in the midst of negotiating the Africa Common Position (ACP) on what the UN framework for development will look like after 2015. The outcome will be hugely influential.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has pointed out that we are the first generation that has the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty. We must ensure that no one is left behind.

As we debate how to achieve this, we must not forget about the work yet to be completed on the UN Millennium Development Goals. These eight ambitious goals, set in 2000 to address hunger, extreme poverty and other issues crippling the developing world, run out in 2015.

Sanitation is the most off track of all of these goals. UN figures show some 70% of sub-Saharan Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation, while over a quarter — nearly 230 million people — practise open defecation.

This has devastating consequences for the continent. Over a thousand African children under the age of five die every day because of this lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation.

Last month, Secretary-General Ban called upon the world to “urgently step up” its efforts and put sanitation at the heart of post-2015 development.

Failing to do so will carry measurable financial costs.

UN estimates suggest about 5% of the continent’s wealth is being lost from this lack of access to water and sanitation. If everyone had access to these services, it would add $33 billion US a year to the continent’s economies, according to a conservative 2012 estimate by economists at the World Health Organisation.

Ghana alone, for instance, according to a World Bank assessment, loses $290 million US each year to a lack of sanitation services. Kenya loses $324 million, Nigeria a staggering $3 billion.

Making access to sanitation and safe water a top priority in the African Common Position presents an opportunity for Africa’s children, and for economic growth. This is also in line with the Africa Water Vision 2025.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with the UN-established High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, has already called for a new UN development goal of universal access to water and sanitation. In following that lead, African leaders can be seen to be listening to the voices of its citizens, including women and girls, who are calling for the prioritisation of water and sanitation post-2015.

As we now mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of justice for the African people, we also remember his calls for an African Renaissance.

Safe water and better sanitation can help address so many of the challenges Africa faces today, from reducing the HIV transmission rate to improving child health and school attendance. As Mandela himself said: “Water is central in the social, economic and political affairs of the African continent.”

By prioritising safe water and sanitation, Africa’s leaders can also ensure the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals is dealt with strategically. Africa’s leaders can set the continent onto a trajectory so that by 2030, everyone has access to this basic right to sanitation.

If we miss this opportunity, we risk leaving hundreds of millions of people on the continent behind, stranding them far from that promise of an African Renaissance.

 

SOURCE

WaterAid

 

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Switzerland: The fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

Posted by African Press International on December 15, 2013


Switzerland steps up its commitment to the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

 

BERN, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Federal Council has approved a contribution of CHF 60 million for the 2014-2016 period for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Switzerland was one of the founders of the Geneva-based fund in 2002 and has been one of its key partners since the beginning. Malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis remain the leading causes of death in sub-Saharan Africa. These three diseases are among the most important factors hampering development.

 

Three diseases – malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis – are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide, and especially in Africa. Malaria remains the leading parasitic disease worldwide. In 99 countries, approximately 219 million new cases are registered every year. About half of the world’s population lives in areas affected by malaria. The WHO estimates that in countries in Africa with endemic malaria the disease lowers economic growth by 1.3 percentage points per year.

 

Some 2.5 million people are still becoming newly infected with HIV every year and more than 1.7 million people die of AIDS-related illnesses every year worldwide. In the case of tuberculosis, the estimated number of annual deaths is 1.4 million. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis frequently occur in combination, making them very difficult to treat in developing countries.

 

Nevertheless, considerable progress has been made in the fight against these three diseases over the past ten years. For example, new HIV infections declined by 33% worldwide, and by more than 50% among children in medium-income countries. Some 8 million people in Africa are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy – a twenty-fold increase from 2003. Significant progress has also been made in the fight against tuberculosis: the TB mortality rate has fallen by approximately 41% since 1990. The UN’s millennium development goal of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases by 2015 and gradually reversing their incidence is thus within reach.

 

The fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis is a high priority for international development cooperation as well as for Switzerland. The significant progress achieved so far can no doubt be attributed amongst others to the efforts of GFATM, which is the biggest backer in the fight against these three diseases.

 

SOURCE

Switzerland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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United States Dedicates New U.S. Embassy in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Posted by African Press International on December 13, 2013

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC, December 11, 2013

In an important symbol of our friendship and bilateral relationship with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Mark L. Asquino presided over the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy complex in Malabo today.

The new multi-building complex provides embassy employees with a safe, secure, and modern workplace. Situated on a 12.5-acre site in the Malabo Dos section of the capital, the complex includes a chancery building, a service/utility building, an access pavilion, Chief of Mission residence, Deputy Chief of Mission residence, staff housing, and a recreational facility.

The $71 million project incorporates numerous sustainable features to conserve resources and reduce operating costs, including an energy recovery unit that reduces the need for heating and cooling, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, and the use of regional and recycled materials. The new Embassy is registered with the U.S. Green Building Certification Institute as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) facility.

The facility was designed by Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey (KCCT) of Washington, DC, and constructed by Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery, Alabama.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has completed 108 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 36 projects in design or under construction.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Nelson Mandela is not dead: Gracious God has taken him to rest in peace in his eternal Kingdom

Posted by African Press International on December 6, 2013

Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela has been Graciously taken home by the Lord. His spirit lives on within those who loved him.

This was a man whose great wisdom brought peace amongst the White and Black South Africans. His light was shining throughout the world. People celebrated his life. Mandela was 95 years old. He will be buried in Eastern Cape – his hometown.

May his soul rest in eternal Peace and may our condolences give peace to his family.

End

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New York Forum Africa 2014 with the theme – the transformation of a continent

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

1,500 business and political leaders and eight heads of state attended last year’s NYFA, the world’s leading pan-African business summit

LIBREVILLE, Gabon, December 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The New York Forum AFRICA (NYFA) (http://www.ny-forum-africa.com) will again be held in Gabon’s capital Libreville in 2014, with the dates announced today as May 23-25. The theme for the Forum – the third to be held in the country – will be the Transformation of a Continent, and it will again be held under the High Patronage of His Excellency President Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic.

More than 1,500 business and political leaders and eight heads of state attended last year’s NYFA, the world’s leading pan-African business summit. In previous years, it focused on recognizing the economic potential of the continent and the imperatives for growth.

In 2014, the NYFA will focus on unlocking the competitiveness of the African economy through building value chains around the transformation of the continent’s natural resources, including its human capital.

President Bongo said: “In Gabon, we are moving away from the old economic model of a land rich in natural resources that made others wealthy, towards a diversified, competitive economy built on the principle that if we can create added value in Africa, we benefit our own people.

“By 2020, we must ban the exports of any products that have not undergone an initial transformation within our own country, so that we can diversify our economy and create higher revenues for our goods and services. It is imperative that we work together swiftly to build up competencies and competitiveness in these value-added industries to ensure we benefit long-term.”

In knowledge economies, such as those in the western world, education is the foundation of economic competitiveness and global prosperity – and is inseparable from the development of human capital. An assessment from the World Bank revealed that human capital contributes more than 60 per cent towards economic development, as compared to physical infrastructure (around 15 per cent) and natural resources (around 20 per cent).

Richard Attias, co-founder of the NYFA, said: “We must ensure that training and capacity building matches the real needs on the ground. With a solid education and good quality vocational training – tailored to the job market and to the local environment – will ensure that African men and women can transform their lives, their environments and their countries. The blossoming of information and communication technologies further adds to the huge potential for the transformation of African economies.”

Last year’s NYFA focused on the six imperatives for African economies to grow (independence, investment, incubation, innovation, infrastructure and inspiration) and played host to a summit of the heads of state of the CEMAC region.

The key themes for the NYFA 2014 include:

•          Transforming the continent’s human capital

•          Transforming natural resources and energy

•          Transforming the land for agriculture

•          Transforming investment into industry

•          Transforming connectivity and digital innovation into jobs

•          Transforming isolated marketing efforts into community and co-operative branding

•          Transforming communities for new African citizenship

And, in a major new development in 2014, the New York Forum AFRICA will play host to a Citizens’ Summit. Sixty Africans, under the age of 30, will take part in a series of round table discussions with ministers, corporations and heads of state to hear first-hand about their challenges, their hopes, their experiences in the workforce.

The findings will form a Citizens’ Manifesto, to be delivered to the top 10 companies in each of the CEMAC states as well as the head of state, and the top three educational institutions, and is an initiative of Train My Generation, the vocational training fund created and set up by the New York Forum AFRICA in 2013.

…………………………………………………………….

 

About New York Forum

The New York Forum® (http://www.ny-forum.com) was established with the conviction that business has arrived at a crossroads. It is crucial to send a strong optimistic message about the world economy’s future, to work towards redefining corporate governance, to create long-term value, and to re-invent business models through uniting all economic stakeholders.

Our goal focuses on consolidating the link between economic growth and job creation, on the importance of cities as key drivers of dynamism and innovation, on the challenges that are business leaders have to meet within a climate of volatility and uncertainty, and on the special opportunities created by the growth of emerging economies. http://www.ny-forum.com

About Richard Attias & Associates

Richard Attias & Associates (http://www.richardattiasassociates.com) is a strategic communications firm that provides private consultancy, idea initiatives, and live experiences. Our mission is to help leaders, corporations, and nations build their global influence, catalyse innovation, and lead the global exchange of ideas. Thanks to our strategic and operational expertise, we mould unforgettable experiences: interactive platforms, living laboratories of human capital, and cultural and historic exchanges that contribute to fostering a positive change for the international community. http://www.richardattiasassociates.com

SOURCE

Richard Attias & Associates (RAA)

 

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Africa’s Natural Resources – the need to place value

Posted by African Press International on December 2, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 2, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ African Ministers and Experts Spotlight Efforts to Incorporate Natural Wealth Accounting in Development Planning

What: Press conference on “Valuation and Accounting of Natural Capital for Green Economy (VANTAGE)” in Africa meeting

When: Wednesday, 4 December 10:30 a.m.

Where: Press Room, UN Compound, Gigiri

Who:

Natural capital is a critical asset, especially for low-income countries where it makes up around 36 per cent of total wealth, according to World Bank estimates. For these countries, especially in Africa, livelihoods depend directly on healthy ecosystems.

Incorporating natural capital into national accounts can support better decisions for inclusive development.

Natural capital is not readily captured in markets, so we don’t really know how much ecosystem services contribute to the economy and livelihoods. We often take these services for granted and don’t know what it would cost if we lose them.

Natural capital accounting can provide detailed statistics for better management of the economy.

For example, land and water accounts can help countries interested in increasing hydro-power capacity to assess the value of competing land uses and the optimal way to meet this goal.

Ecosystem accounts can help biodiversity-rich countries design a management strategy that balances tradeoffs among ecotourism, agriculture, subsistence livelihoods, and ecosystem services like flood protection and groundwater recharge.

The international VANTAGE conference – which will take place in Nairobi from 3 to 4 December 2013 – will showcase successful efforts by countries and organizations to value and account for natural capital.

Such pioneering initiatives go beyond the traditional growth and development measurements such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contribute to building inclusive green economies.

More than 100 participants will take part in the conference, including 5 African ministers and 3 deputy ministers.

The expected outcome document will chart the way forward for the VANTAGE programme, including ways it can support governments in incorporating natural resource accounting in their national wealth indicators.

 

SOURCE

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

 

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National Day Message

Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

November 30, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend my deepest hope to the people of the Central African Republic that you may celebrate your independence on December 1 in peace and security.

The United States stands with the courageous people of the Central African Republic as we work together and with regional and international partners to restore stability, protect human rights, promote national reconciliation, and re-establish constitutional governance in your country.

We share a vision for your country’s future that includes security and prosperity for all people. To help realize that vision, we are planning to provide $40 million in assistance to the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. We have also provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance and an additional $6 million specifically to support new Central African refugees in neighboring states.

I congratulate the people of the Central African Republic on their National Day and extend my sincerest wishes for a future of peace, stability, and prosperity.

 

SOURCE

US Department of State

 

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Appealing for calm in Sool

Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2013

  • UN Special Representative for Somalia appeals for calm in Sool

MOGADISHU, Somalia, December 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has expressed his deep concern at the recent outbreak of violence in the northern region of Sool.

“Violence cannot and will not resolve political issues. All those with a stake in the area must show calm and pursue reconciliation,” said SRSG Kay.

SRSG Kay deplored the loss of life and offered his condolences to the families of those killed in recent clashes.

“Political differences and competing claims should be solved by dialogue. Peace and stability are also critical to the Puntland election process”, he added.

SRSG Kay and UNSOM colleagues are in touch with regional leaders to urge restraint and offer support for dialogue and reconciliation.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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AfDB Group’s Africa50 Fund partner of the BUILD Africa Forum on infrastructure in Africa

Posted by African Press International on December 1, 2013


Infrastructure in Africa: AfDB Group’s Africa50 Fund partner of the BUILD Africa Forum on infrastructure in Africa

The forum will take place on February 5-7, 2014, in Brazzaville, Congo

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, December 2, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The BUILD Africa forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with the African Development Bank Group’s Africa50 infrastructure fund.

Held under the High Patronage of Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, the BUILD Africa Forum will address Africa’s infrastructure challenges by bringing leading public and private sector stakeholders to the table. The forum will take place on February 5-7, 2014, in Brazzaville, Congo.

Working together, the BUILD Africa forum and Africa50, the AfDB’s single-A infrastructure delivery vehicle, will showcase innovative projects in Africa and develop a structural framework for these and other future projects.

African growth today is hindered by a substantive lack of resource leverage and project coordination. The aim of this partnership is to promote understanding of the various ways in which stakeholders can accelerate the speed and quality of project delivery and increase the number of infrastructure projects that reach bankability in Africa. The BUILD Africa forum together with Africa50 is making today’s financial innovation and regional integration platforms the norm for tomorrow.

Fast facts on Africa’s infrastructure needs (Source: BAD, 2009)

Africa must invest $50 billion annually in infrastructure:

•          40% of the population lacks access to potable water.

•          60% lacks access to proper sanitation.

•          Transportation costs in Africa are among the highest in the world.

•          A mere 30% of the Africans have regular access to electricity.

•          Africa has the lowest rate of penetration globally, of telephone access at 14% (worldwide average 52%).

Quotes on the Africa50 & BUILD Africa forum partnership

Tas Anvaripour, Director of AfDB Africa50: “African infrastructure projects are increasingly capturing the attention of investors worldwide. However, the number of bankable infrastructure projects brought to market is still insufficient, even though they offer an excellent way to diversify investment portfolios and steady, long-term, and above average returns.”

Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the President of the Republic for Spatial Planning and Delegate General for Major Public Works, Republic of the Congo: “The partnership between Africa50 and BUILD Africa illustrates the aim of the forum to boost smart and innovative investment mechanisms, in order to develop infrastructure and to activate a sustainable social and economic development across the African continent.”

………………………..

About BUILD Africa

Held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo from the 5th to the 7th of February 2014, under the High Patronage of His Excellency President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, the BUILD Africa Forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com)  will gather more than 500 business & political leaders, who will endeavour to find innovative solutions to Africa’s numerous infrastructure challenges and ambitions.

About Africa50 Fund

Africa50 is a new and innovative vehicle which is re-imagining infrastructure financing and aims to unlock global private capital to close the Africa infrastructure gap. Africa50 will bring to the market much needed financing tools and services, mainly offered through its two sub-vehicles: Project Finance and Project Development. It will be groundbreaking in its design and structure, leveraging infrastructure-financing resources from a diverse set of sources. Africa50 is in the process of raising $10 billion USD to finance infrastructure projects across the continent.

 

SOURCE

Richard Attias & Associates

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counter-terrorism cooperation and combatting illicit trafficking symposium

Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2013

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, November 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Combating terrorism and illicit trafficking were the focus of an international audience who gathered recently in Cameroon.

The U.S. Africa Center for Stratetic Studies (ACSS) co-hosted a symposium on regional counter-terrorism cooperation and the fight against illicit trafficking in Yaoundé on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, in partnership with the ACSS Community Chapter in Cameroon and the U.S. Embassy.

The event took place at the Yaoundé International War College (Ecole supérieure internationale de guerre de Yaoundé [ESIG]). The more than 100 participants included Africa Center community members from the Cameroon Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the University of Yaoundé.

Also in the attendance was a diverse international group of 42 ESIG students representing nearly 20 nationalities, including the United States, who are currently in the midst of a 10-month study program at ESIG. Another group of 12 students from the National School of Security Forces (Ecole nationale de forces de sécurité [ENFS]) attended as well.

Presentations focused on defining and improving regional cooperation in countering terrorism and the threats associated with illicit trafficking.

In his opening remarks, ESIG Commandant Major General Esaïe Ngambou expressed his satisfaction with the selection of topics. “The Africa Center chose two challenging issues that are at the heart of our current preoccupations: regional cooperation against terrorism and illicit trafficking.” He also mentioned that this year’s annual ESIG colloquium will focus on border security, making the symposium a fitting beginning to the colloquium’s preparations.

Colonel Gabriel Metogo Atangana, the ACSS Chapter President, explained the pertinence of the topics discussed, at a time when Cameroon faces the challenges of Boko Haram’s spillover in the northern part of the country.

“ACSS has maintained for nearly 10 years now a close cooperation with the armed forces and law enforcement forces of Cameroon,” he said. “The choice of today’s topics is explained by the magnitude and damaging effects, as well as the consequences in the communities which are affected by these threats,” he noted.

Mr. John Harney, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Project Manager at the J5 Counter-narcotics and Law Enforcement Division, provided an overview of illicit trafficking and laid out how AFRICOM deals with the issue. He also pointed out interagency efforts to harmonize the U.S. government effort in building West African capacities to combat transnational organized crime, particularly narcotic trafficking.

“It takes a network to defeat a network,” Mr. Harney noted, highlighting the importance of international cooperation in defeating international illicit trafficking networks.

The consensus following the symposium was that Cameroonians’ challenges are global challenges. As a result, it will take an all-inclusive effort—for the U.S. and African partners—to deter and defeat transnational threats and provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development. Participants also agreed that deeper regional cooperation and international cooperation are keys to success.

 

SOURCE

U.S Africa Command

 

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The ICC Judges are expected to interpret the amendments correctly, says the President of the Assembly of States Parties Ambassador Tiina Intelmann

Posted by African Press International on November 28, 2013

Kenya went to the Twelfth Session of the  Assembly of States Parties with one aim – to get the amendments through, so that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto is no longer distracted by the International Criminal Court‘s demand for their continuous presence in court during the proceedings.

The Twelfth Session of the ASP – Hague

Published on 29 Nov 2013

28 November 2013 – Closing remarks of Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties, to the 12th Session of the ASP.

http://youtu.be/BdDwSkc6Gjg

Kenya managed to secure support from willing Nations enabling for the passing of the amendments. The President and the deputy President will now be able to perform their duties as the constitutional demands of them, without interference and interruption from any quarters.

Exclusive Interview: ONE on ONE with the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann:

Asked whether she has confidence in the ICC Judges and the Chief Prosecutor, Ambassador Intelmann told  African Press International that she has confidence in them, adding that should any Member State raise a complaint against any of them, she will not hesitate taking the matter up, with the Assembly of State Parties, in line with the laid down procedures in the Rome Statute and so far no Member State has raised any complaint against their performance.

With the new amendments passed, Kenya is today a proud Nation having had learned minds and qualified negotiators in their delegation that worked in a focused manner on the issues tirelessly with a desire to ensure success. Lobbying was very important and the delegation managed to make friends with some Nations that were considered hostile to the desired amendments. They finally got their support to the amendments as put forward by the working group.

Some of the Members of the Kenya Delegation to the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of States Parties in the Hague between 20th – 28th November 2013:

The brains that made Kenya and the Presidency proud by carrying the day at the negotiation table in securing the necessary amendments that will contribute to Kenya’s stability.

www.africanpress.me/ Some of the members of the Kenya Delegation during the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague from the 20th to 28th of November 2013

http://www.africanpress.me/ Some of the members of the Kenya Delegation during the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague from the 20th to 28th of November 2013

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www.africanpress.me/ Some of the members of the Kenya Delegation during the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague from the 20th to 28th of November 2013

http://www.africanpress.me/ Some of the members of the Kenya Delegation during the Twelfth Session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague from the 20th to 28th of November 2013

 

The Kenyan NGOs who participated during the Session chose to organise many side events that was meant to derail the negotiation process to secure the new amendments. The passing of the amendments was a big blow to them. Their aim was to impress upon Member States delegates to reject any amendments that would allow the two Kenyan leaders, President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto to be excused from continuous presence in the court and only be represented by counsel.

On realised that their efforts were fruitless, most of the NGOs packed their things and left the Conference center hurriedly travelling back to home. This may serve as a lesson to them that they should not pork their noses in everything – a lesson that they should, in some cases, put their country first.

By passing the amendments put forward by the African Nations, the West has now realised that Africa is no longer a push-over, lying down and allowing themselves to be dictated to at all times.

Africa’s unity, through the AU, has now educated the West by telling them that they are able and ready to decide their own destiny at all times.

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Kenya emerges victorious at the Twelfth session of the Assembly of States Parties held in the Hague, by securing amendments to the Rome Statute – to their satisfaction

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2013

Kenya has emerged victorious at the twelfth session of the Assembly of States Parties by securing amendments to their satisfaction. This means now that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are not required to appear in the International Criminal Court in person but only represented by Counsel.

Part 1

Part 2

This is good news for African Union who had pushed for the deferral because they did not want to see Kenya’s Commander-in-Chief and President of the Republic of Kenya humiliated, sitting daily in the court instead of serving the people of Kenya.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed was thrilled to see her delegation manage their assignment. The delegation was led by the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai. In the delegation were many other senior government officials among them, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko.

Today is a celebration for those Kenyans and friends of Kenya who supported the amendments because they do not want the Head of State and his deputy to be humiliated.

However, there are those who are disappointed like the NGOs and some members of the Kenya opposition parties who wanted to see the humiliation of the President and his deputy carried through.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed informed the media that the amendments also allows for the Video link in other cases in the future. She hopes the video link trials  can be extended to cover Mr Joshua Arap sang since his case is already ongoing.

When asked if the trial via video link will be extended to Mr Barasa whose warrant of arrest has been issued by the ICC accusing him of confusing witnesses, the Cabinet Secretary stated that there was no discussion in that direction. Mr Barasa, therefore, will have to face the ICC in person to answer the charges if he is exported to the Hague by the Kenyan authorities. He has gone to court to block exportation. Mr Barasa recently told the media that he worked with ICC investigators on witnesses and that they turned against him when he was considered hostile to the needs of the ICC prosecution. Barasa is a Kenyan journalist who has claimed that he was being paid by the prosecution investigators whenever he gave them the help they needed.

Did Mr Barasa break the code of conduct as a journalist in any way?

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