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News From Africa

News From Africa


African and European high level meeting on energy calls for continued cooperation to ensure access to energy by Africans across the continent


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership was held at Ministerial level on 13th February at the African Union, with calls from different speakers for continued efforts to ensure access to energy by Africans across the continent. The energy partnership is one of the eight partnerships of the EU-Africa Joint Strategy, which was adopted in December 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Speaking during the opening of the ministerial session meeting, the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Elham Ibrahim, focused on the progress and importance of the initiatives launched by the African Union Commission and its partners, since the inception of the AEEP. She spoke specifically on the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility, which encourages public and private sector geothermal development projects by providing cost share grants for surface studies and drilling of reservoir confirmation wells. “Under the facility, grants have been awarded to 5 projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, amounting to 22 million US dollars, and other agreements will be signed in March this year,” she announced.

The Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy for Ethiopia, Mr. Alemayehu Tegenu highlighted the importance of appropriate and robust national policies and strategies in the success of Africa's energy ambitions. He pointed to several projects which have been initiated in Ethiopia as a result of the nation's focus on integrating energy into the core of its national and development agenda. These include: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Gibe Three hydropower projects which will produce almost 9,000 megawatts of electricity between them when completed; and Ethiopia's pioneering wind farms which he said, are the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa

In an inspirational message, the UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy For All programme, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella emphasised the need for governments and continental organisations to integrate sustainable energy into their agendas, and the need for co-operation amongst the different government ministries to achieve energy goals. He re-iterated that without effective use and generation of energy supplies, there can be no effective development, as energy is vital to success in all other sectors including health, manufacturing, trade and communication. “We cannot create the 10 million jobs that Africa needs, without industrialisation and for that we need energy”, he said.

The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, closed the opening session of the meeting with a pointed reminder of the final aim of Africa's development agenda, “The ultimate African ambition in energy is clearly about providing modern energy services to all its citizens”, he said.. The Deputy Chairperson highlighted some of the challenges faced by Africa today in terms of access to energy: “We still have almost 500 million Africans without access to reliable electricity, over 70% of our population relying on traditional biomass stoves for meeting their cooking needs, with severe health implications and mortality amongst women and children; and the low access to modern energy services for productive applications is threatening industrial and economic development in the continent, especially in crucial sectors that are important for jobs creation such as the agricultural and manufacturing sectors”, said Mr Mwencha. He added that Africa would require both large scale and small scale modern energy solutions in addressing the problem. He called on all actors, stakeholders and partners to find common ground in working together for the ultimate goal of providing modern energy access to all Africans in the coming decades.

Several countries in Africa are achieving impressive results in the energy sector. These include Ghana, which has achieved over 80% energy access for its citizens, and expects to exceed 90% access by 2015. Similarly, as of 2010, South Africa, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt all have energy accessibility of over 80%.

The meeting was also addressed by several delegates from the European side including Mr Andries Pielbags, EU Commissioner for Development Cooperation (via video link); Mr Christian Schmidt, Deputy Minister of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany: and Mr Andreas Melan, Austrian Ambassador to Ethiopia. It was attended by African and European Ministers, Commissioners, business leaders and other high-level delegates.

The AEEP is one of the partnerships forged as a result of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which encompasses eight areas of co-operation. These are: Peace and Security; Democratic Governance and Human Rights; Trade, regional integration and infrastructure; the Millennium Development Goals; Energy; Climate Change; Migration, mobility and employment; and Science, Information Society and Space.

Outcomes of the conference will be available on the African Union website www.au.int soon.

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Churches express concern on internally displaced persons and South Sudan
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 07:37 AM PST
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Strong concerns were expressed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee over the increasing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the on-going conflict in South Sudan in statements adopted by the committee on 12 February, during its meeting in Bossey, Switzerland.
A statement by the WCC Executive Committee notes an alarming trend of an increase in the number of IDPs, especially as a result of the escalation of violence last year in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The executive committee affirms that “all persons, including those internally displaced, have the right to freedom of movement and residence and should be protected against being arbitrarily displaced”.
The statement calls on the governments to fulfil their responsibility in providing assistance to IDPs and implementing policies to protect their human rights.
The statement acknowledges the UNHCR Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as an important international framework for the protection of IDPs. It requests the international community to strengthen their efforts in addressing “long-term displacement situations, and the responsibilities of states”.
The WCC Executive Committee also adopted a Minute on the situation of South Sudan strongly condemning the recent violence in the world's newest country.
Speaking on the political crisis in South Sudan which started on 15 December 2013, the Minute regrets the loss of lives. The document calls for “immediate cessation of hostilities”, urging “all warring parties to respect, honour and implement in good faith the cease-fire agreement” signed on 23 January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The document also urges “all stakeholders to recommit themselves to a sustained and long-term process of reconciliation and healing, in order to build confidence among citizens, restore trust and to promote peace”.

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LAUNCHING OF THE REGIONAL DATABASE « WOMEN AND MEN TOWARD PEACE AND STABILITY IN WEST AFRICA»
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 06:19 AM PST
DAKAR, Senegal, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) officially launched the Database on "Gender, Women, Peace and Security in West Africa" on Thursday 13 February, in Abidjan.

The ceremony which was sponsored by His Excellency Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara,! President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was attended by the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit, and for Côte d'Ivoire, Ms. Aïchatou Mindaoudou, as well as the programme coordinator of UN Women- Côte d'Ivoire, Ms. Madeleine Oka-Balina.

The Ministries of Women Affairs from Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia also took part in the event, as well as other participants from the 16 West African countries, representing Ministers of Gender and Women Affairs and members of the Working Group on Women Peace and Security in West Africa (WGWPS-WA).

The database aims at informing on the role of women and girls in peace and stability processes in the region. It has been developed by UNOWA and UN Women, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Gender Development Center (EGDC), the Mano River Union (MRU) and other partners members of the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security in West Africa. From 10 to 12 February, UNOWA and UN Women officers trained 20 members of the group in managing the database within West Africa.
“Our presence here today demonstrates the commitment of the United Nations to constantly support the involvement of women and girls in the peace processes in the sub-region and beyond”, Mr. Djinnit stated.
“It's important that all actors continue to work in coordination to support the effective implementation of human rights of women and girls, to consolidate peace in West Africa”, reminded, Ms. Oka-Balina, on behalf of Ms. Josephine Odera, UN Women Regional Director.

Around 150 persons have attended the event. Participants commended the efforts of the Women to ensure the effective implementation of the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000! ) and 1820 (2008), adopted in Dakar, in September 2010.

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First Swedish foreign minister meeting in Mali
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 05:51 AM PST
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt will visit the African state of Mali on 14-16 February. This will be the first-ever visit by a Swedish foreign minister to the country.
The visit aims to emphasise Sweden's continued and enhanced support to Mali's development and its long-term peace efforts, and to efforts by the EU, the UN, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support Mali's path towards long-term peace. Mr Bildt also wants to increase knowledge about Mali in Sweden and communicate Swedish messages to Malian and international representatives on how to continue dealing with the after-effects of the crisis.
Sweden's relations with Mali largely consist of development cooperation. The Swedish Armed Forces have also recently taken part in international operations in the country. Five staff officers are participating in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Ten officers and instructors are participating in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM).
"Sweden has an important commitment in Mali. We help maintain peace and also pave the way for economic development. It is important to have a presence in the country and study the conditions there in order to ensure that our support continues to have the right focus," says Mr Bildt.
During his visit, Mr Bildt is expected to meet Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Minister of Foreign Affairs Zahabi Ould Sidi Mohamed and Minister of Defence Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga.


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Norway to provide NOK 60 million to the Central African Republic
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 05:47 AM PST
OSLO, Norway, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “The situation in the Central African Republic is critical. More than half of the population is in urgent need of protection and humanitarian assistance. The Government has therefore decided to provide a further NOK 60 million in humanitarian assistance to the country,” said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is precarious following a marked escalation of the crisis towards the end of 2013. Of a population of 4.6 million, as many as 2.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 710 000 persons have been internally displaced and over 250 000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN. The humanitarian community in CAR is requesting US$551.5 million to humanitarian assistance, but so far only 13 % of this sum has been provided.

“There are alarming reports of killings and violence against civilians in the Central African Republic. It is important that the international community does everything in its power to ensure that the civilian population receives protection and access to humanitarian assistance. All parties to the conflict are obliged under international humanitarian law to ensure that the much-needed aid reaches those who need it,” Mr Brende said.

Earlier this month, the Government provided NOK 6 million to support the African-led International Support Mission to the CAR (MISCA). The new allocation of NOK 60 million will be channelled through organisations already operating in the country that can deliver assistance to people in need, including the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières.

In 2013, Norway provided a total of NOK 58.3 million to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in the CAR. Norway will continue to follow the situation closely and will maintain a close dialogue with key organisations that are working to provide humanitarian assistance, including addressing the needs of the most vulnerable groups such as children, women and people with disabilities.

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PAN AFRICAN UNIVERSITY / ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE RECRUITMENT of RECTORATE STAFF
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 04:18 AM PST
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Pan African University (PAU) is a continental academic network of higher education institutions of excellence for postgraduate studies and advanced research. It is a flagship project of the African Union Commission (AUC), established by the decision of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. The PAU's mission is to exemplify excellence and nurture quality in African Higher Education and Research. This will be done through world class programmes at Masters and PhD level, organized under five thematic areas, and hosted in existing Universities in AU Member States.

The five thematic institutes of the Pan African University are hosted as follows:

1. Western Africa: PAU Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, including Agriculture and Health at University of Ibadan in Nigeria
2. Eastern Africa: PAU Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya
3. Central Africa: PAU Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Yaoundé II in Cameroon
4. Northern Africa: PAU Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) at the Université Abou Bekr Belkaid Tlemcen in Algeria
5. Southern Africa: PAU Institute of Space sciences to be hosted by a country to be identified

The PAU hereby announces the recruitment of the Rectorate staff in the following positions:

PAU Rector
Vice Rector
Directors of Institutes
Senior Academic and Students Affairs
Senior Finance and Administration Officer
Senior Legal Officer

Applications must be made through the AUC E-recruitment website www.aucareers.com on or before March 22, 2014.

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Africa and Europe fight fuel poverty together / Austrian involvement in the energy sector
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 04:10 AM PST
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Africa needs trade, production, electricity and fuel to develop modern industrialised societies, create jobs, foster prosperity and health and to protect environmental quality. Lack of access to a profitable power supply from renewable energies has been determined as a prime obstacle to development of health care, agricultural and artisan production as also to the development of democratic opinion-forming through television, radio or the Internet. Rural regions are at a particular disadvantage. Only some ten percent of the population have access to electricity and the per-capita consumption in Africa is the lowest in the world. All of this highlights the need for new approaches to investing in the development of rural energy infrastructure that are to benefit poor demographic groups on the African continent in particular.

High-level meeting in Addis Ababa

A major conference under Austrian co-chairmanship is being held in Addis Ababa this week in the framework of the African-EU Energy Partnership to discuss sustainable energy solutions. Participants include representatives from civil society, companies and scientific institutions. Enormous funds are required to lead Africa out of energy poverty and a special call has been made to banks and international finance institutes to help deal with this issue. The first high-level meeting on this topic was held in Vienna in 2010.

Austrian commitment

Projects of the Austrian Development Cooperation complement Austria's political support of the energy sector. The main activities revolve around establishing regional centres for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Western, Southern and Eastern Africa to ensure access to an affordable and reliable energy provision for more than 300 million people. The objective of these centres is the removal of barriers for the use of alternative energy resources.

Austrian Development Cooperation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) have together initiated a global network of such centres for renewable energy. It is planned to establish further centres in the Caribbean and the Pacific. These establishments play an important role in the implementation of the "Sustainable Energy for All" (SE4ALL) initiative of the United Nations and contribute to strengthening Vienna's position as a multilateral energy hub.

Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) supports sustainable development in the countries of Africa, Asia, Southeast and Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.


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The EU announces new support for sustainable energy for Africa
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 04:07 AM PST
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The European Commission will provide €5 million in new funding to accelerate the use of renewable energy in Africa, meet future energy needs and increase access to modern and sustainable energy services on the continent, through the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP).
The funding will be announced at the occasion of the Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP), which takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 11th and 13th February. Sub Saharan Africa has the lowest electrification rate in the world, and more than 650 million people rely on traditional biomass for heating and cooking. This is why the EU has set itself the goal to help developing countries provide 500 million people with access to sustainable energy services by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL) led by the United Nations. EU Commissioner for Development said: "Energy is fundamental to development. No energy means no sustainable economic growth, no sustainable agriculture, no quality healthcare; no decent education. In short, no energy means no development."

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BUILD Africa Forum: Resolutions and Actions for Infrastructure in Africa
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 03:08 AM PST
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The inaugural BUILD Africa Forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com) was a remarkable success, gathering over two days:

- 849 participants representing 49 countries
- 85 speakers from five continents including 10 ministers from across the continent
- 107 members of the press

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/build.png

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=867 (Denis Sassou N'Guesso, President of the Republic of Congo)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=863 (Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico)

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=866 (Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the President of the Republic of Congo, in charge of Spatial Planning and Delegate General for Major Public Works)

Photo 4: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=865 (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria)

Photo 5: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=864 (Abdoulaye Wade, Former President of Senegal)

THE GLOBAL GATHERING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE POLICY MAKERS & BUSINESS LEADERS
Global experts included H.E. Denis Sassou N'Guesso, President of the Republic of Congo, Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico; Abdoulaye Wade, Former President of Senegal; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy for the African Union; Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the President of the Republic of Congo for Spatial Planning and Delegate General for Major Public Works; Dominique Lafont, President of Bolloré Africa Logistics, Otavio Azevedo, President of Andrade Gutierrez, Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, as well as Robert Gumede, founder of Guma Group, among many others.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STRONG INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE CONTINENT
Debates led to recommendations for immediate action from both public and private sector players:

1. Public Private Partnerships are key to Africa's development. PPPs are important to close Africa's infrastructure gap, as well as to generate new profits for African economies. Despite large discrepancies between countries that have managed to put up successful PPPs in Africa and those that have failed, PPPs have proven to work, provided they are based on a legal framework, with a fair allocation of risks and benefits between parties. This requires local capacity building on PPPs, long term planning and phasing, strong political will, as well as transparent coordination between public and private players.

2. Increasing the number of bankable projects is mandatory to boost infrastructure in Africa. But bankability is not only about generating profits. Projects must be understood in the financial, legal, environmental, as well as social and economic terms, to reduce long-term risks. Feasibility studies are key to cope with investors' aversion to risk. Governments can also help increase the level of bankability of some projects, while it's important to manage the country's public debt.

3. Regional integration is not a choice, but a necessity for African economies to compete in a globalized world. African countries must not compete but rather work to complement each other, as economic and physical boundaries do not necessarily match. This can apply to all sectors from transport, to trade and telecommunications.

4. African economies need to establish their own development strategy. Development plans must create sustainable value locally, both in terms of taxation revenues and job creation. Empirical evidence shows that joint ventures with local players are far more profitable in the long run than mere foreign direct investments, with repatriation of profits.

5. Human capital is the most critical infrastructure. Solving the infrastructure deficit is only a short-term solution. Ultimately, infrastructure must serve development and stakeholders must work to further develop human capital in the long run through education, training and capacity building.

BUILD AFRICA, MORE THAN A FORUM FOR DISCUSSION, A PLATFORM FOR BUSINESS
During the BUILD Africa forum several agreements were signed to boost infrastructure in Africa:

1. The creation of an $100 million investment fund, committed to developing businesses in the value chain across the agro-business sector.

2. The creation of a dedicated PPP capacity facility, within the General Delegation for Major Public Works in Congo. This agreement, signed with Edifice Capital Group, aims to strengthen the capacity of local managers to structure and launch PPP projects in social and economic infrastructure as well as in agro-business projects.

3. An agreement to develop the hydro-energy potential of the Sounda site, in the district of Kouilou, where the Republic of Congo intends to implement a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The IFC was selected to advise to the Government of the Congo. A competitive tender is planned to select partners for this project with 1000 MW potential.

4. An MoU on fiber optic interconnection between Congo and Gabon: Thierry Moungalla, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of the Republic of Congo and Ngoua Deme Pastor, Minister of Digital Economy, Communication and Post of Gabon represented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Gabon to Congo-Brazzaville, have signed an MoU on interconnection between the optic fiber networks CAB3 (Congo) and CAB4 (Gabon). Implemented through the World Bank's Central African Backbone program for optic fiber interconnection in Central Africa, the agreement will increase the geographical coverage of the network, bandwidth capacity, and reduce the costs of communication in Central Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of BUILD Africa Forum.


More information about www.buildafricaforum.com
Julie Voiriot: julie.voiriot@buildafricaforum.com - Tel: + 33 6 61 87 29 76
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African Union determined to take action against the militia and other elements which terrorize civilians in the Central African Republic
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 01:46 AM PST
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, is deeply concerned by the violence perpetrated these days in Bangui and other places in the Central African Republic (CAR). She notes, in particular, criminal attacks committed in recent days by armed groups against innocent civilians belonging to the Central African muslim community members, as well as against Chadian nationals. She stresses that such acts will only contribute to the worsening of community and religious divisions in the country, thereby undermining stabilization efforts undertaken by the Central African authorities with the support of leaders in the region, Africa and the rest the international community.
The Chairperson of the Commission also notes with deep concern the new phenomenon of deliberate attacks by elements of the said anti- Balaka militias against uniformed personnel of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA). In this regard, three Rwandan soldiers and a policeman of Formed Police Unit (UPC) of the Cameroonian in the MISCA were injured, some very seriously, on 6 February 2014, to the north of Bangui, while they assured the protection of Chadian nationals who were being repatriated to their country.

The Chairperson of the Commission strongly condemns these acts. She underlines the commitment of the AU to ensure that the perpetrators and sponsors of these acts are held accountable for their actions. She also underlines the commitment of the AU to ensure the effective implementation of the mandate of the MISCA, including the protection of civilians and other activities essential for the stabilization of the CAR, including the pursuit of securing the corridor which links the CAR to Cameroon. In this context, and in coordination with the Central African authorities, following the meeting of the Special Representative of the AU, General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, with the CAR Prime Minister André NZAPAYEKE, on 9 February 2014, the MISCA will take all appropriate measures, including the use of force against all militias and other armed elements which continue to commit abuses and maintain a climate of insecurity and hatred in the country and against all those who attack its staff.
The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the request made by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU, at its meeting of 29 January 2014, for all concerned CAR stakeholders to make calls, unequivocally, for their supporters to put to an immediate end attacks against civilians and any other action likely to undermine efforts for peace and reconciliation in their country. She emphasizes that the Commission will seek to finalize as soon as possible, a list of persons against whom targeted sanctions will be imposed in accordance with relevant decisions of the PSC. She reiterated the commitment of the AU to cooperate fully with the United Nations in the implementation of sanctions adopted by the Security Council against individuals and entities that undermine peace efforts, as well as the fulfillment of the mandate of the International Commission of Inquiry of the United Nations responsible for shedding light on the violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law in the CAR since 1 January 2013.


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Erastus Mwencha to the South Sudanese parties’: The African Union will assist you, but the solution is between your hands
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 01:27 AM PST
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The African Union Commission' s Deputy Chairperson, Mr Erastus Mwencha, in the opening of the second round of peace talks, session of the peace talks, held in Addis Ababa on the 11th February 2014 expressed the readiness of African Union (AU) to provide the necessary assistance in the commencement of the broad and inclusive dialogue appealing all South Sudanese parties to provide the necessary leadership in placing the interest of their young country above narrow political considerations.

Speaking on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, Mwencha welcomed the resumption of the talks, and mentioned that the AU is encouraged to note that both parties are making diligent efforts to fulfill the commitments they entered into following of the two agreements on session of hostilities and the status of the detainees signed in Addis Ababa on 23 January 2014. “I welcome the release of seven detainees and hope that the process required for the release of the remaining four will be expedite so as to allow them join their brothers and sisters in these talks” Mwencha said.

The African Union Commission' s Deputy Chairperson underscored that the AU, in partnership with IGAD, will continue to provide the necessary assistance in the political dialogue noting meanwhile, that “the opportunity, the will and the responsibility for finding such a solution which are here today are in the hands of South Sudanese”.
Ethiopian Prime Minister and current Chairman of the East Africa regional bloc (IGAD),

Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn attend the opening of peace talks in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian foreign minister and the AU representative, the three mediator and South Sudan government as well as rebel chief negotiators.

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Dubai: Somalia Investment Summit (SIS), 6th-7th April, 2014
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 01:20 AM PST
DUBAI, UAE, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The growing confidence in Somalia's economic recovery process has seen institutions like the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, commonly known as the PTA Bank, lift sanctions against the country.

Event Banner: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/somalia-investment-summit-2014.jpg

Logo Somali Economic Forum: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/somalia.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/hassan-mark-simmonds.jpg (Hassan Dudde MD of the Somali Economic Forum with British Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds)

PTA Bank is the key Sponsor for the Somalia Investment Summit (http://bit.ly/NEQVuU) joining other regional authorities like the Commonwealth Business Council and the Eastern Africa Economic Chambers of Commerce in supporting this high profile business forum

‘'This year's summit opted for Dubai as a location to target the growing number of Gulf Investment in the Africa Region, the bilateral relations between Somalia and Dubai dates some hundred years, we are hopeful that the Somalia Investment Summit will reassure the Gulf Businesses of the untapped potential that is Somalia'' Hassan Dudde MD of the Somali Economic Forum summit organisers stated.

The summit will be a platform for first-hand success stories of International private sector leaders who have already invested in Somalia and are now successfully operating in various regions. As the State of Somalia continues to attract international exposure and interest, this is the optimal time to invest in reforming the country's economy to make private sector friendly. Rebuilding the State of Somalia will not only encourage economic growth but will certify vast profitable and effective markets.

“SiS will continue to highlight key economic trends that have emerged in Somalia, most notably the increased role of international investment in facilitating rapid economic growth and development within Somalia.” Hassan Dudde commenting

The Summit will initiate crucial dialogue on the current economic, developmental and financial trends and growth within the county and it will primarily focus on opportunities in the following 5 sectors; oil & gas, finance & banking, telecommunications, infrastructure, Agribusiness and finally the energy sector.

Somalia is certainly going to benefit from Africa's growth and the ‘Africa Rising' phenomenon will soon become the ‘Somalia Rising' Story.

According to Economic Analysts, Somalia possesses the hallmarks to be a dynamic, regional economic power due to its strategic location and potential natural resource reserves. The best time to invest in Somalia is now and insiders would all agree that such an investment will pay dividends in the medium and long term.

The organisers are confident that the platform will act as a dynamic and enriching platform enabling investors to interact with industry captains and members of government to provide sustainable and mutually beneficial investments.

‘2014 is indeed time for Somalia'

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Somali Economic Forum.


Media contact:
admin@somalieconomicforum.org


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NUSOJ Protests Against The Arrest of Media Bosses in Mogadishu
Posted: 13 Feb 2014 01:12 AM PST
MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists [NUSOJ] protests the arrest of two radio directors in the overnight of 11th February 2014 by the National Security Agency NSA, the latest in a string of attacks against the media in Somalia.

Members from the National Security Agency NSA detained Mohamed Barre Haji, the owner and the director of Danan Radio and Ibrahim Mohamed (Ibrahim Yare), the director of Haatuf Radio in Mogadishu on Tuesday night. Both radios are independent and privately owned based in Mogadishu.

It is not yet clear the reason behind their arrest. Both journalists were keot in a SNA's special detention in Mogadishu since Tuesday evening.

Somali government and the officials of the NSA did not comment publicly on this arrest.

"They were missing since last night. It came to our knowledge today and we do not know why they were arrested" Journalists from Danan Radio who spoke on condition of anonymity told NUSOJ today.

National Union of Somali Journalists [NUSOJ] protests the arbitrary arrest against these radio directors and condemns all sorts of violations against the press, while it calls their unconditional release.

"It is unfortunate to learn the arrest of our colleagues and call for their prompt release," Mohamed Ibrahim NUSOJ Secretary General said, "It is unacceptable to detain the journalists illegally and without court orders".

The arrest of the media directors comes ahead of World Radio Day celebrations expected

In a separate incident, NUSOJ recalls the Somaliland authorities to lift the ban against Universal TV and allow this independent television to resume its operations in respect to the freedom of expression and media freedoms.

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WELCOMING TALKS BETWEEN SOUTH SUDAN, SUDAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT, SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES NEED FOR CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES
Posted: 12 Feb 2014 11:32 PM PST
NEW YORK, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the start yesterday of the South Sudan political talks in Addis Ababa between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in opposition, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of national political dialogue, with the participation of all South Sudanese political and civil society representatives, including all senior SPLM detainees.
The Secretary-General notes with deep concern the reports of ongoing fighting and skirmishes in parts of Unity and Upper Nile States. He reiterates the necessity for the parties to implement fully the Agreements on Cessation of Hostilities and on the Status of Detainees signed on 23 January, and to cooperate fully with the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, which the United Nations stands ready to support. The Secretary-General also calls on all parties to respect the lifesaving work and ensure unhindered freedom of movement of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and of all humanitarian workers.

The Secretary-General condemns the use in the South Sudan conflict of cluster bombs, remnants of which were found last week by the United Nations Mine Action Service, on the Juba-Bor road, Jonglei State.

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IMF Organizes Workshop on Medium Term Budget Frameworks for East African Officials
Posted: 12 Feb 2014 11:27 PM PST
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Monetary Fund's Fiscal Affairs Department and Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center East (AFRITAC East) held a workshop on “Medium Term Budget Frameworks (MTBFs) for Sub-Saharan Africa” (SSA) in Nairobi during the period January 27 - 31, 2014.
Twenty-nine officials from finance and planning ministries representing AFRITAC East member countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, including Zanzibar and Uganda) attended the seminar. Mr. Neil Cole, Executive Secretary of the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) also participated.
The workshop facilitators explored with participants how binding MTBFs can enhance fiscal discipline and improve funding predictability for line Ministries in order to facilitate the achievement of strategic objectives. The prerequisites, however, are to have credible annual budgets; strong institutional frameworks including a supporting legal environment; reliable macro-economic and fiscal projections; and a fully integrated planning and budgeting process. Topics of discussion included: an assessment of MTBFs in Sub-Saharan Africa; constructing multi-year expenditure ceilings; medium term fiscal framework; fiscal objectives and fiscal rules; reconciling planning with budgeting; budget documentation and budget framework papers; budget institutions and processes; constructing a sector/ministry-level budget projection. Participants shared the challenges they faced in developing MTBFs and the seminar provided an opportunity for peer learning.
The workshop was opened by Mr. Samuel Kiiru, from the National Treasury of Kenya. He spoke about the challenges Kenya faces in implementing reforms and underscored the necessity of commitment both at political and technical levels. Mrs. Phyllis Makau, Director of the Kenya Parliamentary Budget Office, discussed the opportunities presented by the new legal framework and the challenges of overlapping mandates among the budgetary institutions.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Justus Nyamunga, Director of the Economic Affairs Department of the National Treasury of Kenya underlined the necessity of binding forward estimates linked to program-based budget (PBB) to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures.
Ms. Florence Kuteesa, and Tawfik Ramtoolah, both technical assistance advisors in the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department and AFRITAC East, indicated that they would continue to engage with the participants in the design of the suggested complementary courses, notably in the following areas: construction of baseline for the MTBF, macro-fiscal framework, program based budgeting including monitoring and evaluation.


ends

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