Remarks on Burundi by Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General

“Special Adviser Jamal Benomar is traveling to Bujumbura today following the conclusion of talks on Burundi that took place in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Special Adviser hopes that the talks in Arusha were a first step towards genuine and inclusive dialogue. He welcomed the meetings and stressed the undeniable challenge of starting a viable political process. He urged all of those involved to work diligently in order for that to happen as soon as possible.

Mr. Benomar has been consulting with various stakeholders who attended the talks and will continue to reach out to and consult with others who did not attend. During his visit to Arusha, he reiterated to former President Benjamin Mkapa that he and his team are ready to assist and support the facilitator in moving the process forward.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Remarks on Burundi by Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the adoption of resolution 2288 (2016) terminating the Liberia sanctions regime

The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption today of Security Council resolution 2288 (2016), which terminated the sanctions on Liberia.

The Secretary-General notes that targeted sanctions measures have accompanied the consolidation of peace and the rebuilding of State institutions in Liberia since 2003 and that these measures have been progressively adjusted as Liberia has met the benchmarks set out by the Council.

Today’s lifting by the Security Council of the remaining arms embargo on non-state actors further signals the significant progress made by Liberia and the sub-region in maintaining stability.

The Secretary-General echoes the call in resolution 2288 (2016) on the Government of Liberia to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to establish the necessary legal and administrative framework to combat the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition.

New York, 25 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the adoption of resolution 2288 (2016) terminating the Liberia sanctions regime

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Niger: deadly attack in Bosso district destroys MSF health post

At least six people were killed and eight more were severely injured on Thursday, May 19, in an attack on Yebi village, in Niger’s Bosso District, where thousands of people displaced by violence in the Lake Chad area have taken refuge. According to Nigerien authorities, the attack was carried out by the group known as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also called Boko Haram.

At the request of local health authorities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) evacuated eight severely injured people to the regional hospital in Diffa town, the capital of the region.

Twenty attacks related to Boko Haram occurred in the region between January 1 and March 10, 2016, according to the United Nations. Conflict is ongoing in the area between Boko Haram and the Nigerien army.

During the attack, which took place at night, the market and many houses were burned down. Three wells that provided water to the village were also destroyed, along with the generator that powers the pump. Without these wells the village has no water supply, as there is no other free water source around Yebi.

The MSF health post in Yebi, which serves a population of about 20,000 people, was also completely destroyed in the attack. An average of 400 consultations were carried out at the post each week and there is no other health facility in the village. This is not the first attack on an MSF medical facility in Diffa; on the night of May 2, the health center in Ngarwa was also looted.

“We are very concerned about the impact of these attacks on the population and also about the lack of respect for the medical facilities, which could jeopardize the already limited access to health care in Diffa,” said Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF head of mission in Niger. “We are planning to resume activities as soon as possible.”

A measles vaccination campaign, which had started just before the attack, had to be postponed for several days.

MSF supports several health centers in the districts of Diffa, Nguigmi, and Bosso, as well as the main maternal and child center in Diffa town and the Nguigmi District Hospital. MSF also provides medical care in the camp of Assaga and in Yebi. In 2015, MSF carried out more than 142,000 medical consultations in the region.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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Source:: Niger: deadly attack in Bosso district destroys MSF health post

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The French Embassy in Nigeria is glad to support 2 food-aid projects in the North-East, both starting in June this year.

Under the food-aid programme 2016, an instrument of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support actions for food security and recovery of the means of production, the French Embassy in Nigeria decided to grant a financial support to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) for implementing two projects.

By doing so, France intends to contribute actively to the support to vulnerable populations affected by the crisis in the North East by helping them to get access to food and water. The ICRC and ACF will respectively receive 500.000 euros and 350.000 euros for the following projects:

ICRC : food assistance and support for agricultural production for the civilian population in Borno State (Maiduguri and around Lake Chad) and Adamawa State
ACF : emergency food security and livelihood interventions for internally displaced persons and crisis affected population in Yobe State (Fika local government area)

The Embassy of France is strongly committed to fight poverty and to assist the victims of the humanitarian crisis.

The Ambassador of France, His Excellency Denys Gauer, met with the head of delegation of ICRC, Mr Karl Anton Mattli, on the 2nd of May, and signed an agreement with the country director of ACF, Mr Yannick Pouchalan, on the 17th of May 2016.

France will also support the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a psychosocial support and access to justice project in favor of affected populations in the North East.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of France in Nigeria.

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Source:: The French Embassy in Nigeria is glad to support 2 food-aid projects in the North-East, both starting in June this year.

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UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson arrives in Nairobi

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson arrived in Nairobi today, Wednesday 25 May 2016 for a two day visit which will include the following events; – open to the press (unless and otherwise indicated)

1. Welcomes President Uhuru Kenyata to UNON for the opening of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)
Time: 9.30a.m. Place: Conference Room 1, UNON

2. Opening address of UNEA
Time: 10:00 am Place: Conference Room 2, UNON
Launch of the Kenya Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Stamps with Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohammed
Time: 12:30 pm Place: Press Centre – UNON

3. Public Lecture -Topic: The Power of Diplomacy in Changing Global Landscape
Time: 4:00p.m. Place: United States International University (USIU)-Africa, Auditorium

4. Meeting with President Kenyatta at the State House
Note: Media access is via Government of Kenya

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Information Center in Nairobi.

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Source:: UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson arrives in Nairobi

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Ethiopia / South Sudan: UN experts call for the release of remaining abducted children from the Gambella region

Two United Nations human rights experts today urged the Ethiopian and South Sudanese authorities to increase their efforts to free all the children abducted in the western Ethiopia’s Gambella region during cross border attacks by armed men.

Last month, on 15 April, 208 people were reportedly killed and 146 girls and boys abducted when armed men from the Murle ethnic group crossed the Ethiopian border and attacked 13 Nuer villages in the Jikaw and Lare districts of the Gambella region. During the raids, 80 people were reportedly wounded and over 2,000 cattle stolen.

The experts’ appeal comes after the reported liberation of 59 of the abducted children, who are mostly younger than 13, and their return to Ethiopia over the past week.

The UN Special Rapporteurs on the sale of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, and on summary executions, Christof Heyns, commended the Ethiopian and South Sudanese authorities for achieving the release of the abducted children through negotiations, but stressed “that ongoing liberation efforts should not pose a threat to the safety and best interests of the remaining children held in captivity.”

“I welcome the provision of interim care, with the help of international actors, to these children but insist on the need to have adequate, child-sensitive and long-term care, recovery and reintegration support services,” Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio said. “They and their families and communities are entitled to reparations, including urgent interim reparations to address immediate needs and avoid irreparable harm.”

April’s attacks took place in a context of recurring cross border cattle raids and inter-ethnic clashes since the beginning of the year, in which 26 children from the Anywa ethnic minority have also reportedly been abducted and 19 Anywa villagers were killed. These abducted children run the risk of being sold for labour exploitation purposes.

“Both Ethiopia and South Sudan have the duty to guarantee the right of every individual to life and security,” Mr. Heyns added. “This includes the responsibility to prevent harm caused by non-state actors.”

The experts noted that it is essential to conduct effective and prompt investigations when such attacks occur in order to bring perpetrators to justice. “In the absence of accountability and with the existing level of impunity, the cycle of violence affecting the region will never come to an end and will only get worse,” they emphasized.

Gambella is an ethnically diverse, historically marginalized and underdeveloped region, and its stability has been impacted by events in South Sudan. Conflicts emerged in the region in the past decade which saw victims amongst all groups. More recently, affected communities have received little protection from the Ethiopian and South Sudanese governments, while the reported flow of small arms in the region is increasing the deadly outcome of these raids.

“There is an urgent need for an effective and well-resourced permanent presence at the border in order to monitor the area and prevent incursions,” they underscored. Moreover, both States must urgently address ongoing inter-ethnic conflict with conflict prevention and resolution measures through community and Government led initiatives.

The two UN human rights experts called on the Ethiopian and South Sudanese authorities to prevent a repetition of such attacks by increasing their collaboration. Priority should be given to reducing tensions and building confidence among and between ethnic groups by addressing the root causes of tensions, promoting stability, and engaging with communities. They also urged the international community to support these efforts and provide all the necessary support to locate, rescue and assist the abducted children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Source:: Ethiopia / South Sudan: UN experts call for the release of remaining abducted children from the Gambella region

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FC – Sanctions against Côte d’Ivoire lifted

On the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2283 (2016) of 28 April 2016, the Federal Council has repealed the Ordinance on Measures against Côte d’Ivoire. The measures involved a partial embargo on armaments, as well as financial and travel sanctions. The Ordinance is repealed as of 6pm on 25 May 2016.

The Federal Council

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Switzerland.

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Source:: FC – Sanctions against Côte d’Ivoire lifted

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The UK is the Number One partner for the Suez Canal Economic Zone

British businesses have the experience and expertise to make the UK the number one partner for developing Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone, according to the UK’s Trade Envoy to Egypt Jeffrey Donaldson MP.

Mr Donaldson’s comments came as Dr Ahmed Darwish, Chairman of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, begins a four-day visit to the UK. During his visit, Dr Darwish will meet Mr Robert Goodwill, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, a wide range of leading British companies such as Deloitte, Carillion, and British Telecom, and will receive a tour of the Port of Liverpool.

Jeffrey Donaldson MP said:

I look forward to welcoming Dr Ahmed Darwish to the UK. We have worked hard to pull together a programme which will demonstrate to Dr Darwish areas of outstanding experience and expertise which the UK can offer in the development of the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

Dr Darwish’s visit comes three months after my own visit to Egypt where I saw for myself the speed at which the area is being developed. I am confident that the UK can be the number one partner in the Suez Canal Economic Zone project as Dr Darwish’s vision becomes a reality.

Jason Ivory, Director of UK Trade and Investment in Cairo, said:

Dr Darwish’s visit is a great opportunity for us to continue building on the UK and Egypt’s strong business and trade partnership.

This is an exciting time. For many years the UK has been Egypt’s number one investor and now, with major opportunities emerging from the Suez Canal Economic Zone, British businesses are set to help make this ambitious project a success.

It is particularly exciting that Dr Darwish will visit the Port of Liverpool during his visit to the UK – a world-class example of ports development, management, operations, security, and technology. It is a great showcase for how British businesses can deliver a state-of-the-art ports project fit for the twenty-first century and it is exactly what Egypt is looking for.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British Embassy Cairo.

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Source:: The UK is the Number One partner for the Suez Canal Economic Zone

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All our offices in South Africa will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016

All our offices in South Africa will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016. These include The British High Commission office in Pretoria, Visa office in Pretoria, Cape Town office, UKTI office in Johannesburg and all our Consular offices will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016.

To report an emergency involving a British National or if you are a British National in need of immediate assistance please contact the Global Response Centre in London on 0044 20 7008 1500. British Nationals can also email

All offices will reopen on Tuesday 31 May 2016.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Pretoria.

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Source:: All our offices in South Africa will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016

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UN Secretary-General’s message on Africa Day

Africa Day 2016 is being celebrated in furtherance of the African Union’s theme for this year: “Human Rights with a Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. This demonstrates the commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women – as key drivers and enablers – at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Both frameworks share similar strategic principles, with a focus on people, prosperity, environmental sustainability, justice, human rights and mutually accountable partnerships. The alignment between the global and the continental agendas calls for a harmonized approach in planning, implementation and monitoring.

Under Agenda 2063, Africa’s priorities include investing in its people, with an emphasis on women and youth; developing manufacturing and agro-processing; building transport, water, sanitation, energy and ICT infrastructure; domestic resource mobilization and stemming illicit financial flows; ending conflict; promoting human rights; and expanding democratic governance. Africa also has the opportunity to pursue industrialization in a more environmentally sustainable manner, including through climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy and arresting deforestation. I encourage African nations and their partners to spare no effort in advancing these priorities. The United Nations is committed in its support.

Africa’s economic prospects are good, despite the uncertain global economic landscape. Growth is projected to increase to 4.4 per cent in 2016, from 3.7 percent in 2015. I urge Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind. This is crucial for tackling root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and fostering peace and stability. I also commend Africa’s bold initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”, which is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063’s First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.

The successful implementation of these new agendas will require a renewed partnership for development cooperation among African governments, UN entities, the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, the Regional Economic Communities and the development partners. The private sector also has a key role to play in creating jobs, promoting innovation in technologies and services, and supporting the massive infrastructure transition needed to fulfil Africa’s sustainable development objectives.

On this Africa Day, I urge all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. What is good for Africa is good for the world.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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U.S. Mission in South Africa Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic Visit to South Africa

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – June 1966, Robert Kennedy

The U.S. Mission to South Africa will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) to South Africa through a series of events May 30-June 4, 2016. RFK’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy, along with several members of the Kennedy family, will be joined by representatives from the Faith & Politics Institute and RFK Human Rights to attend commemorative events in Gauteng, Durban, and Cape Town.

On May 30, the Wits School of Governance will host the first event, a panel discussion as a part of its Dialogue on Development and Rights series. The event is titled “Ripples of Hope: Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic 1966 Visit to South Africa – Its Significance Then and Now.” It will include dramatic readings of monologue excerpts from Kerry Kennedy’s book Speak Truth to Power, read by students in Wits’ Drama for Life program, and a panel discussion in which Kerry Kennedy, Ambassador Gaspard, former president Kgalema Motlanthe, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe, and Wits Theater Director Gita Pather will participate.

Media are invited to a press briefing on May 30 at 4:00 p.m. at Wits University, immediately prior the start of the Dialogue on Development and Rights. All interested media should RSVP to, at which time further details will be provided.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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Source:: U.S. Mission in South Africa Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic Visit to South Africa

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High Commissioner to South Africa Dame Judith Macgregor’s speech at Africa Renaissance

My thanks to Proffesser Sihawu Ngubane and the African Renaissance Organising Committee for welcoming me here today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to such a distinguished audience of ministers, international education leaders and experts as well as diplomatic colleagues. And I am gratified to be asked to speak on such an important theme, which is very close to my heart.

I am a firm believer that education is an essential component of the open, empowered world that we all aspire to. The global connections that exist around education are a major force for good, for innovation, for knowledge and for partnership.

Earlier this month, in Cape Town, 800 leaders from around the world attended Going Global – the world’s largest highest education conference. In his opening remarks, Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council who organised the event, said “I believe this century will be an African century. That’s because Africa has one very big thing on her side: potential. No one nation, or even one continent, can hope to adequately address all the big issues facing people. And because challenges are connected, solutions must be connected’.

The United Kingdom wants to contribute to that enhancement of learning across Africa. We take great pleasure – and pride – in welcoming students from all over Africa to our country to study. Our scholarships have provided life-changing chances for thousands across the globe and here in South Africa. And we work hard to make sure they enjoy their time in the UK as well as learn from it, both in academic terms and in their personal growth. Chevening, our flagship scholarship scheme offers opportunities for fully-funded postgraduate study in UK universities. It was established in 1983, so is now in its 33rd year, and has developed into a prestigious international scholarship and fellowship scheme with an influential global alumni network, including Presidents, business leaders and academic pioneers. It provides a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.

Scholarship places tripled in the 2015/2016 academic year to more than 1,500 opportunities globally. In South Africa that number grew to over 40 places. To date almost 700 South Africans have been through our Chevening programme and are now contributing to South Africa’s development in different spheres, including Lesetja Kganyago, the South Africa Reserve Bank Governor.

We have welcomed South African scholars from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. Common subject areas for study include: economics and finance, human rights, law, management, international relations, good governance, media studies and journalism, development studies, public administration, environmental studies, computer and information technology, engineering, energy related fields, and political science. Chevening Scholars have to commit to return to South Africa after completing their studies in the UK. To date more than 680 individuals have been through the Chevening programme. And continue to contribute to South Africa’s development in different spheres.

But we are always keen to expand our range of applicants across all fields – so if you want to apply, or know someone who might want to, then I urge you to look us up at The new round of applications for the academic year 2016/2017 will be opening soon, so get in there early – especially as there are likely to be up to 50 places for South Africa up for grabs this time round.

We are also want to expand the number of scholarships we are able to offer, so that we can support even more talented young people in South Africa in the future. Our principle means of achieving this is through working collaboratively with business, and we actively seek out organisations to partner with us in this endeavour. If this might apply to your business, please do get in touch with the High Commission and help us promote this useful opportunity amongst your constituencies.

Chevening is not the only Scholarship Programme we support. The UK is also part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The Plan was established in 1959, and over 30,000 individuals have benefited – 25,000 of whom were directly funded by the UK government. Today the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission supports around 700 awards annually – with a focus on developing leadership potential and delivering a development impact in scholars’ home countries – where they return and put their new skills and experience into practice once their studies are complete.

Awards to study in the UK are jointly funded by the UK Government and UK universities and in 2015 alone, 34 awards and 1 fellowship were awarded to South Africans. And just as we look forward to seeing more South African Commonwealth Scholars coming to the UK, we’re delighted that (nine) Scholars from across the Commonwealth can likewise now come here to study at South Africa’s finest universities.Applications for Commonwealth Scholarships 2016 are now open and will be so until 18th of November. More information can be found on the British Council website.

And there are also a range of smaller, but none the less prestigious UK funded scholarships, such as the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, which was launched as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2013. The Queen’s Young Leaders Award recognizes and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking a lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK, during which they collect their Award from Her Majesty the Queen. With the support they receive, Award winners are expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.

To date there have been five South African Queen’s Young Leaders, all of whom have been women! This year, the two South African awardees are especially exceptional, working to train young people to start community-based projects, offering services including skills courses to help vulnerable young people find employment, supporting children with no access to extra-curricular activities including dance, football and drama and helping young people who are using drugs or alcohol turn their lives around. These are just a few examples of scholarships that the UK makes available every year – spend 20 minutes on the internet and you are sure to find many, many more!

And of course scholarship programmes are not the only way in which the UK helps support young, talented South Africans in their thirst for learning. The British Council is active in many areas of Higher Education co-operation, in particular here in KwaZuluNatal, where their International Skills Partnership is supporting a skills training programme for Engineering students – where they work hand in hand with industry to prepare students for their entry into the workplace – the development of maritime skills training, and the establishment of vocational training for students that want to excel in welding. These are a a few examples only of the excellent work the British Council undertakes with a range of partners across South Africa.

Over the years they, alongside other UK ministries and partners have supported a range of innovative projects and programmes to support education here in South Africa. From courses to provide digital marketing skills, to mobile internet solutions to help those in rural communities access learning opportunities.

And we have established partnerships and exchanges to ensure enduring collaboration between our countries so that we can continue to learn from one another. The Newton Fund is making waves on the science and innovation landscape, creating new and exciting research collaboration opportunities.

The relationships that this has forged between the UK and South Africa is a great example of success, with joint research to address issues in health, agritech and energy. Within its short two-year life span, the UK-SA Newton Fund has already fostered links between 44 UK and 28 South African institutions. 163 awards have been made under the Fund, including 3 bilateral research chairs, 23 fellowships and11 PhD partnerships – involving 288 UK and SA students. We’ve launched 14 new joint research partnerships and 3 new programmes. Which I am sure you will agree is an impressive amount of co-operation in such a short time.

And we are committed to expanding the programme even further, both in terms of budget – which has already been increased to £5 million next year – and in reach, with aspirations to further increase Newton’s regional footprint across Africa . Several Newton Fund activities build capacity and skills across African networks, and trilateral links have been established with Egypt and Kenya helping ensuring that other countries across the region benefit for the UK and South Africa’s endeavours.

And this is not the end of the story. As technology marches on we are keen to make use of new developments, like joint overseas campuses, joint degrees and the myriad new innovative means of joining up digitally that are launching daily, to see even more collaboration in an even wider range of fields. Helping us to bridge learning gaps and work together even more closely.

I can commit that we in the UK will continue to play our part in these exciting developments. As Matt Hancock, the Minister representing the UK at Going Global said, “The UK believes that high quality education is a fundamental right for everyone. We will push the boundaries of education, enhancing its reach and quality across the globe, by looking for opportunities to collaborate and innovate in international education. By investing together we will deliver smarter young people to generate the very best future leaders, teachers, engineers and employers for all of our countries.”

Madiba said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. I couldn’t agree with him enough. By working together and continuing to promote education exchanges with friends and partners like South Africa, we can not only change the education sector, but use that as a catalyst to change the world in a positive way that benefits the next generation in all of our countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: High Commissioner to South Africa Dame Judith Macgregor’s speech at Africa Renaissance

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