Sep 192014
 
PARIS, France, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Reaching an average growth rate of about 4% in 2013, compared to the 3% growth of the global economy, Africa proved again its dynamism and resilience to regional and international turmoil. Africa´s average growth is projected to accelerate to close to 5% in 2014 and 5%-6% in 2015, particularly enhanced by the vitality of West and East African economies. A fabulous window of opportunity, this solid growth must be more inclusive to achieve Africa's economic transformation as well as political and social stability, better using the regional and global value chains to its benefits, and addressing future challenges such as the fast pace of urbanisation bringing along necessary changes in territorial policies.


The Africa Forum is the annual gathering where OECD and African policy-makers meet private sector representatives, academics and civil society leaders working on and with Africa to discuss the region's main challenges and opportunities. Organised by the OECD development Centre in partnership with the African Union Commission, the 2014 edition will focus on the achievements and limits of the current transformation of African economies, notably through Africa's insertion into the global and regional value chains, as well as the new challenges that territorial development policies and the growing discrepancy between rural and urban areas represent, in Africa



With the participation of:

• Macky Sall, President, Senegal

• Moussa Mara, Prime Minister, Mali

• Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson, African Union Commission (AU)

• Angel Gurría, Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

• Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia

• Kordje Bedoumra, Minister of Finance and Budget, Chad

• Mo Ibrahim, Founder and President, Mo Ibrahim Foundation

• Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

• Aboulaye Mar Dieye, Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

• Mario Pezzini, Director, OECD Development Centre

• Romano Prodi, Former UN Special Envoy for Sahel



This debates will benefit from the 2014 African Economic Outlook jointly produced by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme.


Media are requested to register here by 3 October. A press card will requested to enter the Forum.


Sep 192014
 

MONROVIA, Liberia, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A C-17 U.S. military aircraft arrived in Liberia Thursday with the first shipment of increased U.S. military equipment and personnel for the anti-Ebola fight, which was promised by President Barack Obama in a speech September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

The cargo included a heavy duty forklift, a drill set and generator and a team of 7 military personnel, including engineers and airfield specialists. The personnel are here to quickly assess the payload and stability of the airport runways. The forklift will be used to offload incoming supplies.

Additional large military aircraft, transporting more personnel and supplies, are expected to arrive in Monrovia in the coming days.

Major General Darryl Williams, in his capacity as Commander of U.S. Army Africa and Operation United Assistance, has been in Liberia since Tuesday, meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other senior Liberian government officials to discuss the stepped up U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.

On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Williams and U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac toured several sites where more Ebola Treatment Units are being constructed. The sites include the Defense Ministry building in Congo Town and Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex.

On Tuesday, President Obama announced Operation United Assistance, saying: “Our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, in logistics, in engineering. And our Department of Defense is better at that, our armed services are better at that, than any organization on Earth. We’re going to create an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster.”

Sep 192014
 

BERN, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A number of staff changes have been announced for several Swiss representations abroad and at the head office of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The changes will tak…

Sep 192014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In response to an invitation by the Tunisian authorities, the European Union has deployed its

Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to observe the upcoming elections in Tunisia.

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, appointed as Chief Observer Mrs Annemie Neyts-

Uyttebroek, a Member of the European Parliament.

“The EU has received an invitation by the Tunisian authorities”, said Chief Observer Annemie Neyts. “The EU deployed an Election Observation Mission to Tunisia in 2011 and has been invited again to observe the upcoming elections in Tunisia. We are here to observe the elections and we will not interfere in the process in any way. I trust that this EU Observation Mission will be able to provide an important contribution to enhancing the inclusiveness and transparency of the election process in Tunisia. The mission complements the overall support of the EU to Tunisia in order to successfully advance its democratic transition”.

The EU EOM arrived with a Core Team of eight experts on 17 September in Tunis. A second group of 28 long-term observers will join EU EOM on 29 September and another 28 shortterm observers will be deployed on 21 October throughout the country together with a delegation of the European Parliament for the election days. Additionally, a significant number of locally recruited short-term observers from diplomatic representations of EU

Member States in Tunisia will also take part in the observation plus observers from Canada, Norway and Switzerland.

The EU EOM will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the entire electoral process based on a long-term observation in line with domestic law as well as regional and international standards. This analysis will include aspects such as the legal framework, the performance of the election administration, the campaign activities of the candidates and political parties, the respect of fundamental freedoms, the conduct of the media, the voting and the counting, the complaints and appeals process, and the announcement of the results.

The EU EOM is bound by a code of conduct which does not allow any interference in the process. The EU EOM will publish its initial findings in a Preliminary Statement, which will be presented in a press conference about two days after the election days but prior to the completion of the entire electoral process. A final report will be published at a later stage, and will include recommendations, for consideration to the authorities, for possible improvements of future elections.

Note to Editors:

The EU provides substantial financial and technical assistance to Tunisia to support its transition in all domains. In the recent past months, to support the whole electoral process, the EU has also completed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Independent electoral commission (ISIE) and the independent High Authority for Information and audio-visual Communication (HAICA) and provided technical expertise to support the ISIE in its institutional and operational capabilities as well as HAICA in creating a media component of the electoral process. The EU also supports civil society in general and in its domestic observation and monitoring activities for future elections.

The European Union has signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Government and the ISIE, guaranteeing freedom of movement to all EU EOM members and access to all polling stations and related sites and bodies and to all relevant information. This Mission is independent from any EU institutions or Member States and is obliged to remain neutral and abide by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct, as well as laws of Tunisia.

Mali National Day Message

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Sep 192014
 

WASHINGTON, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 19, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States of America, I send our best wishes to…

Sep 192014
 

BERLIN, Germany, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has decided to increase Federal Foreign Office aid for the countries affected by the Ebola virus by another five million euros.

He issued the following statement in Berlin on 18 September:

The situation in the countries affected by Ebola is dramatic. The Ebola virus is spreading even further in West Africa. We must expect a continuing rise in the number of people infected. There is no end to the emergency in sight. The countries of the region, in particular Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are overwhelmed by the burden.

We mustn’t leave those affected on their own in this situation!

We therefore have a responsibility, along with the international community, to provide comprehensive assistance.

Tomorrow the State Secretaries of the various Federal Ministries with an interest in the matter will be meeting at the Federal Foreign Office to coordinate all the Federal Government’s next moves in the fight against Ebola.

Background information:

So far the Federal Government has made available around 12 million euros of aid, including approx. 1.8 million in Federal Foreign Office funding to support various measures in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The money has gone to help finance projects run by Médecins Sans Frontières, Welthungerhilfe, Humedica, the Bernhard Nocht Institute and the WHO.

The Federal Government will also be putting Ebola on the agenda for the G7 Foreign Ministerial in New York on 25 September under the German G7 presidency.

Sep 192014
 

BERLIN, Germany, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has decided to increase Federal Foreign Office aid for the countries affected by the Ebola virus by another five million euros.

He issued the following statement in Berlin on 18 September:

The situation in the countries affected by Ebola is dramatic. The Ebola virus is spreading even further in West Africa. We must expect a continuing rise in the number of people infected. There is no end to the emergency in sight. The countries of the region, in particular Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are overwhelmed by the burden.

We mustn’t leave those affected on their own in this situation!

We therefore have a responsibility, along with the international community, to provide comprehensive assistance.

Tomorrow the State Secretaries of the various Federal Ministries with an interest in the matter will be meeting at the Federal Foreign Office to coordinate all the Federal Government’s next moves in the fight against Ebola.

Background information:

So far the Federal Government has made available around 12 million euros of aid, including approx. 1.8 million in Federal Foreign Office funding to support various measures in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The money has gone to help finance projects run by Médecins Sans Frontières, Welthungerhilfe, Humedica, the Bernhard Nocht Institute and the WHO.

The Federal Government will also be putting Ebola on the agenda for the G7 Foreign Ministerial in New York on 25 September under the German G7 presidency.

Sep 192014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An on-site mission to Zambia on 22-25 September led by the President of IPU´s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Juan Pablo Letelier will complete investigations on 18 cases involving opposition members of the National Assembly.

The cases followed the rise to power of the Patriotic Front in 2011. IPU is concerned by incidents of alleged police harassment, including the arbitrary detention of parliamentarians and allegations that opposition MPs cannot fully exercise their right to freedom of assembly.

In a resolution adopted in March 2014, IPU highlighted the cases of opposition MPs Kenneth Konga and Garry Nkombo. Konga allegedly collapsed during prolonged interrogation by law enforcers and suffered a stroke as a result whilst Nkombo, was reportedly attacked by a government minister in full view of the police.

The IPU mission will also seek clarification on the situation of three opposition MPs – Dora Siliya, Maxwell Mwale and Hastings Sililo – who were disqualified from parliament on grounds of corrupt or illegal practices.

The mission will meet relevant parliamentary, executive and judicial authorities in Zambia, as well as the 18 opposition MPs. It will submit its preliminary conclusions to the Committee when it meets in October during IPU’s 131st Assembly in Geneva.

Sep 192014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An on-site mission to Zambia on 22-25 September led by the President of IPU´s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Juan Pablo Letelier will complete investigations on 18 cases involving opposition members of the National Assembly.

The cases followed the rise to power of the Patriotic Front in 2011. IPU is concerned by incidents of alleged police harassment, including the arbitrary detention of parliamentarians and allegations that opposition MPs cannot fully exercise their right to freedom of assembly.

In a resolution adopted in March 2014, IPU highlighted the cases of opposition MPs Kenneth Konga and Garry Nkombo. Konga allegedly collapsed during prolonged interrogation by law enforcers and suffered a stroke as a result whilst Nkombo, was reportedly attacked by a government minister in full view of the police.

The IPU mission will also seek clarification on the situation of three opposition MPs – Dora Siliya, Maxwell Mwale and Hastings Sililo – who were disqualified from parliament on grounds of corrupt or illegal practices.

The mission will meet relevant parliamentary, executive and judicial authorities in Zambia, as well as the 18 opposition MPs. It will submit its preliminary conclusions to the Committee when it meets in October during IPU’s 131st Assembly in Geneva.

Sep 192014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An IOM health clinic built in August and now fully operational is making a huge difference for the 47,000 displaced Sudanese by the fighting who have found refuge in the UN c…

Sep 192014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An IOM health clinic built in August and now fully operational is making a huge difference for the 47,000 displaced Sudanese by the fighting who have found refuge in the UN c…

Sep 192014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — News of up to 500 seaborne migrants being tossed to their doom near Malta — deliberately, according to eyewitness accounts — is merely the latest chapter in a horrible story unfolding on Europe’s doorstep.

Criminality, on top of desperation, has been this summer’s recipe for death — even murder, according to eyewitness accounts.

This also is a tale of impunity. As lawlessness spreads across lands already beset by civil war, disease and economic hardship, criminal organizations rush in to fill an authority vacuum left by weak governments. Libya may be the most prominent example of what happens next: criminals ply a vicious trade to prey upon vulnerable migrants.

Consider the grisly details emerging from Italy, Greece and Malta. Survivors interviewed this week by investigators of the International Organization for Migration describe smugglers charging up to $4000 apiece to board an overcrowded, creaky boat leaving Egypt, and then forcing them to switch boats in mid-sea numerous times.

According to the survivors, up to 300 migrants — perhaps as many as 100 of them children under age 10 — were stuffed into one of these crafts’ lower decks, while 200 more crowded a top deck exposed to a brutal summer sun.

On the fifth day of the journey witnesses say smugglers shadowed their vessel from what has been described as a tugboat. They came alongside the migrants’ craft and demanded they switch yet again to a smaller, less sea-worthy vessel. After the skipper of the migrants’ craft, an Egyptian, balked he was threatened that his family would be killed unless he complied. Chaos soon ensued.

Migrants began jumping to the smugglers’ boat only to be forced into the water, witnesses told IOM’s investigators. Survivors say that was when the smugglers’ boat rammed their vessel.

“After they hit our boat they waited to be sure that it had sunk completely before leaving. They were laughing,” one survivor told IOM. A week later, only 11 survivors have been found.

The rest join a growing list. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, an effort to count everyone killed annually during “irregular” journeys, calculates that already in 2014 over 2,200 migrants have died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. That’s three times 2013′s total.

In the coming weeks IOM now expects the death toll to pass 3,000 — with a quarter of the year remaining.

How can this be avoided? First, by forging policies to enable refugees’ legal, safe migration to Europe. There, many victims of the recent Mediterranean tragedies reportedly had family members waiting to receive them.

Second, nations must join forces to vigorously prosecute offenders — an effort international law already provides tools for.

Egypt, Libya, Italy and Malta are all state parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well its 2000 “Palermo Protocols,” which address smuggling of migrants by sea and the trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

These international instruments provide for prosecution by many authorities: not only States of the flagship vessels may prosecute, but also States of nationality of the perpetrators and their victims. Equally empowered as prosecutors are States where criminals conspire to commit their crimes — Italy, say, or Greece, if that’s where smugglers plot to drop their victims.

A principle of universal jurisdiction applies, too.

In view of the atrocious nature of the crimes, which are so grave they harm the entire international community, prosecutors have a duty to ensure no safe havens be available for those who commit them.

In international rhetoric, politicians typically show little sympathy for smuggled migrants — who they see as economic opportunists, even willing participants in their own fate. Of course by definition, migrant smuggling involves one person helping another to travel without authorization in return for payment.

Moreover, all countries have a right to control their borders. But the fact that someone has sought to evade migration controls shouldn’t put them outside the protection of law — especially if they’re being subjected to criminal coercion.

Today the overlap between smuggling and trafficking can’t be ignored. While we don’t yet know exactly what happened to those migrants found dead off Italy and Malta, evidence indicates that their deaths involved deception, extortion and extreme violence.

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