Oct 312014
 
DUBLIN, Ireland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Government is to provide an additional €1 million to the UN to fight Ebola in West Africa, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North-South Co-operation Sean Sherlock, announced today.


The funding is being provided to the new UN Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER), which is coordinating the international response to the crisis. It will support the provision of treatment facilities for Ebola patients, vital nutrition and campaigns to raise awareness among communities of the measures they can take to prevent transmission.


Announcing the funding, Minister Flanagan highlighted the importance of a coordinated international response:


“The latest grim figures from the World Health Organisation show that almost 14,000 people have contracted, or are suspected of having contracted, the disease, while almost 5,000 have lost their lives. The international community must work urgently to support the worst-affected countries to bring the disease under control. We must stop it at its source.


“The UN Trust Fund has been established to ensure speedy, coordinated and rapid UN action to counter the Ebola epidemic. That is why the Government is channelling this funding of €1 million through UNMEER. It is in addition to the €16 million we provide annually to the region directly through our partner governments and through NGOs. Our programmes in Sierra Leone and Liberia are very focused on strengthening both countries' health systems, which were already very weak, but have now been overwhelmed.


“Ireland is one of a small number of countries with an embassy on the ground in Freetown. Our funding to date has provided desperately-needed beds, ambulance services, vital nutrition for children, blankets, medical training and public awareness campaigns.


Last month, Minister of State Seán Sherlock visited Sierra Leone to witness firsthand the extent of the crisis: “Having seen the devastation which Ebola is wreaking, it was clear to me that a stronger international response was needed.


“While in Freetown I met with Anthony Banbury, Secretary General Ban's Special Representative and Head of UNMEER It is clear that stopping the spread of Ebola requires a comprehensive and coordinated response from the international community. The UN is leading this effort through the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), which is the first-ever UN Emergency Health Mission created by the United Nations.


“The Ebola Trust Fund has the capacity to quickly disburse funds to maximum effect. Ireland will continue to work closely with the UN, the EU, NGOs and other international partners to in our collective effort to deal effectively with this crisis,” Minister Sherlock said.

Oct 312014
 

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Funding Opportunity Announcement

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

October 30, 2014

Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-PRMOAPAF-15-003-050218

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number: 19.517 – Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Africa

Announcement issuance date: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Proposal submission deadline: Friday, December 5, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EST. Proposals submitted after this deadline cannot be considered.

**ADVISORY: All applicants must submit proposals through the website Grants.gov NOT through GrantsSolutions.gov. Please note that if you apply on the GrantSolutions.gov site, your application will be disqualified. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to allow time to address any difficulties that may arise**

If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher.

Proposed Program Start Dates: January 1, 2015—March 1, 2015

Eligible Applicants: (1) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (2) Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; and (3) International Organizations. International Organizations (IOs) should not submit proposals through Grants.gov in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement. Rather, IOs such as UN agencies and other Public International Organizations (PIOs) that are seeking funding for programs relevant to this announcement should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer (as listed below) on or before the closing date of the funding announcement.

Duration of Activity: Program plans from 12 to 24 months will be considered. Applicants may submit multi-year proposals with activities and budgets that do not exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Actual awards will not exceed 12 months in duration and activities and budgets submitted in year one can be revised/updated each year. Continued funding after the initial 12- month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. In funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities. Please see Multi-Year Funding section below for additional information.

Current Funding Priorities for Congolese refugees in Tanzania:

PRM will prioritize funding for proposed NGO activities that best meet the Bureau’s priorities for Congolese refugees in Tanzania as identified below:

(a) Proposed activities should primarily support Congolese refugees in Nyarugusu Camp in western Tanzania. Because of PRM’s mandate to provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees and victims of conflict, PRM will consider funding only those projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 80% refugees.

(b) Proposals must focus on the following sector

• Protection, including one or more of the following:

o Gender-based Violence

o Psychosocial Support

o Child Protection

(c) Proposals must have a concrete implementation plan with well-conceived objectives and indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and reliable, time-bound, and trackable (SMART), have established baselines, and include at least one outcome or impact indicator per objective; objectives should be clearly linked to the sectors.

(d) Proposals must adhere to relevant international standards for humanitarian assistance. See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for a complete list of sector-specific standards including new guidance on proposals for projects in urban areas.

(e) PRM strongly encourages programs that target the needs of potentially vulnerable and underserved groups among the beneficiary population (women; children; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; older persons; the sick; persons with disabilities; and other minorities) and can demonstrate what steps have been taken to meet the specific and unique protection and assistance needs of these vulnerable groups effectively. NOTE: PRM partners must now complete a gender analysis (see PRM proposal template, section 3a) that briefly analyzes (1) gender dynamics within the target population (i.e., roles, power dynamics, and different needs of men and women, girls and boys); (2) associated risks and implementation challenges for the project posed by those dynamics; and (3) how program activities will mitigate these protection risks and be made accessible to vulnerable groups (particularly women and girls). A gender analysis is a requirement prior to PRM making a final funding award.

(f) PRM will accept proposals from any NGO working in the above mentioned sectors although, given budgetary constraints, priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:

• a working relationship with UNHCR, current UNHCR funding, and/or a letter of support from UNHCR for the proposed activities and/or overall country program (this letter should highlight the gap in services the proposed program is designed to address);

• a proven track record in providing proposed assistance both in the sector and specified location;

• evidence of coordination with international organizations (IOs) and other NGOs working in the same area or sector as well as – where possible – local authorities;

• a strong transition plan, where feasible, involving local capacity-building;

• a budget that demonstrates co-funding by non-U.S. government sources.

Funding Limits: PRM will consider projects submitted with budgets up to $750,000.

In FY 2015, PRM anticipates providing approximately $750,000 to fund NGO programs in Tanzania. Project proposal budgets must not be more than $750,000 (per year) or they will be disqualified. As stated in PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, PRM looks favorably on cost-sharing efforts and seeks to support projects with a diverse donor base and/or resources from the submitting organization.

Proposal Submission Requirements: Proposals must be submitted via Grants.gov (not via GrantSolutions.gov). If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher. Applicants may also refer to the “Applicant Resources” page on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements (http://test.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-resources.html).

Please note the following highlights:

• Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should register well in advance of the deadline as it can take up to two weeks to finalize registration (sometimes longer for non-U.S. based NGOs to get the required registration numbers). To register with Grants.gov, organizations must first receive a DUNS number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov which can take weeks and sometimes months. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via Grants.gov no later than one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in an application not being considered. PRM partners must maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application under consideration by PRM or any federal agency.

• Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.

• If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at support@grants.gov or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via Grants.gov due to Grants.gov technical difficulties and who have reported the problem to the Grants.gov help desk, received a case number, and had a service request opened to research the problem, should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.

• Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), the Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at: https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Documents/Listofoverseascertsandassurances.pdf.

Proposal Content, Formatting and Template: This announcement is designed to accompany PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional administrative information on proposal content and formatting, and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

PRM strongly recommends using the proposal and budget templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Please send an email, with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line, to PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Single-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 20 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 15 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total however annexes cannot be relied upon as a key source of program information. The proposal narrative must be able to stand on its own in the application process.

To be considered for PRM funding, organizations must submit a complete application package including:

• Proposal reflecting objectives and indicators for each year of the program period.

• Budget and budget narrative for each year of the program period.

• Signed completed SF-424.

In addition, proposal submissions to PRM should include the following information:

• Focus on outcome or impact indicators as much as possible. At a minimum, each objective should have one outcome or impact indicator. Wherever possible, baselines should be established before the start of the project.

• To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries (GPS coordinates if possible).

• Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization’s motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.

• The budget should include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization. PRM strongly encourages multilateral support for humanitarian programs.

• In FY 2015, PRM is asking applicants whose proposals address gender-based violence (GBV) to estimate the total cost of these activities as a separate line item in their proposed budgets. PRM’s budget template document has been updated to reflect this new requirement.

• Gender analysis (See above. Required before an award can be made).

• Copy of the organization’s Code of Conduct (required before an award can be made).

• Copy of the organization’s Security Plan (required before an award can be made).

• Proposals and budgets should include details of any sub-agreements associated with the program.

• Most recent Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.

• NGOs that have not received PRM funding since the U.S. government fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government by submitting copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) proof of non-profit tax status including under IRS 501 (c)(3), as applicable, 3) a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and 4) an Employer ID (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification number.

• Organizations that received PRM funding in FY 2014 for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.

Multi-Year Funding: Applicants proposing multi-year programs should adhere to the following guidance:

Applicants may submit proposals that include multi-year strategies presented in 12-month cycles for a period not to exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Fully developed programs with detailed budgets, objectives and indicators are required for each year of activities. These can be updated yearly upon submission of continuation applications. Applicants should note that they may use PRM’s recommended multi-year proposal template for this application, which is different from the single year template. Multi-year funding applicants may also use PRM’s standard budget template and should submit a separate budget sheet for each project year. Multi-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 30 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 25 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total.

Multi-year applications selected for funding by PRM will be funded in 12- month increments based on the proposal submitted in the initial application as approved by PRM. Continued funding after the initial 12- month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. Continuation applications must be submitted by the organization no later than 90 days before the proposed start date of the new award (e.g., if the next project period is to begin on September 1, submit your application by June 1). Continuation applications are submitted in lieu of responding to PRM’s published call for proposals for those activities. Late continuation applications will jeopardize continued funding.

Organizations can request multi-year funding and continuation application templates by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line.

Reports and Reporting Requirements:

Program reporting: PRM requires quarterly and final program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. It is highly suggested that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template. To request this template, send an email with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line to PRM’s NGO Coordinator.

Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement; a final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement.

For more details regarding reporting requirements please see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.

Proposal Review Process: PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

PRM may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will provide formal notifications to NGOs of final decisions taken by Bureau management.

Branding and Marking Strategy: Unless exceptions have been approved by the designated bureau Authorizing Official as described in the proposal templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator, at a minimum, the following provision will be included whenever assistance is awarded:

As a condition of receipt of this assistance award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under this agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, event backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. Subrecipients and subsequent tier sub-award agreements are subject to the marking requirements and the recipient shall include a provision in the subrecipient agreement indicating that the standard, rectangular U.S. flag is a requirement. In the event the recipient does not comply with the marking requirements as established in the approved assistance agreement, the Grants Officer Representative and the Grants Officer must initiate corrective action.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars: For Federal awards starting before December 26, 2014, organizations should be familiar with OMB Circulars A-110 (Revised) 22 CFR 145 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations), A-122/A-21 (Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations; Indirect Costs), and A-133/A-128 (Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations) on cost accounting principles. For a copy of the OMB circulars cited, please contact Government Publications or download from http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default.

Starting from December 26, 2014, OMB Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et al.) will take effect. All applicants should be familiar with the Uniform Guidance and be aware that all awards made on or after December 26, 2014 will be made with terms and conditions subject to the Uniform Guidance. Applications that are submitted before December 26, 2014 for Federal awards to be made on or after December 26, 2014 should be developed in accordance with the Uniform Guidance. For a copy of the Uniform Guidance, please contact Government Publications or download from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-26/pdf/2013-30465.pdf .

PRM Points of Contact: Should NGOs have technical questions related to this announcement, they should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to proposal submission. Please note that responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.

PRM Program Officer Bryan Lupton (LuptonBC@state.gov); 202-453-9307; Washington, D.C.

Great Lakes Regional Refugee Coordinator Josh Fischel (FischelJ@state.gov); +256-414-306001 ext. 6519; U.S. Embassy Kampala.

Oct 312014
 

MONROVIA, Liberia, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today a new Ebola treatment unit opens at the former Ministry of Defence compound, on the outskirts of Monrovia. This new unit adds another 200 beds to the almost 500 currently available for Ebola patients in the Liberian capital, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak.

While new cases continue to be reported in the capital city, with a total of 6,535 cases across the country as of October 29, providing Ebola patients with access to the best possible quality of care is essential to stop the transmission of the Ebola virus and preventing its further spread. “We need to ensure that Ebola patients are well taken care of and receive treatment on time,” says Dr. Alex Gasasira, acting WHO representative for Liberia. “This new Ebola treatment unit will be able to take care of and treat 200 Ebola patients at a time. It really feels like we built a little village.”

For the past few weeks, around 150 local construction workers have been working three shifts a day to build this new Ebola treatment unit. The compound has 6 huge tents tents—capable of holding up to 50 patients each—that will house suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola patients.

The daily management of the treatment centre will be taken care of by the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, with support from African Union and Cuban foreign medical teams.

The construction of this new Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia is a joint partnership between the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the World Health Organization, World Food Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations for Project Services and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank.

With this new Ebola treatment centre, the total number of functional treatment centres located in Montserrado County, including the capital Monrovia, comes to four. Another four treatment centres are functional in three other counties across the country. Several more centres are close to completion in Liberia but there is still an urgent need for more foreign medical teams to help staff them.

Oct 312014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With the conflict in South Sudan prompting civilians to seek refuge in Ethiopia, and intercommunal violence generating internal displacement in different parts of the country, the ICRC and its partners have been moving quickly to bring aid to the people who need it most.

During the first half of 2014, the ICRC and its partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Swiss Red Cross) jointly provided emergency assistance to South Sudanese refugees at entry points and in refugee camps in Ethiopia’s Gambella region. In addition, the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross provided support for people displaced by intercommunal clashes in different parts of the country.

“Thanks to a prompt and coordinated response by all Movement partners in the country, our efforts to preserve the life and dignity of people suffering hardship have had a significant impact,” said Ariane Tombet, head of the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia.

In order to help South Sudanese refugees, mostly women and children, newly arrived in Gambella region through several entry points along the border, the ICRC built five communal shelters between July and August at Pagak entry point and equipped them with blankets, kitchen sets and sleeping mats. In addition, together with the Ethiopian Red Cross, it distributed blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, jerrycans, energy-saving stoves and firewood to 15,600 particularly needy people in Leitchour camp. The ICRC further responded to the refugee crisis by building 200 emergency latrines in Leitchour camp and by delivering water by truck to Kule camp until July to meet the camp’s pressing water needs.

To reduce mortality rates among South Sudanese refugees, the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross placed three vehicles on standby at the main entry points and camps in Gambella so that the sick, the wounded, pregnant women, elderly people and other refugees could if needed be taken to hospital quickly and also so that dead bodies could be transferred. Surgical equipment, other medical supplies and hygiene items were provided for Gambella Hospital and the Itang and Niengnieng health centres to enable them to better respond to the increasing demand for health care resulting from the influx of South Sudanese refugees. In addition, the regional blood bank was provided with supplies to make it operational.

Some 42,000 people displaced by intercommunal clashes in Moyale, Guji, Borena, Gambella and Benchi-Maji received blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets, sleeping mats and jerrycans provided by the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross. Some 48,000 returnees in East Hararghe were given maize and sorghum seed and farm tools to help them earn a living again.

Visiting detainees

From January to September, the ICRC made regular visits to all federal prisons and to regional prisons in Amhara, Harari, Oromia, Tigray, Afar and Benishangul Gumuz to ensure that detainees, regardless of the reason for their arrest and detention, were treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international standards. It also visited the Mekele Regional Police Investigation Center in Tigray, and worked to improve access to health care for prisoners.

From January to September:

• more than 32,000 detainees benefited from ICRC visits;

• 240 Red Cross messages (containing brief family news) were exchanged between detainees and their families;

• water and sanitation services and kitchen fuel consumption were improved in cooperation with the prison authorities in six regional prisons holding about 20,000 detainees.

Restoring contact between family members

The ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross help family members dispersed by conflict, including Ethiopian and Eritrean civilians separated by the closed border, to exchange news. Refugees in Ethiopia and their families in their home countries receive similar help, as do Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia and their relatives. Special attention is given to the situation of unaccompanied minors.

From January to September, the ICRC:

• received 191 new tracing requests and located 41 persons sought by their families;

• collected more than 2,240 and distributed more than 1,950 Red Cross messages in cooperation with the Ethiopian Red Cross enabling civilians to restore and maintain contact with their families;

• organized 6,100 free phone calls between Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees and their families abroad, and more than 9,150 free calls for Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia or Yemen; more than 600 of the calls were made by unaccompanied minors.

Physical rehabilitation

The ICRC continues to provide supplies and financial and technical support for seven physical rehabilitation centres to enable people with physical disabilities to regain mobility, lead their lives in dignity, and play an active role in society. This year, it helped set up physical rehabilitation centres in Assosa, Gambella and Nekempte which will provide services in western regions.

From January to September:

• 4,266 people with physical disabilities had access to free rehabilitation services;

• 15 new students and nine previous graduates were given primary and advanced prosthetic and orthotic training.

Promoting international humanitarian law

In cooperation with the Ethiopian Red Cross, the ICRC continues to spread knowledge of international humanitarian law among local and regional authorities, police, lawyers, academics, civil society and media personnel.

• Some 650 members of federal and regional police forces, mainly crime prevention or investigation and riot control officers, members of special security forces and prison guards, attended information sessions organized jointly with regional police training centres. A two-day round-table discussion was also organized for the heads of 29 police training centres.

• More than 1,000 local leaders, including religious leaders and representatives of community-based organizations, and Red Cross volunteers from Southern Nations, Benishangul-Gumuz, Tigray and Oromia regions, attended information sessions.

• Some 26 journalists from the Tigray region enhanced their knowledge of international humanitarian law and the protection the law provides to media professionals covering armed conflict.

• More than 250 judges and prosecutors from Southern Nations, Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions attended seminars on international humanitarian law organized by the ICRC in cooperation with regional legal training institutions.

• About 450 law and journalism students and their instructors from three universities enhanced their understanding of international humanitarian law and their ability to do research on related subjects at information sessions organized jointly with their universities’ law faculties.

• Thirty-six students from 12 universities demonstrated their knowledge of international humanitarian law in a national moot-court competition held at Dilla University with the financial and technical support of the ICRC.

Oct 312014
 

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lead by Mercedes Vera Martin visited Nouakchott from October 20−30 to conduct discussions for the 2014 Article IV consultation.

At the end of the visit Ms. Vera Martin, issued the following statement:

“Mauritania’s economic developments remained favorable, despite deteriorating terms of trade due to a decline in global iron ore prices. Economic growth is now estimated to reach 6.4 percent in 2014. A rebound in fishing activity and sustained activity in the mining sector would more than compensate for weaker performances in the oil and manufacturing sectors. Inflation has remained contained, with an annual average of 3.5 percent. Fiscal performance is expected to remain in line with the 2014 budget, with an overall deficit, excluding grants, of 1.7 percent of GDP. The current account deficit is expected to narrow to 19 percent of GDP and mostly be financed by foreign direct investment. The international reserve coverage is expected to remain adequate, at about 6½ months of imports excluding those associated with oil and mining activities. Contained inflation and stable external reserves continue to provide buffers against potential shocks to the economy.”

“Despite lower terms of trade, the macroeconomic outlook remains favorable supported by an expansion in mining capacity over the medium term. Real GDP growth in 2015 is expected at 6 percent, as higher domestic consumption will partially compensate for the deteriorating external outlook. Average inflation is projected to increase to about 4.6 percent. Official reserves are projected to decline to about 6.3 months of imports at end-2015. Over the medium term, real GDP growth, averaging about 7 percent, hinges on strong investment linked to expanding mining capacity and infrastructure projects. The current account deficit is projected to widen over the coming years due to higher capital imports associated with such expansion and to later narrow when higher mining production comes on stream. Risks to the growth outlook are titled to the downside due to external developments; as heightened geopolitical risks and slower global activity could negatively affect iron ore global market developments and lead to a worse-than-forecast deterioration in the terms of trade. Lower iron ore prices could also negatively impact investment plans in Mauritania.”

“The authorities are committed to maintain prudent fiscal policy. The 2015 budget will contain the overall deficit, excluding grants, to 2.2 percent of GDP. A projected shortfall in revenues will be mostly offset by lower current and capital spending while protecting social spending. A favorable macroeconomic outlook will support fiscal consolidation efforts over the medium term, which will concentrate on: rationalizing current spending while prioritizing capital spending in line with capacity absorption and poverty reduction strategies paper (PRSP) priorities; preserving fiscal sustainability by enhancing institutional capacity and coordination in debt management practices; strengthening fiscal governance by adopting a fiscal framework that accounts for the potential volatility of resource revenues resulting from international price movements.”

“The central bank continues to make progress in strengthening the resilience of the financial sector and plans to strengthen monetary policy formulation and implement reforms in the foreign exchange market to sustain private sector development over the medium term. An upcoming IMF financial stability assessment will provide recommendations to further strengthen the financial sector, facilitate long-term credit to the private sector, and encourage financial deepening and inclusion.”

“The mission welcomed the authorities’ prudent management of macroeconomic policy and their commitment to preserve fiscal sustainability, safeguard financial stability and encourage private sector development. A more dynamic private sector will be critical to diversify the economy and create jobs. A comprehensive reform agenda geared at improving the business environment, tackling longstanding structural bottlenecks, promoting comparative advantage in conjunction with the private sector, strengthening governance and protecting the most vulnerable will help promote more inclusive growth while increasing the economic resilience to external shocks.”

“The mission met with his Excellency President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Prime Minister Yahya Ould Hademine, Governor of the Central Bank Sid’ Ahmed Ould Raiss, Minister of Finance Thiam Diombar, Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Sidi Ould Tah, and other senior government officials. It also held productive discussions with representatives of the diplomatic and donor communities, the banking and private sectors, trade unions, and civil society.

“We would like to thank the Mauritanian authorities and representatives of other sectors for their cooperation during our fruitful discussions.”

Oct 312014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), today concluded a three-day visit to Ethiopia, during which he held talks with African Union (AU) and Ethiopian leaders and with representatives of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. The humanitarian situation in countries suffering the effects of armed conflict or other violence, such as South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Libya and Mali, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa were among the main topics of discussion.

On the occasion of his third visit to the AU, Mr Maurer updated the members of the Peace and Security Council on the ongoing cooperation between the AU and the ICRC and on the challenges faced by his organization.

“If neutral and independent humanitarian organizations cannot reach a conflict- or violence-affected area, the people who most need help will be left without any at all,” he said. “It is critically important that the council provide political support for unhindered access, respect for international humanitarian law, and the security of humanitarian workers.”

The ICRC president pointed out that threats and attacks against health-care staff and facilities could similarly result in needs being unmet. “If we can no longer guarantee a reasonable degree of safety for doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers, then they may no longer be available to work in certain conflict-affected areas,” he said.

In his meeting with the chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Mr Maurer commended the AU’s support for countries affected by the Ebola outbreak and explained that the ICRC has contributed to the efforts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to fight the virus by equipping and training health staff, humanitarian workers and volunteers. The ICRC is currently stepping up its activities in Liberia in support of the Movement’s response, which is being led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Mr Maurer also met with Mulatu Teshome, the president of Ethiopia, with Hailemariam Desalegne, the country’s prime minister and with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the country’s minister of foreign affairs. Their talks focused on ways of enhancing humanitarian activities in the country and in the Horn of Africa. The impact that multiple crises are having on Ethiopia and the ICRC’s efforts in partnership with the Ethiopian Red Cross to mitigate the suffering of the people affected were also discussed.

In a meeting with the leadership of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, Mr Maurer reconfirmed the ICRC’s commitment to cooperate with the society and to enhance its humanitarian work. In the town of Shire, he went to a detention centre where the ICRC regularly visits detainees and met with representatives of the Tigray branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross.

In 2014, the budget for the ICRC’s work in Africa, where the organization has 29 delegations, amounts to around 534 million Swiss francs (approximately 563 million US dollars), representing almost 50 per cent of the total budget of around 1.3 billion francs (about 1.372 billion dollars) for all ICRC field operations worldwide. Five African countries – South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic – are the sites of ICRC operations that are among the 10 largest in budgetary terms.

Oct 312014
 

OSLO, Norway, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ‘More than 700 million people in Africa lack electricity, and the continent is in urgent need of investment in renewable energy. Norway will therefore contribute NOK 300 million to Green Africa Power, which is intended to encourage commercial actors to invest in sub-Saharan Africa,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Green Africa Power was set up to stimulate private investment in renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund’s capital will be equivalent to around NOK 1.3 billion, of which Norway is to provide NOK 300 million. Green Africa Power will offer long-term loans for private investments in the lowest-income groups of countries in Africa.

‘The UK has already made a substantial contribution to the fund. With the additional funding from Norway, our two countries will be joining forces to fund renewable energy projects, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve access to clean energy for millions of people in Africa,’ said Mr Brende.

Green Africa Power is run by the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), which Norway has just joined. PIDG has established seven other companies in addition to Green Africa Power, all of which customise solutions to ensure that planned infrastructure projects are carried out.

‘Access to energy is essential for economic and social development. It is also vital to a country’s ability to generate income, provide jobs and stimulate trade and development,’ said Mr Brende.

Mr Brende announced Norway’s support during his address at the fourth Norwegian–African Business Summit in Oslo today. This is the largest Nordic business conference on Africa.

Oct 312014
 

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In order to inaugurate their partnership, Jumia (https://www.jumia.ci) and the Ivorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (http://www.cci.ci) are organizing a symbolic ceremony at the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday 30th October. Amongst the guest speakers: Fatoumata Ba, Managing Director of Jumia Côte d’Ivoire, and Lucas Dossetto, Head of Marketplace, who spoke about e-commerce and the benefits of the “marketplace” (https://www.jumia.ci/marketplace).

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

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/img_0044.jpg

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/img_0049.jpg

Photo Marketplace: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/marketplace_image_english.png

Having already won the trust of prominent international brands and acquired several big-name investors, Jumia, Ivory Coast’s number one online shopping destination, has transformed the Ivorian economy, bringing a new dimension to business: the marketplace.

Thanks to its marketplace, Jumia has given Ivorian brands, distributors and craftsmen the necessary means to develop and extend their selling network. All they need to do is to open an online shop on Jumia—the so-called “shop-in-shop”—and Jumia takes care of everything! From the order to shipping to customer aftercare, JUMIA brings Ivorian entrepreneurs the marketing and logistics expertise they need to conquer new markets

The marketplace also allows sellers to benefit from exposure to hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every month, as well as a multichannel online and offline presence, in order to increase brand awareness and boost their sales. The marketplace platform is simple and easy to use, offering complete control and convenience for sellers: they can develop it in line with their brand strategy, define sales promotions and put forward products of their own choice. “The marketplace represents a unique opportunity and an extraordinary business accelerator, making your offer available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Ivory Coast. At Jumia, we put everything in practice to allow our marketplace partners to increase their sales day by day. In addition to our marketing and logistics expertise, our partners benefit from exposure to a great user number and an unequaled, international-standard quality of service”, stated Lucas Dossetto, Head of Marketplace.

It is with honour that Jumia associated to the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Côte d’Ivoire. This union marks a shared and strong desire to promote and accompany the suppliers operating on the Ivoirian soil. Mrs. Fatoumata Ba hopes that “this partnership will allow many people to benefit from Jumia’s services and to extend their selling networks.

E-commerce is part of the future, and we would like to give a change to Ivorian suppliers to seize this opportunity and to enter the e-commerce era from today on.”

To stay true to herself, this young and dynamic company launched its partnership with the CCI in a relaxed, lively and interactive atmosphere. Mrs. Ba and Mr. Dossetto both intervened in order to introduce two concepts central to Jumia’s activity: “e-commerce” and the “marketplace”. Then they carefully answered guests’ questions, and finally gave way to a cocktail party and a registration session for those interested in the marketplace.

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

Media contact:

SHERYN TOIFL

PR & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER—JUMIA COTE D’IVOIRE

Email : sheryn.toifl@jumia.ci

Mobile : +22546750604

About JUMIA

JUMIA (https://www.jumia.ci) is Africa’s leading online shopping destination. Customers across the continent can shop amongst the widest assortment of high quality products at affordable prices – offering everything from fashion, consumer electronics, home appliances to beauty products. Jumia was the first African company to win an award at the World Retail Awards 2013 in Paris as the “Best New Retail Launch” of the year.

About AIH

Africa Internet Holding (http://africainternetgroup.com) introduces and accelerates the online shift in Africa – for its people and its culture. It is committed to running successful and vibrant internet companies which boost the evolution of African online culture. AIH is the parent group of nine successful and fast-growing companies in more than 25 African countries, accounting for over 3000 staff. AIH cares about entrepreneurship and brings together all the key elements required to build great companies: team, concept, technology and capital. Its network of companies includes JUMIA, Kaymu, Hellofood, Lamudi, Carmudi, Zando, Jovago, Lendico and Easy Taxi.

Oct 312014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An effective global response to the Ebola virus disease crisis in West Africa requires unhindered movement to and from the region for humanitarian workers. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is urging all governments to support and facilitate this, and ensure health workers returning from Ebola-affected countries are treated with respect and without discrimination. These workers are on the frontline of all our efforts to contain and combat the disease.

The international and local workers at the centre of the humanitarian response to Ebola are an inspiration to us all, and are vital in demonstrating that undertaking this work can be done in a safe and secure way. Stigma or discriminating against health workers – including isolating them with no scientific basis – will lead inevitably to a human resources crisis at a time when we need qualified people willing to join the response and go where they are most needed.

While proportional preparedness and vigilance are appropriate, travel restrictions will – and already are – hampering the Ebola response, and paradoxically, this may increase the risk of the disease spreading further.

Restrictions in West Africa could drive the epidemic underground and force patients showing symptoms of the disease to cross borders unofficially. This will make it extremely difficult for governments and humanitarian agencies to keep track of them and, crucially, undertake the contact tracing that helps to prevent the disaster growing. It also prevents us from effectively treating patients, and so will increase the number of preventable deaths.

Globally, we urge our partners, the media and governments to join the effort to fight stigma and discrimination in affected counties and elsewhere. An epidemic of fear is hindering our response efforts and thus fuelling the spread of the disease.

Fear should not lead to paralysis, but instead inspire solidarity with those taking the fight against this disease into the field where the opportunity for impact is the greatest. It is not a fight we can win from afar.

Ebola is a global problem and it requires a global response today.

Oct 312014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 31, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IPU deplores the reported dissolution of parliament in Burkina Faso and is strongly urging all sides in the West African country to engage in genuine dialogue to ensure a rapid return to constitutional rule.

“Once again parliament has fallen victim to the inability of the political class to find common ground to resolve conflict. We deeply regret the violence and crisis that have ensued and urge restraint and political dialogue to not only restore calm but also constitutional rule swiftly. A peaceful and stable future for Burkina Faso depends on it,” said IPU President Saber Chowdhury.

IPU also deplores the attack on the National Assembly and parliamentarians on Thursday. As the most legitimate forum for resolving political differences, parliament has to be protected.

As representatives of the people, the physical integrity of the MPs also needs to be protected. IPU is monitoring the situation closely.