Sep 222014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will tomorrow co-sign joint declarations in New York to reinforce energy cooperation with five African countries: Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and Rwanda. These agreements will aim to increase access to sustainable energy sources, even in rural areas where the needs are the greatest.

In order to achieve this also on a global scale, the EU plans to allocate more than 3.3 billion euro worth of grants in the 2014-2020 financial period to support sustainable energy projects all over the world. Around 2 billion euro will be dedicated to African countries.

Ahead of the signing, President Barroso said: “Sustainable energy is essential for fuelling growth and development. Two years ago, at the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels, I therefore proposed the ambitious target of helping developing countries to provide access to sustainable energy services to 500 million people by 2030. I am delighted that we are now joining forces with European and African countries that have decided to take the lead in the fight against energy poverty.”

European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, added: “Without energy, factories cannot function, schools cannot be lighted up and families cannot cook, and this is a situation that many people are still facing today. But it is equally important that sustainable energy sources are promoted first and foremost. These declarations are a clear sign of the political commitment of all co-signatories that we want to work together and achieve faster progress in ensuring access to sustainable energy for all.”

A key goal of the agreements is to engage with the private sector to improve the conditions for investment and funding, and therefore increase access to sustainable energy or the production of sustainable, reliable and cost effective electricity. For this to be truly effective, the governments of our partner countries and the EU will work together on bringing forward sustainable energy projects.

President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs are currently in New York for the UN General Assembly, to attend, among other key international meetings, the Climate Change Summit. Tomorrow, President Barroso will also address the Assembly’s High Level Session on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Development topics of the General Assembly will include negotiations of the post-2015 development agenda, the preparations for a Conference on Financing for Development as well as the process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for reaching a global agreement on climate change in 2015.

Background

Tomorrow’s agreements will also aim to strengthen the political ties between energy policy commitments of signatory countries and the financial support by the EU and other co-signing donors. The following European countries will equally co-sign the joint declarations:

• Cabo Verde: Austria, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal

• Ivory Coast: France

• Liberia: Norway

EU energy funding in development and cooperation

For the period 2014-2020 about 30 developing countries have chosen energy as a focal sector for their cooperation with the EU. In addition, other countries will also receive substantial allocations in the field of energy where this has not been defined as a focal sector. In total, around €3.3 billion will be dedicated to supporting sustainable energy in the EU’s partner countries around the globe, through bilateral and regional cooperation. This is expected to leverage between €15 and €30 billion in loans and equity investment to fill gaps in energy infrastructure and power businesses, schools, homes and hospitals.

Some examples of ongoing EU work on energy

EU blending facilities: The EU supports the Lake Turkana Wind Power project with €25 million under the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. This will result in the construction of a 310 MW wind farm in Kenya and unlock a total investment cost of €625 million. The project will reduce the country’s import dependency and season-sensitive hydropower production, increase energy security and improve economic activities in remote areas.

Rural Electrification: An EU funded €2 million project in Liberia, implemented by Save the Children, installs solar panels in all public health facilities that have no electricity to provide light and power radios. The project will reach around 1.5 million beneficiaries, mainly women and children in rural areas in a country of 3.5 million people.

Building alliances: The EU and New Zealand have created a partnership that supports concrete projects in the Pacific. For instance, with a new hydropower plant with a capacity of less than 1 MW has a positive impact on the lives of 188 000 people in Samoa.

Sep 222014
 

DUBLIN, Ireland, September 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock T.D., today announced €600,000 in funding to support communities battling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries which have been worst affected by the epidemic.

Ireland will also provide 42 tonnes of emergency supplies, including blankets, tents, mosquito nets and water tanks.

Announcing the emergency aid, Minister Sherlock said:

“I am gravely concerned about the continued spread of Ebola and the devastating impact on communities and families in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Many of the people affected were already extremely vulnerable.

“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst ever, with more than 5,000 people now reported to have been infected. Health services in these countries are already over-whelmed and the World Health Organisation has warned of an exponential increase in Ebola cases over the coming months.”

Ireland will provide over €600,000 to UNICEF to provide life-saving nutritional supplies to children who have been affected by the crisis. Minister Sherlock also announced that more than 42 tonnes of Irish stocks including blankets, tarpaulins, tents, mosquito nets, jerry cans and soap, will be airlifted from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Ghana. They will be distributed by the World Food Programme, Goal, and Concern, to assist survivors of Ebola and affected vulnerable children in Sierra Leone.

Minister Sherlock added:

“A member of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps was deployed last weekend to Dakar, Senegal, to work with the World Food Programme to set up an air transit centre for use by the UN Humanitarian Air Service.”

Minister Sherlock called on the international community to urgently scale up their efforts to combat the epidemic:

“While the international response has improved significantly, we must do more to prevent further spread. Ireland is playing our part. This additional funding and the deployments of Irish emergency stocks are the latest in a series of steps I have authorised to scale up our efforts to fight the Ebola virus.”

Sep 222014
 

NEW YORK, September 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The new Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations, Fode Seck, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today.

Since February 2014, Mr. Seck has ser…

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.

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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.