JUBA, South Sudan, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) cordially invites members of the media to a handover ceremony of a new police post in the Khor William neighborhood of Juba. T…
GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Djibouti has contributed USD 85,000 to the Djiboutian Health Ministry to help local hospitals and clinics provide medical care to migrants from the Horn of Africa. The principal donor is CERF, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.
“We estimate that over 100,000 migrants transit this country every year,” said IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Romaric N’Guessan. “Unfortunately, most of them cross in appalling conditions, often on foot. So, logically, they suffer terribly from dehydration and are exposed to all sorts of diseases.”
Almost 90 per cent are from Ethiopia and 10 per cent are from Somalia and most hope to reach Saudi Arabia in search of jobs, N’Guessan added.
As more migrants from the Horn of Africa cross Djibouti’s borders as irregular migrants, they are putting a growing strain on local health facilities.
Many arrive in dire condition, posing humanitarian challenges for the local authorities, particularly in cities located along the migratory corridor, including Dikhil, Tadjourah and Obock. “When migrants need medical attention, hospitals usually do not have enough medicine,” said N’Guessan.
Djibouti health policy allows everyone, including migrants, to access local health facilities. But funding of health services is determined on a per capita basis by the government census, which does not include migrants.
Consequently, if large numbers of migrants need medical assistance, hospitals and clinics on the migration route are forced to operate beyond their normal capacity.
IOM’s contribution to the Ministry of Health was the second this year. In March it donated another USD 68,000 worth of drugs for use in health centres on the migration route, in response to a government request.
IOM also trains health staff to identify migrants’ needs and has constructed 23 wells along migrant routes, with 13 more under construction, to reduce the risks from dehydration.
Growing numbers of migrants from the Horn of Africa are dying on the migratory route through Djibouti and Yemen to the Middle East, according to N’Guessan. Through the first 10 months of 2014, IOM and UNHCR recorded 241 migrants as dead or missing – up from just 15 in 2013, he notes.
GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM has resumed transport by boat and road of South Sudanese refugees stranded by heavy rains and flooding in Matar to Fugnido refugee camp in the Gambella region of Western Ethiopia, 300 kms away, following an agreement between Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR.
The relocation operation started this week with the movement of 286 refugees by boat and bus from Matar to Fugnido via the Itang way station. The two-day journey involves an overnight stop in Itang, where IOM, UNHCR and WFP provide food, water, sleeping mats and blankets.
Another 42 vulnerable refugees were moved from Matar to Fugnido in a helicopter provided by UNHCR, with an IOM medical escort.
Since August 2014, IOM has been on standby to resume the relocation of up to 15,000 South Sudanese refugees stranded in and around Matar, which is close to the river border with South Sudan and has become uninhabitable due to heavy rains.
According to UNHCR, more than 191,000 South Sudanese refugees have sought refuge in Ethiopia’s border Gambella Region since conflict broke out in South Sudan in mid–December 2013. Of these, IOM has relocated over 173,000 to camps in the region.
Some 100 refugees continue to cross into Ethiopia every day, mainly through the Burbiey border entry point (near Matar) from South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Jonglei States.
A multi-agency response led by ARRA and UNHCR is providing protection and registration to the refugees. IOM has been providing emergency evacuation and relocation assistance, pre-departure medical screening, and transitional shelter assistance for them since January 2014.
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council has extended the EU’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta by two more years, until 12 December 2016. The Operation’s main focus is the protection of World Food Programme vessels delivering humanitarian aid to Somalia; and the deterrence, repression and disruption of piracy off the Somali coast. In addition, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia.
Despite the significant progress that has been achieved off the coast of Somalia since the operation was launched in 2008, it is widely recognised that the threat from piracy remains; the pirate business model is fractured but not broken. The Council has therefore added certain secondary tasks to the Operation’s mandate. EU Naval Force will now contribute, within existing means and capabilities, more widely to the EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia, including in support of the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa. It will also be able to contribute to other relevant international community activities helping to address the root causes of piracy in Somalia.
In this respect, the operation could, for example, provide logistical support, expertise or training at sea for other EU actors, in particular the EU mission on regional maritime capacity building (EUCAP NESTOR). In addition, Operation Atalanta can also support the EU Training Mission (EUTM) Somalia.
“EU Operation Atalanta has considerably helped in reducing piracy off the Somali coast. We must maintain the pressure on pirates to help ensuring security in the Horn of Africa. This is in our mutual interest”, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said. “The EU Naval Force will now also contribute to addressing the root causes of piracy,” she added.
The common costs of EU Naval Force for the two years 2015 and 2016 are estimated at €14.7 million. The operation is currently commanded by Major General Martin Smith MBE of the UK Royal Marines. Together with 21 EU member states, two non-EU countries currently contribute to Operation Atalanta.
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirms that one of its international staff members, a Spanish national, has been evacuated from Mali to Spain as a precautionary measure following an exposure incident.
The staff member, a Spanish national on assignment in Bamako , was injured while working with a patient who had a confirmed case of Ebola. The staff member is not showing symptoms of the disease at this time and has not tested positive for Ebola. In line with MSF precautionary procedures, the staff member is being transferred to a treatment centre in Madrid using a private aircraft as a precautionary measure and she will be followed up for 3 weeks.
“Despite our strict protocols, risk cannot be completely eliminated. However, evacuating staff members who have possibly been exposed to the virus allows them, should they become ill, to be isolated swiftly and receive treatment surrounded by their loved ones”, said Joan Tubau, general director of MSF-Spain. “We hope that our colleague won’t be affected; that this incident will remain just as an incident so she can continue with her life. We ask the public and the media to respect her request for anonymity”.
For reasons of medical confidentiality, and to preserve the privacy of its staff member and the family, MSF will not provide any further comment at this time.
MSF started its intervention in Mali on October 24, just after the first case was confirmed in Kayes, in the north of the country. Later, when a new focus was detected in Bamako on 11 November the MSF team there was reinforced and its activities expanded to help stop the disease from spreading further.
MSF has been responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March 2014. Around 3,400 MSF staff are working in the region, including some 360 international staff.
OTTAWA, Canada, November 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, highlighted Canada’s ongoing efforts to stabilize Somalia during the Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum, which took place on November 19 and 20, 2014, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mr. Opitz reiterated Canada’s continued support for sustainable peace and security in the country but also expressed concern about recent political tensions and stressed the need for unified political leadership.
Canada remains committed to the African Union Mission in Somalia and has provided $16 million to support the mission since 2010.
“As the Government of Somalia builds its national institutions it must also bring the government closer to the people, creating opportunities for the people to directly engage with decision makers through the strengthening of local governance,” said Mr. Opitz.
“The foundation of a strong, accountable and effective Somali government is critical. To this end, Canada has dedicated US$2.5 million toward the IMF Somalia Trust Fund for Technical Assistance from Canada’s Technical Assistance Account with the IMF for Africa and the Caribbean.”
Mr. Opitz also noted that a strong Somalia is a Somalia where women and girls can realize their full potential. This year, Canada has provided over $1 million to initiatives aimed at preventing violence and at protecting girls against child, early and forced marriage.
Since December 2010, Canada has provided over $180 million, including more than $44 million in 2014, to support humanitarian operations in Somalia and Somali refugees in neighbouring countries.
PARIS, France, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Swift and coordinated action is of huge importance in the days immediately after new cases are reported, the medical organisation says
After a new case of Ebola was detected in the Malian capital, Bamako, on 11 November, the international medical organisation Médécins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has reinforced its team and expanded its activities to help stop the disease from spreading further.
Swift and coordinated action is of paramount importance in stemming any new outbreak, especially in the first days after a new case is detected, MSF warns. So far there have been six reported deaths in Mali during the outbreak, four people confirmed with Ebola and two who were suspected cases. These figures do not include the first case, a two-year-old girl travelling from Guinea to the Malian town of Kayes.
One patient with Ebola who was being treated at MSF’s case management died today. Another patient with suspected Ebola is currently in the centre, which MSF is running in collaboration with CNAM (Mali’s national disease centre.)
MSF is training Malian staff from CNAM in the management of Ebola patients, while overseeing the setting up of an ambulance system for transporting patients, and the organisation of safe burials. MSF is also involved in tracing the contacts of those who may have been affected by the disease, in coordination with the Malian authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Meanwhile an MSF team is planning to travel to the area bordering Guinea, where new cases of Ebola have been detected, to determine the needs in the area.
MSF’s activities in Bamako were reinforced last week with a team arriving from Kayes, where the first Ebola case in Mali was detected.
PARIS, France, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — France welcomes the decision by the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee to impose sanctions on the Libyan terrorist entities Ansar al-Shariah Benghazi and Ansar al-Shariah Derna. Lauren…
VICTORIA, Seychelles, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — SkyVision Global Networks Ltd. (http://www.skyvision.net), a leading global communications provider, today announced the commencement of its managed IP Trunking and Private Network solutions to Cable & Wireless Seychelles (CWS), part of the Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) group of companies operating in 38 markets worldwide. The project, managed by SkyVision, consists of providing IP Trunking to the main island of Seychelles (Mahe), and a private VSAT network for its surrounding islands.
Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1571 (Dror Limor, SkyVision VP Sales)
Established in 1893, Cable & Wireless Seychelles (CWS) is the leading telecommunications company in Seychelles, where over 95% of local businesses make up the company’s broad customer base. In an effort to provide viable communications between the main island and 12 neighboring, smaller islands, CWS required a reliable and efficient network solution that would include fibre restoration for back-up, and Internet service with additional back up for their key customers.
To meet CWS’s immediate needs, SkyVision commissioned its IP Trunking service, based on the latest technology developments of DVB-S2X, enabling a cost-effective yet Telco-grade solution. In addition, SkyVision installed and deployed its proprietary Private Network solution for a government project, in close cooperation with Seychelles’ Cable & Wireless office, the Islands Development Company (IDC). Connection from the main island to smaller remote islands was successfully implemented using the Romantis VSAT platform which SkyVision recently introduced to the market. This unique solution modernizes the communication between main and remote islands. SkyVision’s 24/7 Network Operations Centre (NOC) supervises the services, enabling CWS to efficiently manage their network and focus on their core objectives and reach operational efficiencies.
“We see an increase in the need for reliable and cost-effective satellite communications, even in countries where submarine cables have been existent for several years now. As last mile connectivity remains a necessity, SkyVision intends to continue expanding its reach and providing its customers with the best suited solution for their business requirements,” comments Dror Limor, SkyVision VP Sales.
This project further reinforces SkyVision’s leading market position as a key global communications provider. This is made possible through the company’s network of local partners and representatives, and subsidiaries in Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and South Africa, coupled with the company’s hubs and PoPs in multiple locations in Africa and worldwide.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of SkyVision Global Networks Ltd.
Marketing Communications Director
SkyVision Global Networks
+44 20 8387 1750
About Cable & Wireless Seychelles
Cable & Wireless Seychelles is part of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) – a world leading group of businesses operating in 38 markets worldwide. Established in 1893, Cable & Wireless Seychelles is the most profitable Telecommunications Company in Seychelles with over 95% of businesses choosing us as their provider of choice. Our offering includes fixed, mobile and broadband services for residential customers as well as tailored, turn-key solutions for businesses supported by an ongoing commitment to quality, value and the best customer experience. For more information, visit the website at: http://www.cwseychelles.com.
SkyVision is a global communications service provider, offering comprehensive, integrated solutions to meet all corporate, government and telco market requirements. With an emphasis on its customers’ local or regional requirements, SkyVision offers superior network connectivity solutions. Known for its innovative approach, the company offers an extensive suite of both customized solutions and industry-standard services for end-to-end IP connectivity (http://www.skyvision.net/enterprise-solutions), managed from its international gateways and selected local hubs. SkyVision’s global-reaching network connects its customers to the Internet backbone with more than ten satellite platforms and a network of high-capacity fiber optic cables, via its gateways in Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East as well as multiple points of presence (POPs) in Africa. SkyVision currently commands a satellite and fiber network IP connectivity (http://www.skyvision.net/service/fiber-solutions) spanning 100 countries. The company’s C-Band and Ku-Band VSAT network solutions (http://www.skyvision.net/services/lobby2/Internet%20Connectivity) draw on SkyVision’s extensive space segment inventory from leading satellite providers and its capacity is carefully tailored to customers’ individual needs for optimal cost-effectiveness. Visit www.skyvision.net.
LILONGWE, Malawi, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — This is the first Senior NCO Academy in sub-Saharan Africa and the Malawian Defense Forces (MDF) plans to make this a regional course of excellence. The Senior NCO Academy was p…
JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gross gambling and casino revenues showed subdued growth in 2013 in the wake of a faltering economy. Gross gambling increased only 4.3%. The slowdown in gross gambling revenue was centred on casinos, the largest category at 76% of the market or R16.5 billion.
Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/1406197.jpg (Nikki Forster, PwC Hospitality and Gambling Industry Leader for South Africa)
Some casino operators in certain regions believe the slowdown in 2013 was due in part to growing competition from electronic bingo terminals, limited payout machines (LPMs) and sports betting shops, which are becoming more prevalent in the industry.
These are some of the highlights of PwC’s third annual edition on the gambling industry entitled ‘Raising the stakes in Africa: Gambling outlook 2014-2018 (South Africa – Nigeria – Kenya)’ (http://www.pwc.com). The publication focuses on segments within the gambling industry with detailed forecasts and analysis. The National Gambling Board of South Africa is the source for South African historical data.
Of the three countries included in the analysis, South Africa has the largest overall gambling market as well as the largest land-based casino gambling market. Gross land-based casino gambling revenues totalled R16.5 billion in South Africa in 2013 compared with only R428 million in Nigeria and R195 million in Kenya.
Nikki Forster, PwC Hospitality and Gambling Industry Leader for South Africa, says: “The South African gambling industry is a vibrant and dynamic sector, but is facing the challenges of a slow economic climate and a changing regulatory environment. In particular the casino sector is facing increasing competition from other gambling facilities.
“We expect slower economic growth to lead to slower gross casino gambling revenues in Nigeria and Kenya and continued slow growth over the next two years. We then look for a pick-up in growth in each country as economic conditions improve,” adds Forster.
The South African gambling market
Casinos are by far the largest component of the gambling industry with 76% of total gross gambling revenue. To counter the slower growth, casino upgrades and expansions to existing facilities are expected to boost a growth in revenue.
Bingo, the smallest category, continued to be the fastest-growing category in 2013 with gross gambling revenues rising 67.5%, the result of the introduction of bingo in Mpumalanga, the North West and the Eastern Cape. LPMs increased 17.8% and sports betting rose 18.5% in 2013 compared with 4.6% growth for horse racing.
“Gross gambling revenues as a whole are expected to expand from R21.8 billion in 2013 to R29.5 billion in 2018, a 6.2% compound annual increase,” says Forster.
Gambling taxes and levies
Gambling taxes and levies totalled R2.2 billion in 2013, up 6.6% from 2012. Most of the gambling taxes and levies in 2013 were generated in Gauteng (R848 million), KwaZulu-Natal (R535 million) and the Western Cape (R459 million), which together accounted for 82% of the total. Eastern Cape at R122 million was the only other province above R100 million in 2013.
The estimated deemed output VAT collected on gambling revenues from casinos in 2013 amounted to R1.8 billion, or 11% of gross gambling revenue.
Gauteng was the leading province in casino gross gambling revenues at R7 billion in 2013, down from R7.2 billion in 2012. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape were next at R3.1 billion and R2.5 billion, respectively, each up from 2012. These three provinces accounted for 76.4% of total casino gross gambling revenues.
“Improving economic conditions and casino upgrades and expansions are anticipated to lead to faster increases during 2016 to 2018,” adds Forster. For the forecast period as a whole, growth will average 3.9% compounded annually to R20 billion in 2018.
Limited payout machines
LPMs, primarily located in bars, clubs and restaurants, accounted for 8% of gross gambling revenues in 2013, up from 7% in 2012. Continued installation of LPM machines in new locations is expected to expand the market. However, competition from electronic bingo terminals is likely to lead to slower LPM growth during the latter part of the forecast period.
In contrast with the casino market, Gauteng ranked only third in LPM in gross gambling revenues at R287 million in 2013, representing 16.5% of the total. The Western Cape had the largest market in 2013 at R551 million with KwaZulu-Natal next at R404 million.
Horse racing is the dominant component of the sports betting market with R1.8 billion gross gambling revenues in 2013, compared with R1 billion for betting on other sports events. “Horse racing is a relatively mature market with growth during the past three years at less than 5% annually. On the other hand, sports betting has been expanding rapidly, rising by 18.5% in 2013 and more than five fold since 2009. “The proliferation of sport betting shops and online wagering is driving this market. We expect sports betting to overtake horse racing within the next five years,” Forster adds.
Aided by a boost in FIFA World Cup wagering in 2014 and 2018 and the Rugby World Cup in 2015, gross gambling revenues are projected to expand at a 12% compound annual rate to an estimated R5 billion in 2018 from R2.8 billion in 2013.
Bingo is the smallest category accounting for only 3% of total gross gambling revenue, a 2% increase from 2012. In July 2014, 12 shopping malls applied for licenses to install electronic bingo terminals. These applications have been challenged by anti-gambling campaigners who contend that access to these terminals will contribute to gambling addiction. It is expected that electronic bingo terminals will continue to expand in the provinces where they are already available.
Bingo is projected to become the fastest-growing category during the next five years with a projected 19% compound annual increase in gross gambling revenues from R732 million in 2013 to R1.8 billion in 2018.
The National Lottery is expected to remain the slowest growing category in the industry. Gross gambling revenues are projected to rise from R2.4 billion in 2013 to a projected R2.5 billion in 2018, a 1.2% compound annual increase. A new operator takes over in 2015.
Casino gambling in Nigeria
Currently there are three licensed casinos in Nigeria. Most forms of gambling are illegal, other than skill-based card games, backgammon, and the national online lottery. Casino gross gambling revenues have grown at double-digit rates during the past three years, including a 19.4% increase in 2013.
As a result of a slowing in the economic growth rate and the adverse impact on tourism due to the Ebola outbreak in that country, slower growth is expected in the industry. Growth is expected to drop to 5% in 2014 and to 4.5% in 2015. For the forecast period as a whole, gross gambling revenues will expand at a projected 7.7% compound annual rate to USD58 million in 2018.
Casino gambling in Kenya
Almost all forms of gambling are permitted in Kenya, including online and mobile gambling. The casino market held up well in 2013 despite concerns about terrorism, particularly after the Westgate shopping mall attack in September 2013. Gross gambling revenue rose 7.6%, an improvement over the 5.6% increase in 2012, but well below the double-digit gains recorded in 2009-11.
Casino gambling revenue growth is expected to drop to 4.9% in 2014 and to 4.1% in 2015 following the imposition of a withholding tax on gambling winnings and slower economic growth. For the forecast period as a whole, gross gambling revenue growth will average 6.8% on a compound annual basis, rising from USD18.4 million in 2013 to USD25.6 million in 2018.
Casinos never sleep, nor should digital
South Africans are increasingly attracted to land-based casinos and large shopping malls. This, together with a rise in the number of shopping centres, has resulted in a convergence in the retail, restaurant and gambling industries. There is a heightened need for casinos to find the best way to gain the competitive edge on their rivals and ultimately increase revenues. Nowadays it is essential that casinos are ‘on’. Being ‘on’ means creating 24/7 virtual open networks in the form of free Wi-Fi spots that connect people on the floor to casinos.
In addition, casinos need to adopt a scientific approach to their marketing and customer service strategies by analysing and identifying their ‘key players’ and understanding how best to engage with them.
Forster concludes: “Overall, the gambling industry is vibrant and dynamic. However, as a business the margins are low, a large portion of the costs are fixed, regulatory compliance is stringent and profitability depends on volume.
“On the whole, the outlook for the industry is positive, with the further rollout of LPMs and electronic bingo machines in the pipeline that will further contribute to the expected growth in revenues.”
Distribué par APO (African Press Organization) pour PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
Nikki Forster: PwC Hospitality and Gambling Industry Leader for South Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 5362
Lindiwe Magana: Media Relations Manager, PwC
Office: + 27 11 797 5042
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GENEVA, Switzerland, November 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Thursday criticized a recent amendment to the Criminal Code of The Gambia that creates a broad and vague offence of “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment. He also expressed alarm at reports of a wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals perceived to be homosexual in The Gambia.
The amendment to the Criminal Code was approved by the National Assembly earlier this year and signed into law by the President on 9 October 2014. It targets, among others, so-called “serial offenders” (meaning individuals with a previous conviction for homosexuality), persons living with HIV, and consensual same-sex partners of persons with disabilities – all of whom could be imprisoned for life. The new law replicates a section of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act denounced by the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General and the African Commission Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
“This law violates fundamental human rights – among them the right to privacy, to freedom from discrimination and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. It adds to the stigma and abuses that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people already face in The Gambia,” High Commissioner Zeid said.
“Governments have a duty to protect people from prejudice, not to add to it. Public hostility towards gay and lesbian people can never justify violating their fundamental human rights. Instead, it requires increased measures to protect them against human rights violations. This has been reaffirmed by UN human rights mechanisms and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” he added.
Since the new law was approved, representatives of The Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency have been reportedly conducting door-to-door enquiries to identify, arrest and detain individuals believed to be homosexual, and some of those detained have allegedly also been subjected to violent attacks and mistreatment. In other countries, similar laws have also led to an increase in violence against members of the LGBT community, including mob attacks.
“I call on The Gambia to fulfil its international obligations to promote and protect the human rights of all persons without discrimination, to repeal all provisions of the Criminal Code that criminalize relations between consenting adults and to put in place an immediate moratorium on arrests on the basis of such laws,” the High Commissioner said.