Mozambique’s recently merged energy and resource ministries present new opportunities for inward investment

MAPUTO, Mozambique, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With Mozambique’s Ministry of Resources and Energy now merged, the country has taken another major step towards its 2025 vision for gas and power development. As the former Deputy Finance Minister, His Excellency Dr. Pedro Couto will clearly have a plan to promote sustainable partnerships for trade with a focus on the country’s balance sheet; however, will there be extra emphasis on regional gas sharing and power sector investment?

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With exports of liquefied natural gas projects scheduled to start in 2019, Mozambique has high expectations for its gas sector. Furthermore, the prospects for renewable energy look promising with more than 23TW of possible renewables projects coming online.

However, despite over US$ 3.238 billion of investment in power projects in 2014, the transmission bottleneck continues to impact the social and economic development of the region, threating the bankability of power projects in development. Eskom, African Development Bank, IFC and Southern African Power Pool are amongst the partners addressing transmission and regional distribution to accelerate the country’s industrial development.

EnergyNet (http://www.energynet.co.uk) will host the 4th Annual Powering Africa Mozambique in Maputo from the 7th-8th May 2015 (http://www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com). Participants will be given the opportunity to connect with over 150 senior participants including power developers, financiers, DFIs and transmission partners to discuss market developments, investment opportunities and the viability of project finance in line with the country’s vision 2025 objectives.

Respected stakeholders and major investors confirmed to attend include Eskom, Sasol, AIIM, ACWA Power, SMBC, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank and Tractebel Engineering. Visit www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com for more information.

Topics will focus on the new Ministry’s strategies for encouraging investment, natural resources and generation topics in support of Mozambique’s plans to escalate electricity access in line with its future gas economy.

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

For more information about Powering Africa: Mozambique 2015

Meeting dates: 7-8 May 2015

Venue: Polana Serena Hotel, Maputo

If you feel you could contribute to the agenda topics, please contact: Amy Offord, Marketing Manager

Tel: +44 (0)20 7384 8068 E: amy.offord@energynet.co.uk Visit: www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com

Source:: Mozambique’s recently merged energy and resource ministries present new opportunities for inward investment

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Guinea-Bissau: EU lifts restrictions on cooperation

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council has repealed the measures limiting the European Union’s cooperation with Guinea-Bissau. This comes in the wake of credible elections in 2014, the restoration of constitutional order and the country’s progress in putting into practice reform commitments made to the EU. As a consequence, the EU fully resumes cooperation with Guinea-Bissau.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini said: “Guinea-Bissau has embarked on a new path of peace, reconciliation and development after the holding of elections and the restoration of the constitutional order in 2014. Today’s decision allows us to support the efforts of the authorities to rebuild the country, entrench democratic institutions and lay the foundations for long-term stability. Already this week the EU is co-organising, together with the government of Guinea-Bissau and the UN, an international conference that will mobilise support for the implementation of reforms in Guinea-Bissau and its development programme”.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added: “Guinea-Bissau is back on the international scene and ready to move forward with the support of the EU. We will in the coming months finalize the programming of the 11th EDF envelope and align our cooperation with the priorities of the national development strategy of the government.”

The EU encourages Guinea-Bissau to stay united and continue its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, reform the security sector and combat corruption, impunity and drug trafficking. The Union supports efforts to face these challenges and is currently discussing the programming for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) with Guinea-Bissau.

In July 2014, the Council suspended the restrictions on cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, following the holding of free and credible elections. The measures limiting the cooperation with Guinea-Bissau had been imposed in July 2011 after the appointment of the main instigators of the military munity on April 2010 to leading posts in the military hierarchy, which the EU considered as a serious breach of the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement.

Source:: Guinea-Bissau: EU lifts restrictions on cooperation

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Joint FAO & OIE Media Advisory Getting rid of sheep and goat plague (peste des petits ruminants, PPR) by 2030 / International conference on control and eradication of PPR in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (31 March-2 April) to launch global PPR control a

ROME, Italy, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Goats and sheep in many countries are increasingly threatened by peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also called sheep and goat plague. This highly contagious viral disease causes losses of between $1.5 and 2 billion every year. PPR has spread to around 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to regions where hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people live.

Poor farmers and their families rely on small ruminants for food such as meat, milk and other products to generate daily income. Sheep and goats also are an investment and a unique asset for poor families using them in times of crises like natural disasters. Women’s livelihoods are particularly threatened, since women make up the majority of those caring for and raising small ruminants.

But PPR can be defeated, as proven by the example of rinderpest, which in 2011 became the first animal disease to be eradicated by humankind.

The eradication of PPR will have a major positive impact, not only on the livelihoods of poor farmers, but also on the post‐2015 Development Goals and the UN’s Zero Hunger Challenge. It will also highlight the role played by the veterinary profession in poverty alleviation and food security.

Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast: 31 March-2 April

From 31 March to 2 April 2015 representatives from around 70 countries – including Ministers and OIE national Delegates, the heads of FAO and OIE (Dr José Graziano da Silva and Dr Bernard Vallat), donor agencies, the scientific community, the private sector and civil society – will meet in Abidjan, Ivory Coast to discuss and endorse the global control and eradication strategy and launch the global PPR control and eradication campaign, aiming to eliminate the virus by 2030.

The conference will provide an update on the latest scientific developments related to PPR and will highlight experiences from previous control programs that have a positive socio-economic impact for poor farmers around the world. A High-level Meeting on 2 April 2015 will give participants the opportunity to state their support for the PPR campaign and improvement of small ruminant health and veterinary policies and activities worldwide.

The conference is jointly organized by FAO and OIE together with the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

Media accreditation

The meeting is open to journalists.

For information on how to accredit, visit: http://www.oie.int/eng/PPR2015/medias.html

Source:: Joint FAO & OIE Media Advisory Getting rid of sheep and goat plague (peste des petits ruminants, PPR) by 2030 / International conference on control and eradication of PPR in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (31 March-2 April) to launch global PPR control a

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IMF Executive Board Completes Sixth Review under Burundi’s ECF Arrangement, Augments Access and Approves US$6.9 Million Disbursement

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the sixth review of Burundi’s economic performance under the program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.1 The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of SDR 5 million (about US$6.9 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 30 million (about US$41.6 million).

In completing the sixth review, the Board also approved the authorities’ request for an extension of the current ECF arrangement to end March 2016 and an augmentation of access by SDR 10 million (about US$13.9 million or 13 percent of quota). The additional financing and time will help strengthen the management of public finances and consolidate the country’s economic reform program.

Burundi’s three-year ECF arrangement in the amount equivalent to SDR 30 million (about US$41.6 million) was approved by the Executive Board on January 27, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/35).

At the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, issued the following statement:

“Progress under the ECF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. Economic growth is estimated to have picked up slightly in 2014, while inflation declined markedly, aided by falling international fuel prices and prudent monetary policy. The near-term economic outlook remains challenging, and prudent policies will continue to be needed in the face of uncertainties in the external environment, and in the run-up to the 2015 national elections.

“The 2015 budget provides an adequate basis for fiscal policy in the current election year, and should be implemented with vigilance. Revenue slippages that emerged in early 2014 were addressed through corrective revenue measures, and are expected to have a lasting, positive impact on revenue performance. Strengthening tax administration and improving the coordination between tax policy design and its implementation will be critical to increasing the tax-to-GDP ratio on a sustainable basis.

“Public financial management should be strengthened, to enhance efficiency and mitigate fiscal risks. Efforts are needed to improve cash management by the Treasury and strengthen expenditure controls, while safeguarding pro-poor spending.

“Achieving debt sustainability will help anchor fiscal policy in the medium term. Burundi continues to be at a high risk of debt distress, and it will be important that any future borrowing be done on a concessional basis. Passage of the law on public debt, which would provide a legal framework for debt management, would be important. In this regard, better domestic debt management, notably by aligning the issuance of government securities with government’s financing needs, will help prevent recourse to central bank financing and the buildup of arrears.

“Underlying inflation has declined significantly in recent months and low international food and fuel prices will help keep inflation at bay. Nevertheless, it will be important for monetary policy to continue to focus on supporting a low-inflation environment. Financial stability should be strengthened through enhanced banking surveillance, and current plans to establish a credit bureau and a collateral registry.

“A strengthened pace of structural reforms is key to boosting Burundi’s external competitiveness, mobilize private sector investment, and lift Burundi’s growth potential. Efforts should focus on raising agricultural productivity; alleviating energy and other infrastructure bottlenecks; expanding credit access; and deepening regional integration.”

1 The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. It provides for a higher level of access to financing, more concessional terms, enhanced flexibility in program design, and more focused, streamlined conditionality. Financing under ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

Source:: IMF Executive Board Completes Sixth Review under Burundi’s ECF Arrangement, Augments Access and Approves US$6.9 Million Disbursement

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IMF Executive Board Completes Fifth and Sixth Reviews under Malawi’s ECF Arrangement, and Approves US$ 18.1 Million Disbursement

LILONGWE, Malawi, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the fifth and sixth reviews of Malawi’s economic performance under the program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.1 The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of SDR 13.02 million (about US$18.1 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 65.08 million (about US$ 90.3 million).

In completing the fifth and sixth reviews, the Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for waivers of non-observance of performance criteria related to the net domestic assets of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), net domestic borrowing by the government, the ceiling on new non-concessional external debt maturing in more than one year, and the ceiling on non-accumulation of external payments arrears.

The Board also approved a request for an extension of the current ECF arrangement by six months to May 22, 2016 and the rephasing of disbursements associated with the seventh and eighth reviews.

The three-year ECF arrangement for Malawi in the total amount of SDR 104.1 million (about US$ 144.4 million) was approved on July 23, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/273).

At the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, issued the following statement:

“Malawi’s macroeconomic outlook and performance under the IMF-supported program was significantly damaged by a large-scale theft of public funds and by policy lapses in the run- up to elections. The breach of governance resulted in the suspension of budget support from donors, which has led to increased recourse to central bank financing, accumulation of domestic arrears, exchange rate depreciation, and high inflation.

“The new government is committed to rebuilding trust in public institutions and bringing the IMF-supported program back on track, including through maintaining a flexible exchange rate regime and the automatic fuel pricing mechanism. Bringing inflation down to single digits and boosting official foreign exchange reserves remain key policy objectives.

“Addressing weaknesses in public financial management is necessary to restore confidence in the budget process and foster donor re-engagement. The authorities’ steadfast implementation of a comprehensive strategy in this area remains an urgent policy priority.

“The central bank is committed to tightening monetary policy as needed to keep inflation on a downward path. Measures taken in late 2014 have already helped reduce liquidity and stabilize the currency. Steps underway to curb deficit financing by the central bank should enhance the credibility of monetary policy.

“Improved prudential and regulatory frameworks are key to safeguarding financial sector stability and supporting growth. The recently-completed diagnostic assessments of the banking system will be used to design a strategy to address sector-wide issues.

“Nonconcessional external borrowing in October 2013 gave rise to noncomplying disbursements following the completion of the third and fourth reviews of the Fund-supported program in January 2014. The authorities have taken corrective actions to strengthen their monitoring of the concessionality of new external loans and to enhance communication with Fund staff on this matter. In view of the corrective actions taken by the authorities, the Board decided to waive the nonobservance of the performance criteria that gave rise to the noncomplying disbursements.”

1 The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. It provides for a higher level of access to financing, more concessional terms, enhanced flexibility in program design, and more focused, streamlined conditionality. Financing under ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

Source:: IMF Executive Board Completes Fifth and Sixth Reviews under Malawi’s ECF Arrangement, and Approves US$ 18.1 Million Disbursement

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Japan-Zimbabwe Summit Meeting

TOKYO, Japan, March 23, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On March 15, commencing at 10:25 a.m. for approximately 40 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, who is currently visiting Japan in order to attend the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe stated that he welcomed the opportunity for a reunion with President Mugabe after TICAD V. He also expressed his desire to cooperate for the success of the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and to have President Mugabe see the recovery of the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Prime Minister Abe also congratulated President Mugabe on his assumption of the Chair of the African Union, and expressed his hope that Japan-Africa relations would deepen further. In response, President Mugabe expressed his gratitude for the invitation to the Conference, agreed on the need to deepen Japan-Africa relations, and stated that the Conference was an important opportunity to discuss and share knowledge about how to respond to natural disasters.

2. Prime Minister Abe explained Japan’s initiatives for human resources development and humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe and stated that he would like to cooperate toward the next TICAD to be held in Africa in 2016. In response, President Mugabe stated that Zimbabwe and many countries in Africa were hoping for cooperation with Japan to achieve economic and social development and expressed his desire to strengthen relations with Japan not only as the President of Zimbabwe but also as the Chair of the AU. The two leaders also exchanged their views on cooperation for UN Security Council reform and other issues.

Source:: Japan-Zimbabwe Summit Meeting

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