United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Israel sign agreement to find solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the State of Israel today (April 2, 2018) signed a Framework of Common Understanding to promote solutions for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese living in Israel. A joint working group will be set up with a series of objectives and a timetable to implement solutions for some 39,000 people over five years. As a result of the Framework of Common Understanding signed today, the Government of Israel will not pursue its non-voluntary relocation policy.

“UNHCR appreciates the collaboration with the Government of Israel to find a way out for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese. This agreement will ensure that protection is provided to those who need it,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who signed the agreement on behalf of UNHCR. From the Israeli side, the agreement was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Arye Machluf Deri, Minister of Internal Affairs.

Under the agreement, UNHCR, with the support of receiving counties, will work to facilitate the departure to third countries to be determined of some 16,000 Eritreans and Sudanese under various programmes, including sponsorship, resettlement, family reunion and labour migration schemes, while others will be receiving a suitable legal status in Israel.

In addition, UNHCR and the State of Israel will design programmes to encourage Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to move out of the neighbourhoods in South Tel Aviv where they have mostly congregated. Vocational training will also be provided to asylum-seekers for jobs in solar energy, agriculture and irrigation for employment abroad or in Israel.

UNHCR has been working closely with the State of Israel to identify and respond to the protection needs of asylum-seekers in the country. In the past, UNHCR raised concerns about Israel’s non-voluntary Relocation Policy as its monitoring indicated that those relocated have not found adequate safety or a durable solution to their plight in the destination African countries and, as a result, many have subsequently attempted dangerous onward journeys within Africa or to Europe.

According to the information provided by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA), by the end of 2017 there were some 26,600 Eritreans and 7,600 Sudanese in Israel. From the start of the relocation programme in December 2013, some 4,500 Eritreans and Sudanese were relocated under the Government’s Policy.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Source:: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Israel sign agreement to find solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese

      

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Modern leaders, forward-thinking investors and bold new hoteliers take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event

Unmissable AHIC programme also features global hotel CEOs representing IHG, Louvre Hotels, 25Hours and Standard International, as well as regional leaders from Majid Al Futtaim, Al Habtoor Group, ORASCOM and Action Hotels.

The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2018 (AHIC) (www.ArabianConference.com) will provide unique insights into modern leadership, forward-thinking investment and new operating models via a stellar line-up of speakers confirmed for the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community.

Taking place from 17-19 April 2018 at the purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, this 14th edition of AHIC promises to address the critical issues of innovation, leadership, destination development and industry disruptors amid the macroeconomic outlook from the investors’ perspective.

The event will attract 700 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives to attend three days of content, networking and events, including live-on-stage interviews with some of the world’s most respected businessmen and hotel leaders and the first AHIC Global Project Showcase, featuring hospitality investment opportunities from around the world.

Held in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), AHIC 2018 will be inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, who will give a keynote opening speech. His Highness will reveal further insights into the Strategy for Ras Al Khaimah, one of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, and share anecdotes that will inspire fellow leaders at AHIC.

Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority commented:

“We are looking forward to showcasing Al Marjan Island at AHIC 2018 and to taking part in the dynamic conference programme.

Tourism is one of Ras Al Khaimah’s most important economic sectors and is considered a key engine for continued GDP growth and job creation. Our decision to support AHIC 2018 comes at a pivotal time in our three-year Destination 2019 Tourism Strategy, which aims to attract one million visitors by the end of 2018.

To accommodate this growth in visitors, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is providing potential investors with a range of innovative opportunities to develop stand-out properties across the emirate. We have considerable opportunities within several development projects, including Al Marjan Island, which has been earmarked for an additional 16 hotels by 2025.”

His Highness’ welcome will be followed by a keynote interview with one of the Middle East’s most respected businessmen, His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, Founder & Chairman, Emaar Properties, who has not only played a critical role in establishing Dubai’s reputation as a tourism hotspot but is also renowned for his entrepreneurial outlook and passion for digital disruption.

His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar said: “With its natural setting, diverse attractions and a fast-evolving hospitality infrastructure, Ras Al Khaimah is setting new milestones in the industry, and evolving as one of the popular tourism hubs in the region. AHIC 2018 will put the spotlight on the emirate and drive inward investments, and underline the diversity of tourism offerings that our nation presents to the world. Through the Conference, which discusses future trends, we can collectively contribute to strengthening the prospects of the tourism and hospitality sectors, and unlock their true potential.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of AHIC, said: “We are delighted and proud to open AHIC 2018 with insights from two such respected business leaders. I’ve no doubt the contributions from His Highness Sheikh Saud and His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar will set the scene for highly relevant debate and discussion around the all-important topics of leadership and innovation as they impact the global hospitality investment industry.”

AHIC 2018 will also bring some of the world’s leading hotel CEOs to Dubai for a ‘Global CEO in the Hot Seat’ series; Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG; and Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, CEO, Groupe du Louvre.

Ahead of his session at AHIC, Keith Barr said: “This will be my first time at AHIC and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be on stage to talk about our industry and IHG’s role within it. I’m going to be talking about a range of things, but will be focusing on the way that digital and technological evolution has transformed the way in which we can deliver a truly personalized experience for our guests.

“The hospitality industry has experienced a great deal of change in recent years, not least in terms of the constantly evolving consumer environment and the rapidly changing digital and technological landscape. I don’t necessarily see any one element challenging the industry more than it has done in previous years, but it’s a case of the industry needing to continuously adapt, evolve and innovate during 2018. This isn’t an industry where you can sit still for one moment; it’s highly competitive and it’s vital that we are as nimble and agile as possible.”

Commenting on what he forecasts to be the biggest disruptor to the hospitality industry in 2018, Federico J. González, President & CEO, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “There’s no single aspect or issue that I see as being unique. The trend of disruptions and other macro and micro economic challenges will continue. As a leading hotel company, we need to be ahead of the curve and focus on delivering memorable moments. We need to be able to respond faster and better to customer needs. At Radisson, we want all of us to be obsessed with customer. That’s the ultimate essence of hospitality and our business.

“We need to have relevant and meaningful innovation at all levels of business. We need to support and enhance a customer journey from A to Z, which makes sense to the customers directly. Brand, Product, Commercial & Marketing activities, Communication and Operations, all need to be aligned to serve one purpose – 100% Guest Satisfaction.”

The CEOs behind some of the industry’s hottest new brands will also take to the stage, including Christoph Hoffmann, Chief Executive Officer, 25hours Hotel Company, Amar Lalvani, CEO & Managing Partner, Standard International; and Michael Bisordi, Owner – Tungsten Partners and Partner – Ace Group International.

Christoph Hoffmann, who recently entered into a strategic partnership with global hotel giant Accor to further develop his brand, 25hours, said he forecast more mergers in the industry.

“In most markets, the number of hotel rooms is increasing and we still see mergers and new brands – especially in the lifestyle segment – arising. A CEO nowadays must be open for structural changes and not so much focus on the mere product to succeed,” said Hoffmann.

Commenting on the skills a hotel industry CEO needs to success in 2018, Amar Lalvani said: “Stop thinking like a hotel company CEO. It’s a very insular industry with insular thinking. Think more creatively and move more quickly. Watch other sectors. Alternative accommodations, shared office, ride sharing. Understand how the next generation lives, stays and plays in order not to become a dinosaur.

Michael Bisordi, who launched the Ace Hotel chain in US, said that he believes investors should “focus inward” and look at an asset on a local level, rather than as a brand.

“Our intent primarily is to create within the four walls of the building an ‘instant classic’,” said Bisordi.

“In a way we feel this actually transcends the concept of a brand. We feel that the development of the property to be the draw, more so than any brand, is where the industry is going. Customisation is an increasing trend and is a reaction against the wave of expansion of relatively homogeneous hotels in the latter half of the 20th century,” added Bisordi.

Meanwhile, the investor’s perspective will be represented by the Middle East’s leading hotel owners including Alain Debare, Chief Executive Officer, Action Hotels; Samih Sawiris, Chairman, ORASCOM Development; Jalil Mekouar, Chief Executive Officer – Hotels, Majid Al Futtaim; Sanjeev Agarwala, Chief Operating Officer – Hospitality and Investment, Al Habtoor Group; and Dr Badr Al Badr, Chief Executive Officer, Dur Hospitality.

Commenting on how he sees the current operating environment, Alain Debare said: “Taking a wide lens, the hotel sector we have grown to know, is in a shift. A big shift. In recent months, we have witnessed a flurry of multi-billion dollar M&A activity. The reality is, this has taken Top Team attention away from core brand operations.”

For registrations (www.ArabianConference.com/purchase-pass) and for more information, visit: www.ArabianConference.com

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

Contact:
Lisa Flanagan, Senior Communications Consultant, In2 Consulting;
Lisa@In2Consulting.com Office: +971 4 455 8499; Mobile: +971 52 689 5509

Notes to Editors
About AHIC 2018

AHIC (www.ArabianConference.com), now in its 14th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with MEED Events. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2018 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 17 April to 19 April 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2018 will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth.

AHIC 2018 Sponsors
AHIC 2018 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Al Marjan Island, Hilton and Radisson Hotel Group as Platinum Sponsors; Dur Hospitality as Strategic Partner; AccorHotels, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Emaar Hospitality Group, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Insignia Worldwide Group (IWG), Marriott International; The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) and Wyndham Hotel Group as Emerald Sponsors; and Action Hotels, Colliers International, HVS, Louvre Hotels Group, Melia Hotels International, PwC, Roya, SSH, STR, Taj Hotels and Time Hotels as Gold Sponsors.

About Bench Events
Global event organiser Bench Events (www.BenchEvents.com) has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Market leading annual conferences include the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, now in its 14th year, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) the new Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), The Summit in London and the Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences (SAHIC). Bench Events’ extensive portfolio also includes the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai and AviaDev, designed to promote the future air connectivity in Africa. Bench Events’ mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide. www.BenchEvents.com

About MEED
MEED (www.MEED.com) is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website, www.MEED.com, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings. MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East’s premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since. www.MEED.com

About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) (https://en.RAKTDA.com) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the RAKTDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Source:: Modern leaders, forward-thinking investors and bold new hoteliers take centre-stage at annual hotel investment event

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags:

ENGIE and Fenix complete acquisition to bring affordable power to the last mile across Africa

Global utility company ENGIE (www.Engie-Africa.com) and off-grid energy leader Fenix International (www.FenixIntl.com) have closed their acquisition agreement today. Fenix is the first Solar Home System “SHS” company to join a major worldwide energy company and has already delivered clean, safe and affordable energy and financial services to over one million people.

ENGIE and Fenix have ambitious targets to reach millions of households across Africa and this partnership will accelerate and expand Fenix’s ability to scale off-grid energy and financial services. Fenix will gain access to ENGIE’s supply chain, expertise, long-term capital investments and talent across the energy value chain.

Aligned with ENGIE’s core values, the Fenix team and mission will remain unchanged and at the heart of the company. Fenix headquarters and key offices are anchored in Africa, close to their customers and operations, so that Fenix can continue its pursuit of an exceptional customer experience.

Bruno Bensasson, CEO of ENGIE Africa, said: “Closing this acquisition gives us the go-ahead to accelerate access to energy through Fenix’s strong solar home system model. Until now, availability of capital has been a major hurdle in the solar home system business, a constraint that we are now helping to remove.

We believe this is a major step along the path to universal energy access. The dramatically falling price of solar panels and batteries, combined with the inclusive “pay-as-you-go” financing platform created by Fenix, make solar home systems a key part of the energy mix for Africa’s future in combination with grid extension and micro-grids.”

Lyndsay Handler, CEO of Fenix International, said, “It’s unacceptable that over 600 million people across Africa lack access to energy. By joining forces with ENGIE, we aim to bring affordable energy and other life-changing products to millions of people living off-grid.

Realizing this ambitious vision will require significant commercial investment and innovation in product, last-mile distribution, inclusive financing and customer experience. With this agreement, ENGIE will provide the support, expertise and opportunities the Fenix team needs to innovate in these areas and rapidly scale the business.”

Fenix’s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, is one of the most affordable solar home systems on the off-grid market. Customers pay as little as $0.19 per day to access power for lighting, phone charging, and products such as TVs and radios. After 24-36 months of payments, customers own the solar home system outright. Based on the credit score customers establish while paying off their power systems, they are able to purchase upgrades to their energy system, energy-efficient appliances, or other life-changing financial products.

ReadyPay Power, by providing off-grid families with clean, affordable energy and a safer home environment, is a natural fit with ENGIE’s goal to provide decarbonised, decentralised energy using the latest digital technologies.

As Fenix officially joins the ENGIE group of companies, Lyndsay comments: “It is a privilege to be a part of a bold global energy company with over 50 years’ experience with energy in Africa. Over 100 years ago, Ford set out on a mission to make cars affordable in America. MTN have made telecommunications and Mobile Money affordable to all across Africa, and today Tesla is working to make rockets and electric cars affordable. Together, Fenix and ENGIE want to make modern energy radically affordable to all.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of ENGIE.

Press contact:
For more information, images or to request interviews, please contact Melissa Sidnell on +44 (0)20 3357 9741 or +44 (0)7756 858044 (Melissa@FlamePR.com) or Maya Harruna on +44 (0)20 3357 9744 (Maya@FlamePR.com).

About Fenix:
Fenix (www.FenixIntl.com) is a next-generation, end-to-end renewable energy company that does eve-rything from design, manufacturing, sales, financing and customer service. Fenix’s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, is an expandable, lease-to-own home solar system financed through ultra-affordable instalments over Mobile Money. Fenix uses real-time transaction data to create a next-generation credit score to finance power upgrades or other life-changing loans. To date, Fenix has sold over 180,000 ReadyPay Power systems and is growing its product portfolio and geographic coverage to bring power and a wider world of financing to millions of customers by 2020. Fenix is an awardee of Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development. Scaling Off-Grid Energy is a global partnership founded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development’s Energy Africa campaign, and the Shell Foundation – a UK-registered charity. The Grand Challenge for Development aims to extend energy access to 20 million households across sub-Saharan Africa through off-grid household solar solutions.
Fenix was advised by Enclude and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati on this transaction. For more information visit www.FenixIntl.com

About ENGIE AFRICA:
For over 50 years, ENGIE (www.Engie-Africa.com) has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, its natural gas purchase agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3,000 MW either in operation or under construction. By 2025, ENGIE aims to become a reference partner in about ten African countries for power plants, energy services to businesses and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers – communities, companies and households. For more information, www.Engie-Africa.com
The Group ENGIE is active in some 70 countries, employs 150,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016. ENGIE is committed to taking on the major challenges of the energy revolution, toward a world more decarbonized, decentralized and digitalized. The Group aims to be-come the leader of this new energy world by focusing on three key activities for the future: low carbon generation, in particular from natural gas and renewable energy; energy infrastructure; and efficient solutions adapted to all its customers.

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Source:: ENGIE and Fenix complete acquisition to bring affordable power to the last mile across Africa

      

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Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union following the death of Winnie Madikazela-Mandela

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has learned with great shock and profound sadness of the death of Winnie Madikazela-Mandela.

Winnie Madikazela-Mandela was an icon of the liberation struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. She will forever be remembered as a fearless campaigner who sacrificed much of her life for freedom in South Africa. She never relented in her struggle or wavered in her commitment, despite imprisonment, banishment, and decades-long seperation from her then husband Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment.

Winnie Madikazela-Mandela paved the way for women in the struggle to end Apartheid and fought relentlessly for their rights and welfare in her country. It was in recognition of her formidable contribution to the fight against oppression that she received a lifetime achievement award in 2017 from the African Union Commission Chairperson

The entire African Union family joins the continent in grief at the passing of Winnie Madikazela-Mandela. On this sad occasion, the Chairperson conveys his heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of South Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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Source:: Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union following the death of Winnie Madikazela-Mandela

      

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