EU establishes mission to advise armed forces in the Central African Republic

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council has established the EU Military Advisory Mission in the Central African Republic (EUMAM RCA). It sets out to support the Central African authorities in preparing a reform of the security sector, especially with respect to the management of the CAR armed forces (FACA). The new mission will follow the EU military operation in the CAR (EUFOR RCA), which contributes to security in the capital Bangui until 15 March 2015.

 

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: “The European Union is fully committed to support CAR’s return to stability. This new mission will play a critical role in strengthening the security sector. EUMAM will advise on the reforms necessary to make the CAR armed forces a more multi-ethnic, professional and republican army.”

Suggested Book:“They Came To Kill”: Escalating Atrocities in the Central African Republic

EU experts will advise on how to manage the military forces as well as on the preparation of a future systemic reform of the FACA. In addition, they will provide expertise on the conditions for a training programme for the army. Based on a gradual approach, the mission could also conduct limited non-operational training.

 

The mission is set to last 12 months, starting from the moment of reaching Full Operational Capability. EUMAM’s headquarters will be located in Bangui. Brigadier General Dominique Laugel from France has been appointed EU Mission Commander for a team of up to 60 staff. The budget for the preparation phase and the first year of the mission is estimated at €7.9 million.

 

A separate Council decision is required to launch EUMAM’s activities.

Source:: EU establishes mission to advise armed forces in the Central African Republic

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Central African Republic, POLITICS | Tags: , ,

EUCAP Sahel Mali gets green light for advising internal security forces in Mali

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council has launched EUCAP Sahel Mali, the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy mission in Mali. The mission’s task is to support the Malian internal security forces.

 

EUCAP Sahel Mali will help the Malian state ensure constitutional and democratic order, put in place the conditions for lasting peace as well as maintain its authority throughout the entire territory. The mission advises and trains the three internal security forces in Mali, i.e. the police, Gendarmerie and Garde Nationale, and coordinates with international partners.

Suggested Book: Constructing Democracy in Africa: Mali in Transition

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: “The EU is a steadfast partner of Mali. The new mission reinforces the EU’s comprehensive support to stability and security throughout Mali. By assisting the Malian internal security forces, EUCAP will help bring a long term solution to Mali’s security challenges.”

 

Following the Council Decision to establish the Mission in April 2014, the Core Team has been deployed in Bamako last July and has started its work to support the Malian internal security forces.

 

The mission is foreseen to last until 15 January 2017. Its headquarters is in the capital Bamako. A budget of €11.4 million has been allocated for the first year.

 

EUCAP Sahel Mali is embedded in the EU’s comprehensive approach to security and development in the Sahel and comes in addition to two existing CSDP actions in the region: EUCAP Sahel Niger supports the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Niger while the EU training mission in Mali contributes to the restructuring and the reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces though training and advice.

Source:: EUCAP Sahel Mali gets green light for advising internal security forces in Mali

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Mali

European Union / Council conclusions on Tunisia

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council adopted the following conclusions:

 

“1. The European Union congratulates Tunisia in the wake of the legislative and presidential elections which mark an historic step in the country’s democratic transition.

 

2. It welcomes the democratic commitment and the sense of responsibility of the Tunisian people and of all the political leaders and civil society who have managed to preserve a spirit of dialogue conducive to ensuring the success of this process. The EU pays tribute to the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) which has excellently organised several free, transparent and democratic elections within a short period of time. Tunisia’s democratic transition is a source of hope and inspiration for other peoples of the region.

 

3. The EU congratulates Mr Béji Caïd Essebsi on his election as President of Tunisia, as well as the newly-elected representatives of the Tunisian people. It wishes the new authorities every success with the inclusive preparation and the implementation of the reforms which are key to consolidating the rule of law and the democratic achievements of the new Constitution, guaranteeing the security of all Tunisians and meeting the economic and social aspirations that were behind the 2011 revolution.

 

4. The EU remains steadfastly committed to cooperating with the new President of Tunisia, the next government, and the whole of Tunisian society, in order to deepen the Privileged Partnership between the EU and Tunisia. With this in mind, the EU will continue to back the efforts of the new authorities with political and financial support commensurate with both the progress already achieved and the challenges faced.”

Source:: European Union / Council conclusions on Tunisia

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, POLITICS, Tunisia | Tags:

Security in Africa: Structural challenges are reaching crisis point

LONDON, United Kingdom, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The latest report from Think Security Africa (http://www.thinksecurityafrica.org) is the organisation’s fifth annual review on security in Africa. It assesses changes in Africa’s security situation between 2013 and 2014 in three main categories: (1) Challenges impacting the national chain of command, (2) Maintaining territorial integrity, and (3) Societal management.

 

Download the report at: http://thinksecurityafrica.org/research/security-in-africa-2014

 

Watch the project video at: http://thinksecurityafrica.org/videos/security-in-africa-2014

 

Download the Infographic: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/150119.jpg

 

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

 

The key findings of the report, which use graphs, infographics and maps as visual aids, is that African countries are increasingly struggling to maintain territorial integrity. In 2014, ten African governments were competing with non-state groups for territorial control, which represents more than a fifty percent increase from last year. What has made the problem worse in 2014 is that non-state groups are no longer making demands, they are just going ahead and establishing fiefdoms, indicative of a decline of governmental capacity vis-à-vis non-state actors. There was also a substantial rise in the number of countries impacted by border and maritime security challenges, indicative of a growing structural problem that is regional in scope.

Suggested Book: The Security Activities of External Actors in Africa (Sipri Research Monograph)

Although the report noted a decrease in the number of countries experiencing challenges in relation to managing national chains of command and society, the sharp decline in the overall ability of African government’s to maintain territorial integrity offset improvements in those areas. The result was a sharp rise in the number of countries impacted by conflict. Between 2013 and 2014 the number of African governments impacted by serious conflict rose from seven to ten.

 

‘The key to improving security in Africa, and improving the ability of governments to maintain territorial integrity, is to ensure that improvements in the number of countries impacted by serious chain of command-related challenges are sustained in 2015. However, with elections in several fragile states due to occur this year, this is going to be difficult, ‘ says Adunola Abiola, founder of Think Security Africa.

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Think Security Africa (TSA).

 

 

Media contact: Joel Tavon

Email: info@thinksecurityafrica.org

Tel: +44 207 287 0008

 

Think Security Africa (http://www.thinksecurityafrica.org) is an independent think tank specializing in security in Africa. Since its establishment in 2009, TSA has become a leader in forecasting security-related trends in Africa – with a view to preserving lives and development ecosystems.

TSA’s resources are used by governments, inter-governmental organizations, journalists and business to assist with their Africa-focused missions.

Source:: Security in Africa: Structural challenges are reaching crisis point

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, POLITICS | Tags:

Madagascar : IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Madagascar

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On January 16, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Madagascar.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. In a fragile environment, the uncertainty linked to political instability, weak institutions, and weak governance has been eroding the foundation for solid economic growth. Since the political crisis in 2009, economic growth has been slow and social services, including basic health care and primary education, have deteriorated. The government that assumed power in early 2014, following constitutional elections, has shown a commitment to addressing Madagascar’s challenges.

Suggested Book: MADAGASCAR Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Madagscar

There are early signs of an economic recovery in 2014, with growth estimated at 3 percent and December inflation under 7 percent. The current account deficit is projected to have narrowed to about 2 percent of GDP in 2014 driven by growing mineral exports, decreasing food import needs, and lower-than-anticipated international oil prices. Growing credit demand prompted domestic interest rates to increase and raised the cost of domestic budgetary financing, leading the government to increase statutory advances from the central bank.

Given still weak tax revenue collections, spending on high-priority areas, such as education and health, continued to be constrained in 2014. The need to finance fuel subsidies, public enterprises (such as the public utility JIRAMA), and the under-funded civil service pension fund added to budgetary pressures. At the same time, the authorities started to clear domestic budgetary arrears, took steps to define a plan to shore up the finances of JIRAMA, and adopted a priority action plan to strengthen public financial management.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors welcomed the first signs of economic recovery in 2014. Nevertheless, the country is facing complex challenges stemming from weak institutions and governance, binding resource constraints, vulnerability to shocks, and the urgent need to reverse the deterioration of development indicators. Directors called for an acceleration of economic and structural reforms to unleash Madagascar’s significant potential. The forthcoming National Development Plan should give priority to reforms that would raise the level and efficiency of pro-poor/pro-growth government spending, improve governance and strengthen institutions, increase high-return infrastructure investment, and improve the business climate. Steadfast implementation of these reforms will promote employment and private sector growth and reduce poverty.

Directors welcomed the authorities’ focus on increasing fiscal space for urgent social spending on health and education and infrastructure investment. Reforms in this area should involve well-designed plans, with Fund TA support, to mobilize tax revenue and make customs and tax administration more efficient. On the expenditure side, Directors supported the plans to phase out fuel subsidies, reduce budgetary transfers to loss-making public enterprises, address imbalances of the civil service pension funds, continue to strengthen public financial management, and clear domestic arrears.

Directors saw some room for cautious external borrowing over the medium term to address Madagascar’s pressing infrastructure needs. They encouraged the authorities to make every effort to ensure that such borrowing will be on concessional terms to the extent possible. Early finalization of the development plan and prioritization of investments, taking into account absorptive capacity, will be important to mobilize needed donor financing.

Directors stressed the need to strengthen monetary policy independence. They called for a prompt recapitalization of the central bank and a strengthening of its oversight mechanisms, and recommended avoiding the use of statutory advances for budget financing. Efforts to upgrade financial sector supervision and risk monitoring and develop the financial system should also continue.

Directors viewed Madagascar’s current floating exchange rate regime to be appropriate, noting that it has helped the economy adjust to external shocks. While the exchange rate does not appear out of line with fundamentals, Directors encouraged the authorities to take steps to improve competitiveness and increase international reserves over time.

It is expected that the next Article IV consultation with the Republic of Madagascar will be held on the standard 12-month cycle.

Source:: IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Madagascar

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IMF’s East AFRITAC Holds Regional Workshop on Micro Prudential Stress Testing

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center for Eastern Africa—East AFRITAC (AFE) and The Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute for Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI) conducted a regional workshop on micro prudential stress testing from January 12–16, 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop attracted participants from the bank supervision and financial stability units of central banks of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Solomon Desta, Director of the Bank Supervision Directorate of the National Bank of Ethiopia, emphasized that stress testing is an important tool for assessing the inter-linkages between institutions and sectors, facilitating the identification of potential vulnerabilities and the buildup of risks across sectors.

The growing attention on stress testing since the global financial crisis and the resulting regional initiatives to implement comprehensive stress testing frameworks that are customized to local and regional circumstances prompted the workshop. International and regional experts facilitated the session built around the Cihak framework developed by the IMF, which is being adopted and implemented, sometimes in a modified form, by the central banks in the region.

The global financial crisis led to customized regional and local initiatives to implement comprehensive stress testing frameworks. International and regional experts coordinated the workshop around the IMF’s Cihak framework, which is being implemented by central banks in the region. The workshop also covered additional stress testing approaches currently employed by countries in the region.

Specific areas covered included: stress testing and sensitivity analysis for credit risk; interest rate risk; foreign exchange risk; liquidity risk; and testing for possible spillover effects through interbank contagion. . The concepts and approaches discussed were tailored to the regional context and took into account data availability constraints.

Participants agreed that there is scope for further capacity building in this area. IMF East AFRITAC stands ready to provide further Technical Assistance (TA) to its member countries on stress-testing. This could include the implementation of the Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (Pillar 2 of the Basel II framework). The technical assistance center will also continue to support TA provided by the Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the IMF on macro prudential stress testing in the region.

Source:: IMF’s East AFRITAC Holds Regional Workshop on Micro Prudential Stress Testing

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ECONOMY, Ethiopia | Tags: