Sep 092014
 

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, September 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 4 September, The African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (AUNAMID), received information that a Government of Sudan police team had entered Kalma camp for in…

Sep 082014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European Commission will provide €5 million to the newly established mission of the African Union (AU) “Support to Ebola Outbreak in West-Africa” (ASEOWA) that will join the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the disease in the region.

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, said “We welcome the AU’s new mission and will fully support its work. The EU stands side by side with our African partners – we all need to cooperate closely in fighting this deadly disease. Today’s funding is part of our contribution to a strong, coordinated international response.”

Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: “The crisis continues to deteriorate, with Ebola cases surging even in places where it was brought under control. We must join forces in the fight against this deadly epidemic. Europe’s humanitarian assistance is reaching the affected areas as we speak. The needs, however, are constantly growing.”

ASEOWA is planned to last six months, with headquarters in Liberia and a minimum of 100 staff. It will provide advice to the Ebola coordination structures in the affected countries and engage in joint operations with them. It will also provide medical support in their on-going responses to the Ebola outbreak and assist local authorities and the international community in consolidating the control over the virus’ epidemic. It will also support the establishing of institutions and conducive conditions for the control and eradication of Ebola, as well as liaise with humanitarian actors and facilitate, where possible, humanitarian assistance to isolated and quarantined centres.

Today’s announcement was made in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) at an AU Partner Group’s meeting on Ebola.

Background

€2 million of today’s funding come from EU support for fighting Ebola that has been announced by Commissioner Piebalgs last Friday during his official visit to Benin (see IP/14/974); the remaining €3 million will be provided through the so-called African Union Support Programme, an existing EU funding mechanism that provides technical capacity to the AU.

Sep 082014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UNEP MEDIA INVITATION: SEED Awards Briefing

What: SEED Awards Media Briefing

Who: Judy Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources (TBC);

Manu Chandaria, Comcraft Group Chairman;

Helen Marquard, SEED Executive Director;

SEED Award Alumnus Evans Wadongo;

2014 SEED Award Winners

When: 10 September 2014, 14:00 h

Where: Safari Park Hotel, VIP Rooms 1 & 2 (above the Pavilion) Nairobi, Kenya

RSVP to: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

Small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) are the backbone of society, accounting for about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment around the globe. Women own at least 30 per cent of SMMEs worldwide.

These enterprises are engines of economic growth and sources of new employment. They can nimbly adapt to new technologies and respond quickly to changing market needs. In fact, most innovation happens at the SMME level, but the right conditions are needed to create, commercialize and scale up innovative solutions.

Meanwhile, it has been proven that eco-innovative companies – those with sustainability integrated into their DNA – show an average 15 per cent increase in annual growth in an otherwise flat market.

Founded by UNEP, UNDP and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and supported by a group of intergovernmental partners, SEED works to build on the potential of social and green enterprises in building inclusive and green economies, which will be a critical component of the post-2015 development agenda.

This year, the SEED Awards – the world’s premiere award for small and micro-sized eco-startups – once again recognize businesses that tackle local and global problems with eco-innovative solutions.

From aflatoxin-free peanut butter and recycled briquettes to solar-powered computers, this year’s winners are great examples of how small and micro enterprises are already making the Green Economy a reality. They prove that environmental challenges can be solved in a way that creates economic and social benefits.

Join Kenya’s Manu Chandaria, Chairman of the Comcraft Group, Cabinet Secretary for Environment Prof. Judy Wakhungu and 2014 SEED Award winners and SEED alumni for a media briefing to learn more about SMMEs, eco-innovation and how they can support the transition to an inclusive Green Economy in the post-2015 era.

Sep 082014
 

VATICAN, Holy See, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today Pope Francis received the prelates of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon at the end of their five-yearly “ad limina” visit. At the end of the audience the Pope expressed his encouragement and confidence in the bishops, whose visit to Rome underlined the spirit of communion with the Apostolic See, and handed them his written discourse, in which he writes that “for the Gospel to profoundly touch and convert hearts, we must remember that only our unity and love make it possible to bear witness authentically and effectively”. “You must keep unity and diversity closely linked in order to accommodate the human and spiritual wealth of your dioceses, that is expressed in many ways”.

Pope Francis mentioned the good collaboration between the Church, the State and society in Cameroon, as shown recently by the signing of a framework agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cameroon, and invited the prelates to put this agreement in practice, “so that legal recognition of many ecclesial institutions will enable them to exercise greater influence, to the benefit not only of the Church but also of the whole of society in Cameroon”. In this context, he also referred to the considerable commitment on the part of the local churches in social work, especially in the fields of education, health and charity, that is recognised and appreciated by the civil authorities and must be the fulcrum of “a fruitful collaboration between the State and the Church, with full respect for her freedom. Commitment to social work is an integral part of evangelisation, as there is an intimate link between evangelisation and human development, which must be expressed and developed in all evangelising work”.

The action of evangelisation will be more effective when the Gospel “is truly lived by those who have received and profess it. This is how we find the way of drawing to Christ those who do not yet know Him, demonstrating the power of His love that is able to transform and illuminate human life”. Given the significant presence of Muslims in some dioceses, the Pope encouraged the bishops to “develop a dialogue of life with them, in the spirit of mutual trust”, which is now “essential to maintain a climate of peaceful co-existence and to discourage the development of the violence that Christians are victims of in certain regions of the African continent”.

He continues, “Families, equally, must continue to be the focus of your particular care, especially today as they experience grave hardships – poverty, the displacement of peoples, lack of security, the temptation to return to ancestral practices incompatible with the Christian faith, or even new lifestyles promised by a secularised world”.

It is also essential that the clergy “offer witness to a life inhabited by the Lord, coherent with the demands and the principles of the Gospel”, he writes, inviting the prelates to be fathers attentive to their priests, so that they are helped to avoid the temptations of power, honours and money. “In relation to this latter point, the negative example that may be given by poor management of goods, personal enrichment or wastefulness will be particularly scandalous in a region where many people lack basic necessities”. Similarly, “the unity of the clergy is an indispensable element in the witness to the risen Christ … and which depends upon unity among bishops, who are often faced with the same challenges and called upon to offer common and joint solutions, as well as the unity of the ‘presbyterium’ that the Lord calls on us to build every day, setting aside all forms of prejudice, especially on the basis of ethnicity”.

The Pontiff finally offers encouragement to consecrated persons, whose life is “always a prophetic witness and model in matters of reconciliation, justice and peace” and concludes by urging the prelates of Cameroon not to fear difficulties and to continue to proclaim the Good News with a renewed missionary spirit “to all those who still await it or are most in need”.

Sep 082014
 

VATICAN, Holy See, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolences on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, Burundi, for the killing of three Italian Xaverian Missionary sisters yesterday, Sunday 7 September, in their convent in Kamenge, north of the capital Bujumbura.

Cardinal Parolin writes, “His Holiness Pope Francis has learned with great sadness of the murder of three nuns, Sister Bernadetta Bogiann, Sister Lucia Pulici and Sister Olga Raschietti, who were in the pastoral service of the parish of Saint Guido Maria Conforti in Bujumbura. The Holy Father begs the Lord to welcome into his kingdom of peace and light these three faithful and devout nuns. In these tragic circumstances, he expresses his closeness to their religious community, to the families of the victims, and the entire diocesan community. He imparts the comfort of a heartfelt and affectionate apostolic blessing to all those affected by their sudden loss. I join the Holy Father in offering my condolences and wish to assure those close to the departed Sisters of my fervent prayers”.

The Secretary of State also sent another telegram to Sister Ines Frizza, superior general of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, in which he expresses his sadness for the tragic death of the missionaries and “assures his heartfelt participation in the profound suffering of the Congregation for the loss of such dedicated sisters”. The Holy Father, “in the hope that the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples, raises fervent prayers for the eternal repose of their souls and for their generous witness of the Gospel. To their families, the entire Institute and those who mourn their loss, he imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing”, the Cardinal concludes.

Sep 082014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — GeoPoll (http://www.geopoll.com), the world’s largest real-time mobile survey platform, today announced the hire of John Muthee as VP of Business Development in Africa. Muthee will drive the strategy and execution of key growth initiatives as GeoPoll expands its mobile survey capabilities across the continent. The company recently opened a regional hub office in Nairobi and hired several experienced business development veterans, including Wavinya Kiagiri in Kenya, Matt Angus-Hammond in South Africa, and Gordon Grant Biaku in Ghana.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/GeoPoll-1.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1347 (John Muthee, VP of Business Development in Africa, GeoPoll)

“As GeoPoll becomes the go-to solution for organizations looking to gain insight into African audiences, we’ve expanded accordingly,” said Steve Gutterman, President of GeoPoll. “Our new hires bring valuable market research experience that will be a key asset in addressing our clients’ information needs. John and his business development team will lead our sales efforts and provide clients with insight regarding key markets, demographics, and customer preferences that has heretofore not been available on a real-time basis.

Muthee most recently served as Managing Director for GfK East Africa, where he oversaw the Consumer Choices research division, and all client engagements across the region. In his previous role as Regional Manager at GfK, Muthee coordinated the development of a retail panel across East Africa. Prior to joining GfK, Muthee was Country Manager for Tanzania at The Steadman Group.

Additional new hires bring significant experience in local sales and marketing:

● Wavinya Kiagiri, Business Development Director, Media Products for East Africa. Wavinya was formerly Head of Operations for Advertising at Kenya’s Nation Media Group, driving the use of research for sales, product development and strategy. At GeoPoll, Wavinya will be driving the adoption of GeoPoll’s Audience Measurement Service throughout East Africa. Prior to joining the Nation Media Group in 2009, she was the Media Research Director at Steadman Synovate, now Ipsos. Wavinya will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

● Gordon Grant Biaku, Business Development Lead for West Africa. Gordon was formerly an Account Director at market research company Millward Brown in West Africa. Based in Accra, Gordon played a pioneering role at establishing Millward Brown’s presence in West Africa. Prior to joining Millward Brown in 2009, Gordon was the Country Manager at Steadman, now Ipsos. Gordon will be based in Accra, Ghana.

● Matt Angus Hammond, Business Development Lead for Southern Africa. As the Market Insights Director for East and West Africa at Millward Brown, Matt spearheaded the company’s expansion into Africa before moving to South African research house KLA as the African Business Development Director. In October 2013 he took a sabbatical and spent seven months driving through nine countries from Johannesburg to Kinshasa, including a six week journey down the Congo River on a cargo barge. He will be leading GeoPoll’s business development efforts in Southern Africa based out of Johannesburg.

● Wangui Gikonyo, Business Development, Social Sector, for East Africa. Wangui has experience in both the corporate and social sectors, having worked with leading consumer goods brands, and more recently for several NGOs, including heading The AMREF Flying Doctors Society of Africa and working as Fundraising Director of the Kenya Community Development Foundation. Wangui will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

This announcement follows GeoPoll’s recent office opening in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as the launch of new product offerings catering to strategic sectors. In June, GeoPoll announced its Audience Measurement Service, and with it, the first ever overnight television ratings for multiple countries in Africa. The service currently represents daily television and radio consumption of over 300 million Africans, and aims to give advertisers and broadcasters an unprecedented, real-time look at viewing habits through individual action.

GeoPoll has also expanded its subscription services to include surveys on other key sectors, including Health, Finance, and Food & Agriculture. The GeoPoll database now includes more than 200 million users, and is projected to expand to 500 million by the end of the year.

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

Media contact:

Iz Conroy

+ 1 415-625-8555

GeoPoll@launchsquad.com

About GeoPoll

GeoPoll (http://www.geopoll.com) is the world’s largest real-time mobile survey platform, reaching a growing network of more than 200 million users in 20 countries worldwide on a deeply granular level and at unprecedented scale. Through partnerships with telecom providers and a multimodal platform powered by text, voice and web-based communications, GeoPoll enables companies and organizations to gather quick, accurate and in-depth insights on anything from preferences on consumer goods to election transparency and access to basic government services. GeoPoll is powered by Mobile Accord, the creators of the mGive mobile donation platform and experts in powering mobile insights across the globe.

Sep 082014
 

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — APO will offer transport, accommodation and perdiem for one African journalist to attend the AfricaCom 2014, Africa’s leading telecoms event (http://www.comworldseries.com/africa), held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 11–13 November 2014.

AfricaCom 2014 will bring together individuals and companies to debate on how to embrace innovation in Africa’s telecoms, media and ICT markets.

The deadline for entry is midnight on October 17, 2014.

Winner will be announced on October 23, 2014.

APPLY to win the invitation: http://www.apo-opa.com/application_twitter.php?L=E&vc=WIN

More information about AfricaCom 2014: http://africa.comworldseries.com

Sep 082014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have sexually abused and exploited vulnerable Somali women and girls on their bases in Mogadishu, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Troop-contributing countries, the African Union (AU), and donors to AMISOM should urgently address these abuses and strengthen procedures inside Somalia to seek justice.

The 71-page report, “‘The Power These Men Have Over Us’: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia,” documents the sexual exploitation and abuse of Somali women and girls on two AMISOM bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, since 2013. The AU soldiers, relying on Somali intermediaries, have used a range of tactics, including humanitarian aid, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity. They have also raped or otherwise sexually assaulted women who were seeking medical assistance or water at AMISOM bases. Human Rights Watch interviewed 21 women and girls who described being raped or sexually exploited by Ugandan or Burundian military personnel serving with the AU forces.

“Some African Union soldiers have misused their positions of power to exploit Somalia’s most vulnerable women and girls,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Somalia has many intractable problems, but the Somali and AU leadership could end sexual exploitation and abuse by pressing troop-sending countries to hold abusers responsible.”

The AU and AMISOM should foster an organizational culture of “zero tolerance” of unlawful activities on their bases, Human Rights Watch said. They should establish or strengthen instruments and bodies that have responsibility for addressing these abuses, such as conduct and discipline units, and an independent investigative body at the AU level.

Human Rights Watch conducted research in Somalia, Uganda, and Burundi. All of the Somali women and girls interviewed were from displaced communities from south-central Somalia. In addition, Human Rights Watch interviewed over 30 witnesses, foreign observers, military personnel, and officials from troop-contributing countries. The research focused on incidents in Mogadishu, where Ugandan and Burundian soldiers are present and does not preclude the possibility that similar abuses have occurred elsewhere.

Years of conflict and famine in Somalia have displaced tens of thousands of women and girls from their communities, and from their family and clan support networks. Without employment options and basic resources, many must rely completely on outside assistance and are forced into exploitative and abusive situations to sustain themselves and their children.

The African Union Peace and Security Council deployed the peace support troops known as AMISOM to Somalia in 2007 under a United Nations Security Council mandate, to protect Somali infrastructure and government officials and to contribute to delivering humanitarian assistance. Since then, AMISOM’s mandate, size, and geographical presence have steadily increased. The force draws its military personnel from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sierra Leone.

Women and girls seeking assistance at AMISOM camps in Mogadishu do so at significant risk, Human Rights Watch found. For instance, in late 2013, Qamar R. (not her real name), 15, went to the Burundian contingent’s base to get medicine for her sick mother. A Somali interpreter told her to follow two Burundian soldiers to get medicine. They took her to a remote area and one of the soldiers raped her. She told Human Rights Watch: “First he ripped off my hijab and then he attacked me.” As she was leaving, the second Burundian soldier gave her US$10.

Some soldiers have exploited women’s poverty and lack of food for sex. In May 2013, Kassa D. was introduced to a Somali interpreter at AMISOM’s base camp. “I was worried,” she said. “I wanted to run but I knew that the same thing that brought me here would get me through this – my hunger. I had made a choice and I couldn’t turn back now.” After she had sexual intercourse with a Ugandan soldier, the interpreter paid her $10.

The UN secretary-general’s 2003 bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse is a groundbreaking policy document for UN peacekeeping missions. It explicitly prohibits peacekeepers from exchanging any money, goods, or services for sex.

Evidence suggests that sexual exploitation is not a secret at AMISOM’s Mogadishu bases, Human Rights Watch said. The women and girls have entered the camps through official guarded gates and accessed areas that are in theory protected zones. Two women told Human Rights Watch that the soldiers they had sex with for money gave them official AMISOM badges to facilitate their entry to the base.

“The AU military and political leadership needs to do more to prevent, identify, and punish sexual abuse by their troops,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “As another food crisis looms in Mogadishu’s displacement camps, women and girls are once again desperate for food and medicine. They should not have to sell their bodies for their families to survive.”

AMISOM soldiers have also subjected women and girls to other abuses and exposed them to serious health risks, Human Rights Watch said. Several women described being slapped and beaten by the soldiers with whom they had sex. Others said that soldiers had refused to wear condoms, passing on sexually transmitted infections.

Some of the women interviewed said they did not report their experiences because they feared reprisals from their attackers, the authorities, and the Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab, as well as stigma and retribution from their own families. Others told Human Rights Watch they were reluctant to lose their only source of income. As a result, Human Rights Watch could not draw conclusions about the extent of the problem or official levels of involvement.

Countries providing troops to AMISOM are primarily responsible for the conduct of their forces in Somalia and have exclusive jurisdiction over their personnel for any criminal offenses. These countries have, to varying degrees, established procedures to deal with misconduct including deploying legal advisors and military investigators and, in Uganda’s case, temporarily sending a court martial to Somalia to try cases.

Yet troop-contributing countries have not provided the necessary resources to investigate allegations or made the investigation and prosecution of sexual exploitation and abuse a priority, Human Rights Watch said. Only one rape case, in which the victim was a child, is before Uganda’s military court in Kampala.

AMISOM’s leadership has taken some measures to address sexual and gender-based violence, including drafting a policy on prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse, and doing outreach. However, more should be done to ensure that these efforts provide justice for victims, Human Rights Watch said.

The AU force, along with the UN and the Somali government, should adopt measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse while creating an environment in which women can come forward and report abuses. Troop-contributing countries should reinforce their investigative and prosecutorial capacities inside Somalia. They also should ensure, along with AMISOM and the UN, that survivors receive adequate medical and psychosocial care and protection, particularly during investigations and prosecutions.

International donors, particularly the United Nations, European Union, United States, and United Kingdom should support greater independent oversight of the conduct of AU troops and civilian personnel and ensure that they are not complicit in abuses committed by AMISOM forces, Human Rights Watch said.

“The AU can no longer turn a blind eye to the abuses on AMISOM bases, as its undermining the very credibility of the mission,” Gerntholtz said. “Governments supporting AMISOM should work with the AU to end sexual abuse and exploitation of Somali women and girls by their troops, take action against forces contributing to it, and do what they can to prevent further sexual exploitation and abuse of Somali women.”

“‘The Power These Men Have Over Us’: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia” is available at:

http://hrw.org/node/128407

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Somalia, please visit:

http://www.hrw.org/africa/somalia

Sep 082014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — After two days of discussion on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines, more than 150 participants, representing the fields of research and clinical investigation, ethics, legal, regulatory, financing, and data collection, identified several therapeutic and vaccine interventions that should be the focus of priority clinical evaluation at this time.

Currently, none of these vaccines or therapies have been approved for human use to prevent or treat EVD. A number of candidate vaccines and therapies have been developed and tested in animal models and some have demonstrated promising results. In view of the urgency of these outbreaks, the international community is mobilizing to find ways to accelerate the evaluation and use of these compounds.

Safety in humans is also unknown, raising the possibility of adverse side effects when administered. Use of some of these products is demanding and requires intravenous administration and infrastructure, such as cold chain, and facilities able to offer a good and safe standard of care.

The experts determined:

• There was consensus that the use of whole blood therapies and convalescent blood serums needs to be considered as a matter of priority.

• Safety studies of the two most advanced vaccines identified – based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-EBO) and chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd-EBO) – are being initiated in the United States of America and will be started in Africa and Europe in mid-September. WHO will work with all the relevant stakeholders to accelerate their development and safe use in affected countries. If proven safe, a vaccine could be available in November 2014 for priority use in health-care workers.

• In addition to blood therapies and candidate vaccines, the participants discussed the availability and evidence supporting the use of novel therapeutic drugs, including monoclonal antibodies, RNA-based drugs, and small antiviral molecules. They also considered the potential use of existing drugs approved for other diseases and conditions. Of the novel products discussed, some have shown great promise in monkey models and have been used in a few Ebola patients (although, in too few cases to permit any conclusion about efficacy).

Existing supplies of all experimental medicines are limited. While many efforts are underway to accelerate production, supplies will not be sufficient for several months to come. The prospects of having augmented supplies of vaccines rapidly look slightly better.

The participants cautioned that investigation of these interventions should not detract attention from the implementation of effective clinical care, rigorous infection prevention and control, careful contact tracing and follow-up, effective risk communication, and social mobilization, all of which are crucial for ending these outbreaks.

The recipients of experimental interventions, location of studies, and study design, should be based on the aim to learn as much as we can as fast as we can without compromising patient care or health worker safety.

The recipients of experimental interventions, locations of studies, and study design should be based on the aim to learn as much as we can as fast as we can without compromising patient care or health worker safety, with active participation of local scientists, and proper consultation with communities.

This will require the following crucial elements:

• Appropriate protocols must be rapidly developed for informed consent and safe use.

• A mechanism for evaluating pre-clinical data should be put in place in order to recommend which interventions should be evaluated as a first priority.

• A platform must be established for transparent, real-time collection and sharing of data.

• A safety monitoring board needs to be established to evaluate the data from all interventions.

All of these will require continued ethical oversight.

Sep 062014
 

Plano, TX, September 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DreamTrips™ Vacation Club (https://www.dreamtrips.com), one of the world’s leading travel and vacation club membership organizations, was recognized as “Africa’s Leading Travel Club” for 2014 as part of the World Travel Awards (WTA)—the second WTA regional award for the travel club this year. The World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony was held at Transcorp Hilton Abuja in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, Sept. 5, with hundreds of tourism professionals in attendance.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/atc.jpg

The award acknowledges DreamTrips’ distinguished travel club excellence in the Africa (https://www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more) and Indian Ocean regions within the last year. Industry leaders from across both regions identified DreamTrips for exceptional service and product offerings. Nominees in other Africa and Indian Ocean travel categories include Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton, Marriott, Kenya Airways and Royal Air Maroc.

“We are grateful to be recognized as Africa’s best travel club a month after DreamTrips was named Europe’s Leading Travel Club,” WorldVentures Co-Founder and CEO Mike Azcue said. “Together with Rovia, our travel agency partner, the team composes unforgettable travel experiences, which include a unique product offering and exceptional customer service for our worldwide membership. This is a warm handshake from the tourism industry’s leadership.”

Since 1993, WTA has acknowledged and celebrated excellence across all sectors of the global tourism industry. Last year, DreamTrips was named “World’s Leading Travel Club” at the 2013 WTA Grand Finals. The Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony is the fourth stop on the annual Grand Tour which visited Dubai, Greece and Ecuador earlier this year, and will include stops in India and Anguilla before arriving in Morocco for the Grand Finals in November.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of DreamTrips™ Vacation Club.

For inquiries, contact:

Laura Wards

Email: press@worldventures.com

About DreamTrips

DreamTrips (http://www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more ) delivers high-quality, one-of-a-kind curated travel and vacation experiences to its vacation club members. More information can be found at

www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more.

About World Travel Awards

The World Travel Awards (http://www.worldtravelawards.com) was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 21st anniversary, it is regarded as the highest achievement a travel product or service could hope to receive. More information can be found at http://www.worldtravelawards.com.