Book of African Records presented to AU Commission Chairperson

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The Editor-in-Chief of the Book of African Records (BAR), Amb. Kwame Tapiwa Muzawazi, on Tuesday 14 June 2016, presented an unprecedented publication entitled, “The Book of African Records” to the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson. H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in which she is on record as first Woman to lead the continental organization, since its creation in 1963 as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and now the AU.

The book was presented during an audience the AUC Chairperson granted to the Zimbabwean born Editor-in-Chief, Amb. Kwame at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the presence of representatives from the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Addis Ababa, the AUC Deputy Chief of Staff, Amb. Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, and other officials of the AU Commission.

The publication, which showcases and chronicles the great deeds of the African people from time immemorial, was welcomed by Dr. Dlamini Zuma. She commended the initiative, noting that it falls in line with one of the flagship projects under Agenda 2063 aimed at educating the African people on the great treasures found in the cultural diversity within the continent.

“This historic publication is a wonderful piece of intellect, education, reference and inspiration” noted the AUC Chairperson. She congratulated the author and his team for coming up with this pan-African initiative which is in sync with Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The AUC Chairperson expressed appreciation for the production of such publication which she said will provoke competition amongst countries with the view to contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent. She requested that the book be distributed throughout the continent and to the African Heads of State for people witness the great things African youths are capable of doing in helping to advance the development agenda of Africa.

The book was already presented to President Mugabe on 5 May 2016 who is also featured in the publication as “One of the 10 greatest African political leaders of all time”.

In an interview with the Ethiopian based radio AFRO 105.3 FM after the presentation Amb. Muzawazi said “The publication comes at a timely moment for Africa when the need for new information and educational content that is relevant to our post-colonial aspirations is urgently needed. For example our book incontrovertibly documents that the first global traveler the world saw was Ibn Battuta of African origin, not Christopher Columbus. In fact, Columbus bought a copy of Battuta’s memoirs to learn how to navigate the world. It’s therefore atrocious that our kids in educational institutions are being taught to sing that Columbus was a great manand nothing is said about the historical traveler of African origin.”

According to the author of the African Book of Records, just like the “Guinness Book of Records”, this publication will be a good example of Africans telling their own story while popularizing the vision of the African Union through the African narratives.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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UK provides additional humanitarian support for Burundian refugees in Tanzania

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The UK is providing an additional £15.0 million to help meet the urgent needs of Burundian refugees arriving in western Tanzania. This brings the total UK support to the current refugee influx to £29.25 million (c TZS 90 billion) since June 2015. The UK previously provided £14.25 million for food, medical care and clean water to help the growing number of Burundians who have fled their country since April 2015 to seek safety in Tanzania.

The new funds will help provide food, water, social services and education for the refugees as well providing additional support to the Tanzanian communities that are hosting them.

This additional support from the UK comes as the number of Burundian refugees in Tanzania has now reached 143,000. That is over half of the 267,000 Burdundian refugees in the region, with up to 100 continuing to arrive daily. Aid agencies are struggling to meet their needs. The 2016 UN Refugee Response Appeal for Tanzania is only 39% funded.

The UK’s additional £5.00 million package will help up to 143,000 people by providing:

£5 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to help provide health care, social services and education for refugees and address some of the environmental pressures that the camps are placing on local communities;

£4million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help provide essential food supplies to the refugees;

£1.5 million to OXFAM to improve water and sanitation and support host communities;

Up to £2m to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to enable it to support the management of refugee camps and to build classrooms for some of the 80,000 Burundian children now living in the camps;

£2.5 in contingency funding in the event of a rapid change in circumstances.

Announcing the support, the Head of the Tanzanian office of the UK’s International Development Vel Gnanendran said:

“Today marks World Refugee Day and Tanzania continues to be an example to the world in opening its doors to those who are fleeing persecution. Since the start of the crisis in Burundi in April 2015, over 143,000 Burundians have sought refuge here. Tanzania has welcomed them. The international community must play its part as well. That is why the UK is today providing an additional £15m to help ensure that these refugees, especially women and children, are given the security, dignity and basic services, such as food and water, that are essential for their lives. And we must also recognise the Tanzanian communities that are so kindly hosting these refugees. That is why some of this new funding will also support them.”

Burundi was plunged into a political crisis when President Nkurunzinza decided to run for a third term. His subsequent election has led to violent unrest and increasing economic difficulties, causing thousands of Burundians to flee to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Since April 2015, 267,000 Burundians have fled the country, the majority coming to Tanzania where they are being hosted in three camps: Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli. Ensuring that the basic needs of these refugees continue to be met is therefore critical. So too is supporting the Tanzanian host communities so they are able to see benefits from the camps.

Total UK support across the Region for the Burundian Refugee Crisis is now £36.15 million (c.$ 50 million).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Dar es Salaam.

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June 22 Briefing with Gabonese Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Africa.

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EVENT:

Please join us on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at 1300 GMT for a telephonic press conference with Gabonese Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Africa and co-director of Exercise Central Accord 2016. The speakers will discuss partnership opportunities between U.S. and African militaries, security building and countering violent extremism across the African continent.

BACKGROUND:

Central Accord 2016 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. The end goal of Central Accord 16 is to increase interoperability and build capacity, while cementing partnerships in the region built from previous exercises. The U.S. military, in partnership with the Gabonese Armed Forces, the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC), and other partner nations are conducting Central Accord 2016, a command post and field training exercise, in Libreville, Gabon, June 10-24.

Central Accord, formerly known as Atlas Drop and then Atlas Accord, was initiated in 1996 as a U.S. European Command-sponsored exercise, designed to further cross-training and interoperability between participating nation militaries in company-level airborne operations as well as platoon-level live-fire exercises. In 2009, the exercise transitioned to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The exercise employs a scenario that replicates the operational environment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and is principally focused on staff and troop contributing countries scheduled to support this mission.

The purpose of the exercise is to increase African regional security capabilities to conduct peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic (CAR), respond to natural disaster scenario and enhance military relationships and the ability of U.S. forces to operate in austere environments with potential coalition partners.

DETAILS:

Speakers: Gabonese Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and director of Exercise Central Accord 2016.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Africa and co-director of Exercise Central Accord 2016.

Date: June 22, 2016
Time: 13:00 GMT

* Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English. French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: On the record

Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP

RSVP: RSVP to [email protected] Please indicate if you will dial in (specify

English/French/Portuguese line), or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used).

Twitter: We will use the hashtags #CentralAccord and #AfricanHorizons for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub and @USArmyAfrica.

LOGISTICS:

Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early.
When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location. When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy’s name and location.
The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers. Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE: You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion. We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed. Journalists can also submit questions in English to [email protected] prior to or during the call.

BIO:

[Gal OLAME Gaspard] Brigadier General Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gabonese Armed Forces

Gabonese Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard is the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Gabonese Armed Forces. He joined the army in 1978 and attended the following military schools: Officer Cadet at Bouake, Ivory Coast in 1978; Infantry Officer Basic Course and Infantry Officer Advance Course at Fort Benning, Georgia; Airborne-Pathfinder qualified, 1980 and 1988; American Language studies at the US Defense Language Institute, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas; Intelligence Course, first and second degree, in Pretoria, South Africa; Law of armed conflict in San Remo, Italy; Staff College in Kenitra, Morocco; War College in Paris, France; Civil-Military Strategy for Internal Development at the Joint Special Operations University, USAF Special Operation School, Hurlburt Field, Florida in 2005; Conducting Military and Peacekeeping Operations, the rule of law.

Brig. Gen. Olame previously served as a light infantry platoon commander, instructor at the army training school, airborne company commander, chief of operations and training in the army headquarters, director of operations and training in the joint force headquarters, Army 6th and 7th South Region Commander, deputy chief of staff of the army, Prime Minister military counselor, Deputy of Military Governor.

He previously served in three missions to the Central African Republic as the Gabonese Contingent Commander, in United Nations Peacekeeping Mission (1998), Gabonese Contingent Commander, in CEMAC Peacekeeping Mission (2006), and Gabonese Contingent Commander, and Battalion Commander Counsellor in charge of communication, in ECCAS Peacekeeping Mission.

Brig. Gen. Olame has been awarded civilian and military medals from Gabon in addition to the United Nation Mission medal in the Central Africa Republic, CEMAC mission medal in the Central Africa Republic, and the ECCAS mission medal in the Central Africa Republic.

Brigadier General Kenneth H. Moore, Jr., Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Africa

Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Jr. is the Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Africa and Commander of its Army Reserve Engagement Cell. He was commissioned as an infantry officer in the Army Reserve in 1983. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Civil Affairs Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff Staff College,the United States Army War Collegeand the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education. He has over 26 years of active federal service as an Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) Officer serving in various command and staff positions from 1987-2013.

Brig. Gen. Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Tech, a Masters in Public Administration (cum laude) from Kutztown University, and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

Brig. Gen. Moore is a Master Parachutist and has earned the Expert Infantryman Badge. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (1 Bronze Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (Gold Hourglass), the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (Numeral 4); and German, Canadian, Greek, and Irish foreign parachutist badges.

He was previously the Director, Civil Affairs Branch, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 2011-2013 and commanded the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from 2009-2011. Aditionally, Brig. Gen. Moore served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, Force Development, United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 2007-2009, Civil Affairs Assessment Officer, United States Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida from 2005-2007, Psychological Operations Plans Officer, Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE), Special Operations Command, Central Command, Camp Victory, Iraq (Jul-Oct 06), Chief, Reserve Component Force Management Division, United States Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 2003-2005, CA/PSYOP Plans Officer,United States Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 2001-2003, and European Command Operations Branch Chief, United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 1999-2001.

Brig. Gen. Moore is a Master Parachutist and has earned the Expert Infantryman Badge. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (1 Silver Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (1 Bronze Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (Gold Hourglass), the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (Numeral 4); and German, Canadian, Greek, and Irish foreign parachutist badges.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Source:: June 22 Briefing with Gabonese Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Olame Ndong Ferdinand Gaspard, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Africa.

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Public Seminar on ‘Women’s Empowerment and Development: The Eritrean Experience’

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INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What: Public Seminar on ‘Women’s Empowerment and Development:

The Eritrean Experience’

Who: African Union Commission (AUC), Permanent Mission of the State of Eritrea to the African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa

When: 20 June 2016 from 10:00-12:00noon

Where: New Building, Small Conference Room 2 AUC Headquarters

Expected Outcomes:

The Seminar is expected to:

Create better understanding of the progress Eritrea has achieved in promoting gender equality, the empowerment of women and socio-economic development.
Contribute to the popularization and implementation of the AU theme of the year, and the Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

Participants:

Representatives of Embassies and Regional and International Organizations accredited to the African Union,
AUC and UNECA officials and staff,
Representatives of research institutions,
Civil Society Organizations, and
Journalists

Background: The Assembly of the African Union declared 2016 as the ‘African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.’ The empowerment of women is also among the priorities of the Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063. In this context, Member States, the AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other Organs of the Union are undertaking various activities to highlight this important theme.

In a bid to contribute to the success of the AU theme of the year, the Permanent Mission of Eritrea in collaboration of the AUC has taken the initiative to organize a seminar to share Eritrea’s experience in regard to the policies adopted and the actions taken to improve the livelihood of women, women’s empowerment and promote gender equality.

Since the days of the armed struggle for independence, the enhancement of the role of Eritrean women in all aspects of life, and guaranteeing their equality has been a top national priority. Women empowerment remains at the center of Eritrea’s development strategy which is firmly anchored in social-justice, self-reliance, and popular participation and ownership.

Journalists are invited to cover the Seminar on the Monday 20th June 2016, at the AUC New Complex, Conference Room 2.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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IMF Staff Starts Discussions with the Beninese Authorities on a Possible Program

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At the request of the government of Benin, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Christine Dieterich, Mission Chief for Benin, visited Cotonou from June 6 to 18, to start discussions with the authorities on a possible three-year economic program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.[1]

Ms. Dieterich issued the following statement at the end of the mission:

“The government found a difficult macroeconomic and treasury situation upon assuming office in April 2016. In particular, while fiscal policy was generally sound in earlier years, the fiscal deficit increased to around 8.5 percent of GDP in 2015, with continued spending overruns in the first quarter of 2016. This widening of the fiscal deficit was financed by large bond issuances in the regional financial market, adding significantly to future debt service. Worse, during the last quarter of 2015 and first of 2016, contracts were signed for off-budget projects close to 24 percent of GDP. These loans are expensive and have short maturities. Due to incorrect classification of these arrangements as Private Public Partnerships (PPP), standard procurement procedures were circumvented, raising severe concerns about their governance and quality.

“Despite this expansionary fiscal policy, 2015 growth is estimated to have decelerated to around 5 percent, as the slowdown in Nigeria – Benin’s main trading partner – kicked in. For 2016, with Nigerian growth decreasing further, Benin’s growth is expected to be in the range of 4.5 to 5 percent. Furthermore, poverty has worsened since 2011 compared to the household survey of 2015. Inflation has remained subdued despite a recent rise on account of higher food and fuel prices.

“The government is determined to reverse the deterioration in the fiscal deficit and debt. The 2016 budget supplement is a decisive step towards bringing the fiscal situation back under control. While welcoming this impressive budgetary correction, the team cautioned that careful cash management and commitment control will be required for the rest of the year in order to successfully implement it.

“The government was able to suspend the majority (20 percent of GDP) of the in-transparent off-budget projects, as their implementation had not yet started. An evaluation of these projects and their financing is under way, as this level of additional short-term debt would severely derail fiscal sustainability, and put at risk macroeconomic stability over the next years.

“Looking ahead, the government is in the process of preparing a detailed medium-term investment plan. In view of the debt-service burden and vulnerabilities in the economy, in particular, a narrow and volatile export base, the challenge will be to find the right balance between preserving debt sustainability, and addressing investment needs aimed at removing growth bottlenecks.

“Being well aware of this challenge, the government initiated reforms to improve governance and the regulatory framework, in particular for energy, to facilitate private sector investment. This will not only reduce the investment burden on the budget, but also facilitate the private-sector led growth necessary to create employment for Benin’s young and growing population. These efforts include reforms to improve the government’s spending efficiency, in particular, by addressing severe weaknesses in audit, and to mobilize additional revenues. In addition, developing the appropriate regulatory framework for PPP will be necessary to safeguard against future risks for the budget. The government has also started welcome attempts to improve the governance of state-owned enterprises, in support of an ambitious privatization agenda.

“The team met with the President of the Republic, Minister of State, Secretary General in the Presidency, Minister of State charged with Planning and Development, Minister of Economy and Finance, National Director of the BCEAO, and other government and central bank officials, as well as representatives from the financial sector, and international development partners.

“The team wishes to thank the authorities, as well as all other interlocutors, for their hospitality, the excellent collaboration, and the high-quality discussions. A second mission is planned for late summer, with the objective of completing negotiations on an ECF program supported by the IMF.”

[1] The ECF is a concessional lending instrument for low-income countries with a three-year government economic program agreed with the IMF.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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IMF Staff Starts Discussions with the Beninese Authorities on a Possible Program

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At the request of the government of Benin, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Christine Dieterich, Mission Chief for Benin, visited Cotonou from June 6 to 18, to start discussions with the authorities on a possible three-year economic program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.[1]

Ms. Dieterich issued the following statement at the end of the mission:

“The government found a difficult macroeconomic and treasury situation upon assuming office in April 2016. In particular, while fiscal policy was generally sound in earlier years, the fiscal deficit increased to around 8.5 percent of GDP in 2015, with continued spending overruns in the first quarter of 2016. This widening of the fiscal deficit was financed by large bond issuances in the regional financial market, adding significantly to future debt service. Worse, during the last quarter of 2015 and first of 2016, contracts were signed for off-budget projects close to 24 percent of GDP. These loans are expensive and have short maturities. Due to incorrect classification of these arrangements as Private Public Partnerships (PPP), standard procurement procedures were circumvented, raising severe concerns about their governance and quality.

“Despite this expansionary fiscal policy, 2015 growth is estimated to have decelerated to around 5 percent, as the slowdown in Nigeria – Benin’s main trading partner – kicked in. For 2016, with Nigerian growth decreasing further, Benin’s growth is expected to be in the range of 4.5 to 5 percent. Furthermore, poverty has worsened since 2011 compared to the household survey of 2015. Inflation has remained subdued despite a recent rise on account of higher food and fuel prices.

“The government is determined to reverse the deterioration in the fiscal deficit and debt. The 2016 budget supplement is a decisive step towards bringing the fiscal situation back under control. While welcoming this impressive budgetary correction, the team cautioned that careful cash management and commitment control will be required for the rest of the year in order to successfully implement it.

“The government was able to suspend the majority (20 percent of GDP) of the in-transparent off-budget projects, as their implementation had not yet started. An evaluation of these projects and their financing is under way, as this level of additional short-term debt would severely derail fiscal sustainability, and put at risk macroeconomic stability over the next years.

“Looking ahead, the government is in the process of preparing a detailed medium-term investment plan. In view of the debt-service burden and vulnerabilities in the economy, in particular, a narrow and volatile export base, the challenge will be to find the right balance between preserving debt sustainability, and addressing investment needs aimed at removing growth bottlenecks.

“Being well aware of this challenge, the government initiated reforms to improve governance and the regulatory framework, in particular for energy, to facilitate private sector investment. This will not only reduce the investment burden on the budget, but also facilitate the private-sector led growth necessary to create employment for Benin’s young and growing population. These efforts include reforms to improve the government’s spending efficiency, in particular, by addressing severe weaknesses in audit, and to mobilize additional revenues. In addition, developing the appropriate regulatory framework for PPP will be necessary to safeguard against future risks for the budget. The government has also started welcome attempts to improve the governance of state-owned enterprises, in support of an ambitious privatization agenda.

“The team met with the President of the Republic, Minister of State, Secretary General in the Presidency, Minister of State charged with Planning and Development, Minister of Economy and Finance, National Director of the BCEAO, and other government and central bank officials, as well as representatives from the financial sector, and international development partners.

“The team wishes to thank the authorities, as well as all other interlocutors, for their hospitality, the excellent collaboration, and the high-quality discussions. A second mission is planned for late summer, with the objective of completing negotiations on an ECF program supported by the IMF.”

[1] The ECF is a concessional lending instrument for low-income countries with a three-year government economic program agreed with the IMF.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Burundi: UN experts call for concrete steps to end crisis

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At the end of their second visit to Burundi, the three human rights experts of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) called for concrete steps to be taken to end the crisis in the country.

“One of the most significant developments since the beginning of the year has been the significant drop in the number of executions. This is extremely welcome and we reiterate our call on all parties to stop the use of violence as a political tool, “ said Christof Heyns, one of the three experts and the Head of UNIIB.

“However this relative calm should not be confused with long term stability. Serious human rights concerns remain and there are no signs that disappearances and torture have subsided,” said Pablo de Greiff. “Impunity for serious present and past violations remains the order of the day.”

The experts also noted that many political prisoners remain in jail and that a new pattern of mass arrests has emerged recently, mostly affecting ordinary people, including children. “In various parts of the country, school children have been arrested or suspended from school because their books had scribbles on pictures of the Head of State. Some of them face the prospect of spending five to 10 years in jail. We will continue to closely follow these cases, including the actions taken by the National Human Rights Commission on them,” said Heyns.

“It has been particularly disconcerting to see the state of disarray of civil society in Burundi, and the continuously shrinking space for what remains of it. Many NGOs remain suspended and those that continue to function operate in a climate of fear and intimidation. I was particularly struck by the fact that some of the NGO representatives we met during our last visit in March have fled or are now too scared to talk to us,” said Maya Sahli-Fadel.

“For Burundi to move away from violence and conflict, it needs a truly inclusive political dialogue that will address the roots of the political crisis. The talks which recently started in Arusha and Brussels are a positive step forward but should be broadened to ensure that all actors of the crisis are included,” said Heyns. “Real progress in power sharing will be crucial to achieving sustainable peace.”

“These are preliminary observations, and we look forward to working further with Burundian authorities and society to take the protection of human rights forward,” he added.

During their mission, the experts met with national authorities and other political actors, members of civil society, victims of human rights violations, as well as with humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, and international and regional partners operating in Burundi. They also visited the Mpimba prison in Bujumbura.

The UNIIB is composed of Mr. Christof Heyns (South Africa), the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Ms. Maya Sahli-Fadel (Algeria), the African Union Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons; and Mr. Pablo de Greiff (Colombia), the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence.

The Independent Investigation recently deployed human rights monitors to Burundi, with the aim of helping the three human rights experts gather information on human rights violations and abuses committed in the country since April 2015. They are scheduled to submit their final report to the Human Rights Council in September 2016.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2016 Article IV Consultation with São Tomé and Príncipe

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On June 10, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2016 Article IV consultation[1] with the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe.

São Tomé and Príncipe’s economy has been resilient even after prospects for commercial oil production, which dominated the political and economic narrative until end-2013, became uncertain with the withdrawal of a large oil company from exploration in the Joint Development Zone shared with Nigeria. São Tomé and Príncipe’s economic performance has been positive, despite a slowdown in growth in 2015. Real GDP in 2015 is estimated to have fallen below the projected 5 percent by almost 1 percentage point, driven by poor rains affecting crop yields, particularly, cocoa production and delayed implementation of public investment projects. Inflation fell below the projected 5 percent, aided by weakened demand and falling international prices of oil and other commodities.

The medium-term outlook is favorable but challenges remain. GDP is projected to grow by 5 percent in 2016—below the authorities’ medium-term sustained target of 6 percent needed to significantly impact poverty—aided by higher public investments, a recovery in cocoa production, and increased foreign direct investment in the tourism sector. The authorities are however, facing macro-financial challenges. Elevated bank lending risks and potential contingent claims on the budget, in an environment marked by rising nonperforming loans (NPLs) and highly indebted households and businesses, will continue to hold private sector credit expansion and the prospects for higher growth. Inflation is expected to remain around 4 percent in 2016, and further stabilize around 3 percent over the medium term, on the back of falling international prices of food and petroleum products. The current account deficit is set to contract further in line with weaker-than-estimated demand and lower-than-expected commodity prices.

Executive Board Assessment[2]

Executive Directors welcomed São Tomé and Príncipe’s progress toward greater macroeconomic stability, marked by sustained growth, declining inflation, and stable international reserves, even after prospects for commercial oil production became uncertain. Directors noted, however, that while some progress has been made, challenges remain and poverty is still high. Against this backdrop, they called for further efforts to enhance the economy’s resilience by strengthening the financial sector, maintaining fiscal discipline, and implementing reforms to support sustainable and inclusive growth.

Directors supported the authorities’ commitment to sustain the fiscal consolidation in order to bring debt toward a moderate risk of debt distress. In this regard, they stressed the importance of boosting tax revenue collection, clearing arrears, strengthening expenditure monitoring and control, and gradually scaling up the infrastructure program, which should be backed by enhanced investment management capacity. Directors also called for strengthening debt management capacity and for continued reliance on grants and concessional financing to mitigate the high risk of debt distress.

Directors stressed that maintaining financial stability is crucial. In this regard, they welcomed the authorities’ decision to develop a strategy to address the large stock of non-performing loans and, where necessary, review provisioning practices and minimum capital requirements to ensure that banks are well capitalized. Directors also encouraged the introduction of a contingency plan to deal with potential fiscal risks. In addition, they called on the authorities to conduct a detailed asset quality review to reduce the uncertainty surrounding the quality of banks’ assets and to work with commercial banks to increase the banking system’s efficiency, profitability, and resilience.

Directors noted the authorities’ commitment to the pegged exchange rate regime and the current level of the peg, which has served the country well as an effective anchor for inflation in the context of a prudent fiscal stance and an adequate level of international reserves. At the same time, they recognized the need to ensure external competitiveness through continued tight demand management and structural reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s physical infrastructure, improving the business climate, promoting diversification, raising productivity, and boosting private investment.

São Tomé and Príncipe: Selected Economic Indicators, 2014–19

(Annual change in percent, unless otherwise indicated)

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

EBS/15/71

EBS/15/71

EBS/15/71

EBS/15/71

Actual

Program

Est.

Program

Proj.

Program

Proj.

Program

Proj.

Proj.

National income and prices

GDP at constant prices

4.5

5.0

4.0

5.2

5.0

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

Consumer prices

End of period

6.4

5.2

4.0

4.0

4.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

Period average

7.0

5.8

5.3

4.6

3.9

3.5

3.5

3.0

3.0

3.0

External trade

Exports of goods and nonfactor services

64.3

5.8

-9.2

8.5

9.2

6.9

7.2

6.9

6.5

8.2

Imports of goods and nonfactor services

28.6

-8.3

-17.4

15.5

11.8

9.1

7.0

8.5

5.8

2.9

Exchange rate (dobras per US$; end of period) 1

20,148

22,424

Real effective exchange rate (depreciation = -)

7.0

0.8

Money and credit

Base money

23.2

14.6

37.5

11.1

10.4

7.1

6.3

8.0

7.2

9.7

Broad money (M3)

16.8

15.1

13.1

11.4

11.6

6.6

6.3

7.5

7.2

7.9

Credit to the economy

-1.0

-0.7

3.8

1.6

7.0

3.4

4.8

5.3

5.2

7.5

Velocity (GDP to broad money; end of period)

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.4

2.5

2.4

2.5

2.4

2.5

2.5

Central bank reference interest rate (percent)

12.0

10.0

Average bank lending rate (percent)

23.2

23.3

Average bank deposit rate (percent)

8.9

6.9

Government finance (figures in percent of GDP)

Total revenue, grants, and oil signature bonuses

25.9

31.8

28.0

33.9

35.1

34.9

33.4

35.6

33.7

33.5

Of which: tax revenue

14.1

15.0

14.3

15.5

14.9

16.0

15.4

16.5

15.9

16.5

Nontax revenue

1.5

1.7

1.5

1.7

2.2

1.7

1.3

1.7

1.3

1.3

Grants

10.3

15.1

11.4

16.6

17.3

17.1

16.6

17.3

16.4

15.6

Oil signature bonuses

0.0

0.0

0.8

0.0

0.7

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total expenditure and net lending

31.4

40.6

34.2

36.2

44.1

36.9

37.3

35.9

36.2

33.9

Personnel costs

9.1

8.8

8.9

8.7

8.6

8.6

8.5

8.5

8.4

8.4

Interest due

0.7

0.4

0.8

0.4

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

Nonwage noninterest current expenditure

8.7

8.7

8.5

8.7

8.1

8.4

7.9

8.2

7.6

7.6

Treasury funded capital expenditures

0.9

0.9

0.7

1.0

0.7

1.9

1.6

2.5

2.2

2.5

Donor funded capital expenditures

11.8

20.8

14.7

16.6

20.2

16.6

17.9

15.5

16.7

14.0

HIPC Initiative-related social expenditure

0.2

1.0

0.6

0.9

0.9

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.5

0.7

Domestic primary balance 2

-3.3

-2.7

-3.0

-2.0

-2.0

-1.8

-1.8

-1.5

-1.5

-1.4

Overall balance (commitment basis)

-5.5

-8.8

-6.3

-2.3

-9.0

-2.0

-3.8

-0.4

-2.5

-0.4

External sector

Current account balance (percent of GDP)

Including official transfers

-21.9

-12.4

-16.7

-15.2

-12.2

-16.4

-12.7

-17.0

-12.6

-10.5

Excluding official transfers

-32.6

-28.5

-28.2

-32.7

-29.5

-34.3

-29.7

-35.1

-29.3

-26.4

PV of external debt (percent of GDP)

30.1

32.5

39.7

32.5

36.2

32.0

38.3

31.7

39.4

37.9

External debt service (percent of exports) 3

3.7

4.8

4.3

4.2

4.8

3.9

4.3

3.7

4.0

3.8

Export of goods and non-factor services (US$ millions)

88.5

93.5

80.4

101.5

87.7

108.4

94.1

115.9

100.2

108.5

Gross international reserves 4

Millions of U.S. dollars

56.5

66.9

61.0

80.5

72.8

97.7

75.9

102.7

82.4

87.6

Months of imports of goods and nonfactor services 5

4.2

4.0

4.4

4.5

5.0

5.1

5.0

5.1

5.1

5.0

National Oil Account (US$ millions)

9.9

8.0

10.3

6.5

11.5

5.3

9.3

4.3

7.6

6.2

Memorandum Item

GDP

Billions of dobras

6,242

7,171

7,028

7,790

7,847

8,251

8,287

8,820

8,839

9,533

Millions of U.S. dollars

338.0

325.6

318.2

356.3

349.2

381.8

371.2

412.9

396.0

428.8

Sources: São Tomé and Príncipe authorities’ data and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1Central Bank (BCSTP) mid-point rate.

2 Excludes oil related revenues, grants, interest earned, scheduled interest payments, and foreign-financed capital outlay.

3 Percent of exports of goods and nonfactor services.

4 Gross international reserves exclude the National Oil Account and commercial banks’ foreign currency deposits at the BCSTP in order to meet reserve requirements and foreign currency deposits of commercial banks used application deposits for new licensing or for meeting capital requirements.

5 Imports of goods and nonfactor services excluding imports of investment goods and technical assistance.


[1] Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.

[2] At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Humanitarian Coordinator strongly condemns mounting violence against civilians in Ngaoundaye, north-west Central African Republic

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The Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Dr. Michel Yao, and the entire humanitarian community in the Central African Republic (CAR), condemns a recent upsurge in violence against the civilian population in Ngaoundaye, Ouham-Pende Prefecture. Dr. Yao calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, to protect civilians and ensure that they can relocate safely from insecure areas.

The eruption of violence in Ngaoundaye has killed and injured several people since 15 June. Many houses have been burned and property looted. The renewed clashes have forced thousands of people to flee towards other villages in the country and to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

“I strongly condemn the attacks causing deaths and injuries among the civilians and remind all parties involved that indiscriminate or deliberately attacks against civilians is a war crime. Civilians must be respected and should not be targeted,” said Dr. Yao.

This new spiral of violence will likely cause additional humanitarian needs in CAR while the increasing insecurity is rendering the work of humanitarian actors even more challenging. Despite the rising challenges, humanitarian workers are committed to deliver live-saving assistance to all those in need.

Humanitarian access in CAR continues to be impeded by persistent insecurity and violent attacks. In May 2016, 49 access incidents were reported and one in four represented violence against aid workers. The number of reported access incidents in April were 41. The increase of violent incidents against humanitarian organizations led to the suspension of some relief activities in various parts of the country.

“It is urgent that international laws and conventions are respected and that all parties take immediate action and responsibility to respect the humanitarian space and secure the rights of the civilian population in CAR. We need to end all this unacceptable suffering,” Dr. Yao added.

Until the recent violence, CAR had an estimated 415,000 internally displaced persons while almost 467,000 had fled to neighbouring countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Humanitarian Coordinator strongly condemns mounting violence against civilians in Ngaoundaye, north-west Central African Republic

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The Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Dr. Michel Yao, and the entire humanitarian community in the Central African Republic (CAR), condemns a recent upsurge in violence against the civilian population in Ngaoundaye, Ouham-Pende Prefecture. Dr. Yao calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, to protect civilians and ensure that they can relocate safely from insecure areas.

The eruption of violence in Ngaoundaye has killed and injured several people since 15 June. Many houses have been burned and property looted. The renewed clashes have forced thousands of people to flee towards other villages in the country and to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

“I strongly condemn the attacks causing deaths and injuries among the civilians and remind all parties involved that indiscriminate or deliberately attacks against civilians is a war crime. Civilians must be respected and should not be targeted,” said Dr. Yao.

This new spiral of violence will likely cause additional humanitarian needs in CAR while the increasing insecurity is rendering the work of humanitarian actors even more challenging. Despite the rising challenges, humanitarian workers are committed to deliver live-saving assistance to all those in need.

Humanitarian access in CAR continues to be impeded by persistent insecurity and violent attacks. In May 2016, 49 access incidents were reported and one in four represented violence against aid workers. The number of reported access incidents in April were 41. The increase of violent incidents against humanitarian organizations led to the suspension of some relief activities in various parts of the country.

“It is urgent that international laws and conventions are respected and that all parties take immediate action and responsibility to respect the humanitarian space and secure the rights of the civilian population in CAR. We need to end all this unacceptable suffering,” Dr. Yao added.

Until the recent violence, CAR had an estimated 415,000 internally displaced persons while almost 467,000 had fled to neighbouring countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Source:: Humanitarian Coordinator strongly condemns mounting violence against civilians in Ngaoundaye, north-west Central African Republic

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Humanitarian Coordinator strongly condemns mounting violence against civilians in Ngaoundaye, north-west Central African Republic

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The Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Dr. Michel Yao, and the entire humanitarian community in the Central African Republic (CAR), condemns a recent upsurge in violence against the civilian population in Ngaoundaye, Ouham-Pende Prefecture. Dr. Yao calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, to protect civilians and ensure that they can relocate safely from insecure areas.

The eruption of violence in Ngaoundaye has killed and injured several people since 15 June. Many houses have been burned and property looted. The renewed clashes have forced thousands of people to flee towards other villages in the country and to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

“I strongly condemn the attacks causing deaths and injuries among the civilians and remind all parties involved that indiscriminate or deliberately attacks against civilians is a war crime. Civilians must be respected and should not be targeted,” said Dr. Yao.

This new spiral of violence will likely cause additional humanitarian needs in CAR while the increasing insecurity is rendering the work of humanitarian actors even more challenging. Despite the rising challenges, humanitarian workers are committed to deliver live-saving assistance to all those in need.

Humanitarian access in CAR continues to be impeded by persistent insecurity and violent attacks. In May 2016, 49 access incidents were reported and one in four represented violence against aid workers. The number of reported access incidents in April were 41. The increase of violent incidents against humanitarian organizations led to the suspension of some relief activities in various parts of the country.

“It is urgent that international laws and conventions are respected and that all parties take immediate action and responsibility to respect the humanitarian space and secure the rights of the civilian population in CAR. We need to end all this unacceptable suffering,” Dr. Yao added.

Until the recent violence, CAR had an estimated 415,000 internally displaced persons while almost 467,000 had fled to neighbouring countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Ghana’s Mandela Washington Fellows Depart for the United States

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Selected from nearly 2,000 applicants from throughout the country, 41 young leaders will represent Ghana in the United States over the next six weeks. The high-achieving cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows includes entrepreneurs, public servants and civil society members.

We congratulate Ghana’s 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows:

Marigold Adu

Opoku Afriyie-Asante

Ahmed Amuquandoh

Maame Ankoh

Kwasi Anomah-Kordieh

Bathemel Appiah

Jeffrey Arhin

Benedict Arkhurst

Adjo Asare

Lamise Atinga

Nicholine Azirh

Yaganoma Baatuolkuu

Laud Anthony Basing

Nana Boakye-Yiadom

Hilda Boye

Emmanuel Kofi Danso

Frederick Danso

Doris Darkwah

Susana Dartey

Portia Dery

Nana Adjoa Entsuah

Solomon Faakye

Josephine Godwyll

Nana Akosua Hanson

Isaac Korang

Henry Kyeremeh

Diana Mensah

Mutaru Mumuni

Jamal Musah

Abdul Hameed Mustapha

Marco Nyarko

Mary Nyarko

Bernard Oduro Takyi

Stephen Ofori

Frank Osei

Akosua Osei-Appaw

Lincoln Peedah

Ramatu Safiano Baba

Florence Toffa

Elorm Rita Tsali

Mary Watson

The Fellows represent all ten regions of Ghana. Their biographies are available on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page at: http://facebook.com/USEmbassyGhana.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which was launched in 2010. A total of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows from sub-Saharan African countries will spend the next six weeks in the United States. Forty different American universities will host groups of 25 Fellows for intensive academic coursework and leadership training.

Three of Ghana’s Fellows will join a newly created energy-focused institute at the University of California, Davis. The institute will provide Fellows with core leadership skills, legal and policy reform solutions, and best practices for addressing the energy challenges facing African nations.

On August 1-3, all 1,000 Fellows will assemble in Washington, D.C., for a Presidential Summit convened by President Obama. Upon their return to Ghana in August 2016, the Fellows will continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from the U.S. Embassy, the YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa, the YALI Network, and customized programming from the U.S. Agency for International Development and affiliated partners.

The Young African Leaders Initiative is a key part of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa. His administration created this initiative out of the recognition that young Africans are playing a critical and increasing role in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

ADDITION INFORMATION

For more information on the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, go to https://yali.state.gov/washington-fellowship

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.

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