Cuba’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Visits South Africa

H.E. Marcelino Medina, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, will be visiting South Africa from 20 to 25 May 2016. He will lead Cuba’s delegation to the 13th session of the Cuba-South Africa Joint Consultative Mechanism to be held on Monday 23 May at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, hosted by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Luwellyn Landers, who he will join in celebrating 20 years of bilateral inter-governmental cooperation between the two countries. As part of his visit, Deputy Minister Medina will visit Limpopo, where he will be welcomed by Premier Stan Mathabatha and members of the provincial authority. He will also have the opportunity to meet with the Cuban professionals delivering services in that province as part of Cuba-South Africa bilateral cooperation program.

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 May 1994 and, since 1996, have engaged in a bilateral cooperation program which began with the arrival of the first group of Cuban health professionals to contribute to South Africa’s commitment in the delivery of comprehensive and accessible health services.

Cuba has a long history of cooperation and solidarity with South Africa that dates back to the early 1960s, when a first group of young South Africans arrived in Cuba in 1962 to receive professional training in medicine and other sciences.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of Cuba in South Africa.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Cuba’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Visits South Africa

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2016 Article IV Consultation with Algeria

On May 16, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Algeria, and considered and endorsed the staff appraisal without a meeting.2

The economic outlook has deteriorated since the 2014 Article IV consultation, with the fall in oil prices increasing the urgency to reshape Algeria’s growth model. The impact of the oil price shock on growth has been limited thus far, but the fiscal and external balances have deteriorated significantly.

In 2015, real GDP grew by 3.9 percent and inflation increased to 4.8 percent. The fiscal deficit doubled to 16 percent of GDP as a result of the decrease in hydrocarbon revenues, and the fall in hydrocarbon exports by nearly half caused the current account deficit to widen sharply. Reserves, while still substantial, declined by US$35 billion to US$143 billion, down from a peak of US$192 billion in 2013. External debt remains very low.

Executive Board Assessment

In concluding the 2016 Article IV Consultation with Algeria, Executive Directors endorsed staff’s appraisal as follows:

Algeria’s economy is facing a severe and likely long-lasting external shock, calling for a vigorous policy response built on fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. The collapse in oil prices has exposed longstanding vulnerabilities in a state-led economy that is overly dependent on hydrocarbons. Thus far, the impact of the oil price shock on growth has been limited, but fiscal and external balances have deteriorated significantly. Thanks to buffers accumulated in the past, Algeria has a window of opportunity to smooth the adjustment to the shock and reshape its growth model. Restoring macroeconomic balances will require sustained fiscal consolidation over the medium term combined with a critical mass of structural reforms to diversify the economy, while exchange rate, monetary, and financial policies should play a supporting role. Communication to build a consensus around the needed reforms will be important to ensure their timely implementation.

Fiscal consolidation will need to be sustained over the medium term to restore fiscal sustainability, ensure intergenerational equity, and support external stability. It will require controlling current spending, pursuing further subsidy reform while protecting the poor, mobilizing more nonhydrocarbon revenues, increasing the efficiency of investment, and strengthening the budget framework. Rapidly declining fiscal savings mean that Algeria will need to borrow more to finance future deficits. In addition to increasing domestic debt issuance, the authorities should consider borrowing externally and opening the capital of some state-owned enterprises, in a transparent way, to private participation.

Wide-ranging structural reforms are needed to help support economic activity during the fiscal consolidation and to diversify the economy. Key reforms include improving the business climate, opening up the economy to more trade and investment, improving access to finance and developing capital markets, and strengthening governance, competition, and transparency. Increasing the flexibility of labor markets while better matching the skills produced by the educational system to those needed by the private sector is also needed. Import restrictions, while perhaps providing a temporary relief, introduce distortions and cannot substitute for reforms aimed at boosting exports. As structural reforms take time to bear fruit, they should be started without delay.

Together with fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, greater exchange rate flexibility would support the adjustment to the oil price shock. Despite some depreciation in 2015, the REER remains significantly overvalued. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, together with greater exchange rate flexibility, would help bring the REER in line with its equilibrium value and contribute to the rebalancing of the economy.

Monetary policy must adjust to a changing liquidity environment while guarding against potential inflationary pressures. The BA is appropriately adjusting to a changing liquidity environment by reactivating its lending instruments and strengthening its liquidity forecast and management capacity. Going forward, it should carefully calibrate monetary policy to guard against potential inflationary pressures.

Financial sector policies should be further strengthened to address growing financial stability risks. The banking sector as a whole is well capitalized and profitable, but protracted low oil prices increase financial stability risks. Moreover, the strong links between the financial, hydrocarbon, and public sectors increase the vulnerability of banks to systemic risks and call for preemptive actions. The authorities should continue their efforts to strengthen the prudential framework, including by enhancing the role of macroprudential policy, and improving crisis preparedness and management.

Algeria: Selected Macroeconomic Indicators, 2013–17
Population: 39.5 million; 2014

Per capita GDP: US$ 4,318 (2015)

Quota (old): SDR 1,254.7 million

Gini coefficient: 0.31 (2011)

Key export markets: EU

Main exports: oil and gas

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Est.

Output

Real GDP growth (percent)

2.8

3.8

3.9

3.4

2.9

Nonhydrocarbon GDP growth (percent)

-5.5

-0.6

0.4

1.9

2.0

Employment

Unemployment (percent, end of period)

9.8

10.6

11.2

Prices

Inflation (percent, average)

3.3

2.9

4.8

4.3

4.0

Central government finances (percent of GDP)

Total revenue

35.8

33.4

30.1

26.8

28.0

Of which, hydrocarbon

22.1

19.7

14.1

10.2

11.2

Total expenditure

36.7

41.3

46.5

42.4

40.2

Overall budget balance (deficit-)

-0.9

-8.0

-16.4

-15.6

-12.2

Gross government debt

7.7

8.0

9.0

15.4

25.4

Money and credit

Broad money (percent change)

8.4

14.4

0.5

1.1

10.0

Credit to the economy (percent change)

19.9

25.7

16.1

9.0

10.0

Balance of payments

Current account balance (percent of GDP)

0.4

-4.4

-16.2

-17.9

-17.0

FDI (percent of GDP)

0.9

0.7

-0.4

0.9

1.1

Gross reserves (months of imports) 1/

32.3

33.5

29.8

22.1

18.9

External debt (percent GDP)

1.6

1.7

1.8

2.8

4.9

Exchange rate

REER (percent change)

-1.4

2.1

-4.3

-1.6

-3.2

Sources: Algerian authorities; and IMF staff estimates.

1/ In months of next year’s imports of goods and services.


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 The Executive Board takes decisions under its lapse-of-time procedure when the Board agrees that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

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

Media files

Download logo

Source:: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2016 Article IV Consultation with Algeria

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

Yellow fever: urgent action needed to prevent international crisis

Fears are growing that a deadly yellow fever outbreak in Angola – which has already spread to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and China – will continue to spread internationally without immediate action to prevent it, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.

The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for spreading the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya.

Dr Julie Lyn Hall, the IFRC’s Director of Health, said that limited vaccine supplies, inadequate disease surveillance systems, poor sanitation and everyday cross-border economic and social interaction could turn a national outbreak into a global crisis, if no immediate community-based action is taken.

“Unvaccinated travellers could transform this outbreak into a regional or international crisis if we don’t move quickly to protect vulnerable populations and help communities to reduce their risk of infection,” she said.

Yellow fever has killed 293 people in Angola since the beginning of the outbreak in December 2015, and a further 2,267 people are believed to have been infected. The IFRC released 50,672 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 24 February to support Angolan Red Cross work to support the vaccination of 90,000 people, and conducting community mobilization activities with 60,000 others. A further DREF allocation in support of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be issued today.

The Angolan outbreak has resulted in cases being imported to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and has been confirmed as the source of 11 infections in the People’s Republic of China. A separate yellow fever outbreak has been confirmed in Uganda, with more than 50 suspected cases in three districts.

There are growing concerns that the outbreak could easily spread to neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia, where the population is not vaccinated against the disease.

Volunteers and staff of the National Red Cross Societies in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are hard at work in communities across the affected areas, identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, and helping people to reduce their risks of infection.

“Vaccination campaigns are the first lines of response, but we need to prioritise community engagement as a vital tool to prevent the spread of yellow fever,” said Dr Hall. “The continued rapid spread of the disease in the Angolan capital Luanda – where some 7 million people have already been vaccinated – underlines the importance of community engagement, surveillance and improving environmental sanitation.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Yellow fever: urgent action needed to prevent international crisis

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

Press release and invitation to the International Posgraduate Paediatric Certificate graduation at Australian Embassy

On 23 May Australian Ambassador Suzanne McCourt will host the International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate (IPPC) graduation of 46 Zimbabwean doctors and nurses from Harare Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo.

The IPPC program is awarded by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and The University of Sydney and has seen health professionals trained from 21 countries worldwide over the last 25 years. The program aims to empower healthcare professionals treating children and young people globally.

In Zimbabwe this course has produced 71 graduates from its inception in 2014, and is now taking enrolments from other hospitals around the country. The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network hopes to expand the IPPC program in the future, to incorporate Parirenyatwa hospital as an additional training site.

One of the doctors, who attended the course in 2015, says: “Honestly speaking, the IPPC/DCH (Diploma in Child Health) course has been life-changing not only for me but also for the children I meet. Now I have an even rarer opportunity to share this knowledge and spread the hope that children can be managed in a standard and efficient manner even in resource limited settings such as ours.”

The Australian IPPC program in Zimbabwe initially received Australian Government funding in 2014, through UNICEF. It is now partially funded through the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network scholarships, and offered with significant subsidy for those without scholarships.

Training government hospital staff in Zimbabwe will boost workforce capacity in paediatric care, for the ultimate benefit of Zimbabwe’s children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Australian Embassy in Zimbabwe.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Press release and invitation to the International Posgraduate Paediatric Certificate graduation at Australian Embassy

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

Seychelles highlights scope of CGPCS in Djibouti at 3rd Eastern Southern African and Indian Ocean Region Ministerial Meeting

A delegation from Seychelles attended the 3rd Eastern Southern African and Indian Ocean Region Ministerial Meeting on May 15 2016 in, Djibouti.

The Seychelles delegation was led by Ambassador Joseph Nourrice based in Addis Ababa, who represented Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr Joel Morgan together with Mr. Jacques Belle, MASE National Focal Point at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport.

The main thrust of the Ministerial Meeting was to highlight the effectiveness of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) which has acted as a cornerstone of the response established following the United Nations Resolution 1851.

The Ministerial meeting which was attended by a numerous high level delegates from the region adopted decisions which call upon the international community to review and broaden the CGPCS mandate to include other maritime security threats and transnational organized crime, while maintaining the current regional focus on Somalia, Horn of Africa and the Western Indian ocean region.

The international community was also invited to support the regional maritime capability and participate in the establishment of the regional maritime surveillance mechanism under the European Union funded MASE programme through the operationalization of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar and the Regional Coordination Operational Centre in Seychelles.

Seychelles Ambassador, Mr Joseph Nourrice delivered a closing remarks where he commended the work of the experts of the Technical Steering Committee on Project Implementation Review of the MASE Programme that met the day prior to the ministerial meeting and who drafted a series of recommendation and a communique for adoption.

Ambassador Nourrice also spoke of the recent accession of Seychelles to Chair the CGPCS as ‘an opportunity for Seychelles to promote further regional ownership over the problem of piracy in the region internationally. He also said, that ‘ the Seychelles delegation took note the ESA-IO community call to widen the scope of the CGPCS mandate.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Seychelles highlights scope of CGPCS in Djibouti at 3rd Eastern Southern African and Indian Ocean Region Ministerial Meeting

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

President Michel sends condolence message to Sri Lanka following landslide

President James Michel has sent a letter of condolence to the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena following the landslides, which have claimed many lives and caused widespread structural damage. Over 150 people remain unaccounted for as rescue efforts continue in the worst hit areas.

In his message, President Michel stated “the people and Government of Seychelles grieve for the victims of this tragedy and we stand united with Sri Lanka in these trying times. We have confidence in the resilience of your people to surmount this disaster and we pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”

President Michel also remarked that he remained hopeful that those still missing would be found by the rescue services.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: President Michel sends condolence message to Sri Lanka following landslide

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the deadly attack on a MINUSMA convoy in Kidal region, Mali

The Secretary-General condemns the deadly complex attack that took place today, and which killed five peacekeepers and injured three others from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

According to preliminary information, a MINUSMA convoy hit an improvised explosive device and then came under fire by an unknown group of armed assailants approximately 15 km north of Aguelhok, Kidal region. Five Chadian peacekeepers were killed and three others injured during the attack.

Since the beginning of the year, a dozen attacks against the United Nations has been registered in Kidal region, resulting in the death of at least 12 United Nations personnel, including today’s victims.

The Secretary-General presents his sincere condolences to the families of the five peacekeepers who have died in the cause of peace and to the Government and people of Chad, and wishes a prompt recovery to those injured. He calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice and recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers constitute war crimes under international law.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations will continue to support the stabilization of Mali and the implementation of the peace agreement and expresses his full support to the Malian authorities in their efforts to address violence and insecurity in the country.

New York, 18 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the deadly attack on a MINUSMA convoy in Kidal region, Mali

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $704,815 grant to Home Energy Africa Limited, a Ghanaian solar power developer, for technical assistance that will help bring a 100-megawatt solar power photovoltaic (PV) project in the village of Nyimbale-Sankana, Ghana towards financial close.

“Lack of power is a challenge we see across sub-Saharan Africa. Two out of three people in this region lack access to electricity. That hinders business, and it hinders prosperity. We’ve made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship. Today’s grant is just one more way we’re bringing together government and the private sector to make Ghana’s future brighter,” stated the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, who signed the grant on behalf of USTDA along with President and CEO of Home Energy Africa, Charles Sena Ayenu.

“One of Ghana’s paramount constraints to sustainable economic growth is the country’s inadequate electric power supply. This grant will support us in bringing our solar power PV project to financial close in order to fill the gap in power supply, meet Ghana’s goals for clean and sustainable energy, help create over 200 jobs to local communities and provide electricity to at least 80,000 average homes in Ghana,” said Mr. Ayenu.

Home Energy Africa has selected GreenMax Capital Advisors (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to carry out the technical assistance. This will include preparation for power purchase agreement negotiations, services contracts and financing arrangements. Implementation of the project will support the Government of Ghana in achieving its target of 5,000 MW of installed generation, including 10 percent from renewable sources.

USTDA’s partnership with Home Energy Africa supports the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Media files

Download logo

Source:: USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $704,815 grant to Home Energy Africa Limited, a Ghanaian solar power developer, for technical assistance that will help bring a 100-megawatt solar power photovoltaic (PV) project in the village of Nyimbale-Sankana, Ghana towards financial close.

“Lack of power is a challenge we see across sub-Saharan Africa. Two out of three people in this region lack access to electricity. That hinders business, and it hinders prosperity. We’ve made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship. Today’s grant is just one more way we’re bringing together government and the private sector to make Ghana’s future brighter,” stated the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, who signed the grant on behalf of USTDA along with President and CEO of Home Energy Africa, Charles Sena Ayenu.

“One of Ghana’s paramount constraints to sustainable economic growth is the country’s inadequate electric power supply. This grant will support us in bringing our solar power PV project to financial close in order to fill the gap in power supply, meet Ghana’s goals for clean and sustainable energy, help create over 200 jobs to local communities and provide electricity to at least 80,000 average homes in Ghana,” said Mr. Ayenu.

Home Energy Africa has selected GreenMax Capital Advisors (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to carry out the technical assistance. This will include preparation for power purchase agreement negotiations, services contracts and financing arrangements. Implementation of the project will support the Government of Ghana in achieving its target of 5,000 MW of installed generation, including 10 percent from renewable sources.

USTDA’s partnership with Home Energy Africa supports the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Media files

Download logo

Source:: USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $704,815 grant to Home Energy Africa Limited, a Ghanaian solar power developer, for technical assistance that will help bring a 100-megawatt solar power photovoltaic (PV) project in the village of Nyimbale-Sankana, Ghana towards financial close.

“Lack of power is a challenge we see across sub-Saharan Africa. Two out of three people in this region lack access to electricity. That hinders business, and it hinders prosperity. We’ve made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship. Today’s grant is just one more way we’re bringing together government and the private sector to make Ghana’s future brighter,” stated the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, who signed the grant on behalf of USTDA along with President and CEO of Home Energy Africa, Charles Sena Ayenu.

“One of Ghana’s paramount constraints to sustainable economic growth is the country’s inadequate electric power supply. This grant will support us in bringing our solar power PV project to financial close in order to fill the gap in power supply, meet Ghana’s goals for clean and sustainable energy, help create over 200 jobs to local communities and provide electricity to at least 80,000 average homes in Ghana,” said Mr. Ayenu.

Home Energy Africa has selected GreenMax Capital Advisors (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to carry out the technical assistance. This will include preparation for power purchase agreement negotiations, services contracts and financing arrangements. Implementation of the project will support the Government of Ghana in achieving its target of 5,000 MW of installed generation, including 10 percent from renewable sources.

USTDA’s partnership with Home Energy Africa supports the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Media files

Download logo

Source:: USTDA Provides Technical Assistance for Power Africa Project in Ghana

Readout of the Secretary-General’s phone call with H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of the Congo

The Secretary-General spoke today with the President of the Republic of the Congo, H. E. Mr. Denis Sassou N’Guesso.

The Secretary-General thanked President Sassou N’Guesso for his engagement with the Central African Republic and looked forward to his continued support in the post-transition period.

The Secretary-General expressed concern about the Government’s ongoing security operation in the Pool region of the Republic of the Congo and its impact on the civilian population. He urged President Sassou N’Guesso to ensure that humanitarian and other relevant actors are granted access to the affected areas. He also called on the President to ensure that the security forces show restraint in the use of force and comply with the Republic of the Congo’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

The Secretary-General underscored the need for political dialogue to foster national unity following the recent elections. He emphasized the importance of President Sassou N’Guesso’s personal engagement and reaffirmed the United Nations’ readiness to support the Government and people of the Republic of the Congo in this regard.

New York, 18 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Readout of the Secretary-General’s phone call with H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of the Congo

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Mauritania

The Secretary-General welcomes the release of human rights activists Biram Dah Abeid and Brahim Ould Bilal on 17 May in Mauritania, following a Supreme Court decision.

The Secretary-General commends efforts by the Mauritanian authorities to strengthen the rule of law and urges the judicial authorities to carefully investigate the circumstances that led to the arrests of the activists.

The Secretary-General also encourages the Mauritanian Government to pursue its efforts to promote national unity and social cohesion.

New York, 18 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Media files

Download logo

Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Mauritania

Categories: AFRICA | Leave a comment