Young African scientists selected for the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 26 June to 1 July 2016

The African Union Commission (AUC) is pleased to announce the selection of three (03) young African scientists to participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, dedicated to physics. The 66thLindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will provide an opportunity for young African scientists to exchange scientific expertise and inspire cross-cultural and inter-generational encounters with other scientists. Up to 30 Nobel Laureates and a total of 402 highly-talented young scientists from all over the world (80 countries) will participate in the meeting that will be held in Lindau, Germany, from 26 June to 1 July 2016.

As anacademic partner to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, the AU Commission was entitled to nominate up to 8 candidates among them the recipients of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Young Scientist awards (laureates). Three of these candidates have been selected; an outcome that will stimulate scientific research and development and hence foster excellence onthe continent. The selected candidates are:

The opportunity to join the annual gathering of Nobel Laureates at Lindau is provided exclusively to outstanding young scientists aged up to 35 years. In order to participate in a meeting, they have to pass a multi-step application and selection process. Please visit the http://www.lindau-nobel.org/ for more information.

The Horst Köhler Fellowship Programme for young African scientists, kindly supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, covers the entire participation cost amounting to over 5,000.00 € per selected candidate.

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

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African Union high-level panel humanitarian effectiveness in Africa

INVITATION TO MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES

What: AFRICAN UNION HIGH-LEVEL PANEL HUMANITARIAN EFFECTIVENESS IN AFRICA

Theme: The theme of the Panel is: “Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa,”

When: 23rd May 2016

Duration: The High-Level Panel will last for 90 minutes.

Where: Istanbul, Turkey

Who: The High-Level Panel will be convened and chaired by H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and moderated by H.E. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs.

The Panel will facilitated by the following:

Professor Chaloka Beyani- UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs
Hon. Amina Muhammad – Nigerian Minister for Environment
Hon. TarsisKabwegyere – Ugandan Minister for General Duties
Dr. James Mwangi- Managing Director Equity Bank-Private Sector.

Dr. Camillus N. Kassala- East African Statistical Training Centre
Ms. Eiman Kheir – Diaspora Focal Point, Citizens and Diaspora Directorate

Objectives: The AU High-Level Panel aims to provide an interactive dialogue between the African Union and the global community on Africa’s humanitarian agenda and ways of aligning it with the Istanbul Plan of Action. The Panel will result in the Chair’s Summary, constituting a contribution towards the outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Specific objectives of the Panel are to:

Unveil Africa’s proposed reforms to its humanitarian architecture to achieve effective humanitarian response and durable solutions,
Share experience on ratification and domestication of the Kampala Convention, including the proposed Conference of States Parties,
Discuss the role of displacement data and ways of information sharing, knowledge generation and innovation,
Exchange views on the strengthening role of the Diaspora and Private Sector in humanitarian action.

Participants: The Panel is expected to be attended by 100-150 participants, who will include Heads of State and Government, Heads of UN Agencies and high profile personalities, Representatives of Regional Organisations, Multilateral and Bilateral Donors, Humanitarian Organisations, Private Sector, African Diaspora and Civil Society, and Academia.

Background: The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, will be held on 23 – 24 May 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey. In accordance with its General Assembly Decision, AU/Dec.604 (XXVI), the African Union (AU) will present a Common African Position (CAP) on Humanitarian Effectiveness at the Summit.

The CAP is a contribution of the AU in shaping a future Agenda for Humanity proposed by H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his report to the World Humanitarian Summit. The CAP encapsulates Africa Union’s (AU) vision on humanitarian issues in line with its Agenda 2063. It represents the voices and concerns of Africa’s leaders and people in shaping a future humanitarian architecture.

During the Istanbul Summit, the AU will host a High-Level Panel on humanitarian effectiveness in Africa. The theme of the Panel: Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa, underscores the focus of AU’s humanitarian agenda in the next decade. This focus is in response to the call by Africa’s leaders and that of the UN Secretary-General for a future humanitarian system which is effective, relevant and fit for purpose.

The Panel is organised in collaboration with the following organisations: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and Norwegian Refugee Council-Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)

CONTEXT: The World Humanitarian Summit is being convened against a backdrop of a rapidly changing landscape. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his Report to the World Humanitarian Summit: “One Humanity, One Responsibility”, has underscored the growing problem of forced displacement globally, with a call for action in five core responsibilities.

With over 15 million refugees and internally displaced persons; and another 35 million of its people recently affected by unprecedented El Nino and La Nina phenomena in 40 years, the African continent remains a region where a large sum of humanitarian activity is undertaken. Several humanitarian situations that subsist on the African continent have remained protracted for many years. This trend is likely to grow even bigger in proportion given the changing nature of patterns of displacement. Solutions to address these crises have remained elusive over the years and the humanitarian system over stretched as to deliver effective humanitarian response.

In addition to Agenda 2063, the AU has recently adopted a number of legal and policy instruments a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness to address forced displacement and humanitarian crises on the continent. These are historic and important milestones. Notably, the CAP provides a long-term strategic vision on addressing forced displacement and humanitarian issues in Africa. On the other hand, the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention), the only legally binding instrument on IDPs cited by the Secretary-General in his report is good model on which regional frameworks and eventually a global instrument on IDPs could be developed.

PROGRAMME, REGISTRATION AND FINAL HIGH PANEL REGISTRATION

Provisional programme is attached; Time and venue to be communicated in due course. Please register interest in, and level of participation, for this High Level Panel at http://goo.gl/forms/1IXgGSZows .

The Panel will be open to media and will be broadcast and webcast live.

Journalists are invited to cover the Event.

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

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Survivors report massive loss of life in latest Mediterranean Sea tragedy

On Tuesday, a UNHCR team interviewed survivors of what could be one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants in the last 12 months. If confirmed, as many as 500 people may have lost their lives when a large ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea at an unknown location between Libya and Italy. The 41 survivors (37 men, three women and a three-year-old child) were rescued by a merchant ship and taken to Kalamata, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece on 16 April. Those rescued include 23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, 6 Egyptians and a Sudanese.

The survivors told us that they had been part of a group of between 100 and 200 people who departed last week from a locality near Tobruk in Libya on a 30-metre-long boat.

After sailing for several hours, the smugglers on charge of the boat attempted to transfer the passengers to a larger ship carrying hundreds of people in terribly overcrowded conditions. At one point during the transfer, the larger boat capsized and sank.

The 41 survivors include people who had not yet boarded the larger vessel, as well as some who managed to swim back to the smaller boat. They drifted at sea possibly for three days before being spotted and rescued on 16 April.

UNHCR visited the survivors at the local stadium of Kalamata where they have been temporarily housed by the local authorities while they undergo police procedures.

UNHCR continues to call for increased regular pathways for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to Europe, including resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, family reunification, private sponsorship and student and work visas for refugees. These will all serve to reduce the demand for people smuggling and dangerous irregular sea journeys.

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

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Ireland and UNICEF respond to drought emergency

The drought caused by the El Niño global climatic event has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas in Ethiopia.

In recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Government of Ethiopia and its humanitarian partners have identified that 10.2 million people, 6 million of them children, are in need of food assistance, while 5.8 million people require access to clean drinking water and basic latrine facilities throughout the year.

In this latest tranche of support, Ireland has provided over €110,000 (ETB 2.6 million) worth of aid for the drought response. This includes 40 water tanks – 20 each with 10,000-litre capacity and 5,000-litre capacity respectively, 3,000 jerry cans, and shipment from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Accra, Ghana to the UNICEF Ethiopia warehouse in Addis Ababa. UNICEF will use these materials to scale up provision of immediate life-saving water supply across 31 worst-affected woredas (districts) nationwide through government-led water trucking campaigns. In coordination with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, UNICEF will deploy the tanks to schools and health centres.

“Ethiopia has made impressive development gains in recent years and we must not let the drought undermine this progress. Our additional support is in response to calls from the Ethiopian Government to assist their humanitarian action; to save lives and protect livelihoods,” says H.E Mr Aidan O’Hara, Ambassador of Ireland to Ethiopia. “In recent weeks, UNICEF has been carrying out real-time water assessments in 30 worst-affected woredas. The April results show that 68 per cent of the population is using less than five litres of water per day in the worst-affected woredas. The water tanks from Ireland will be used to deliver water to the most acutely affected areas”.

“On behalf of the Government of Ethiopia and UNICEF, I would like to thank the Government of Ireland for its continued support for life-saving interventions in this drought emergency,” said UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms Gillian Mellsop. “Provision of clean and safe water is essential to prevent and contain outbreaks of water-related diseases such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea and scabies, as well as protect children from traveling long distances to collect water, keep children in school and support health and nutrition services.”

As the WASH cluster lead, UNICEF supports the Government of Ethiopia and other partners in the rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of new water supply systems, provision of water purification and treatment chemicals, scaling up of water trucking activities, and provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. In addition, UNICEF is exploring innovative ways to use satellites to detect deep groundwater for large scale, multiple-village water supply systems. As part of the overall drought emergency response, UNICEF supports programmes in child protection, education, health and nutrition.

The support to UNICEF comes on top of €9.1 million provided by Ireland to Ethiopia in response to the El Niño drought. This includes €3.8 million given in 2015 to the Humanitarian Response Fund, managed by the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs. A further €1.8 million in humanitarian assistance was provided in 2015 through three NGO partners in Ethiopia: GOAL, Trócaire and Concern. In January 2016, €3.5 million was provided to the World Food Programme to provide highly nutritious food for children under the age of five as well as pregnant and lactating women. This year Ireland will also contribute €10.4 million to the Productive Safety Net Programme which is providing cash and or food support to some 8 million people.

About Irish Aid: Irish Aid is the Government of Ireland’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For more information see: www.irishaid.ie

About UNICEF: UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help

children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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ERRATUM: Press Statement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the events of 14 and 16 April 2016, in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) is deeply concerned by the reports of events that took place on 14 and 16 April 2016 in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.

The Commission has received reports regarding demonstrations which took place on Thursday 14 April 2016 and on Saturday 16 April 2016, in parts of the capital city of Banjul, calling for electoral reform in the country. It is reported that during the demonstrations a number of people were arrested, including Mr. Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP). Further reports received by the Commission allege the death in custody of the UDP organizing secretary Mr. Solo Sandeng. It is alleged that Mr. Sandeng died shortly after detention of unknown causes.

The Commission is equally concerned about reports that Ms. Fatoumatta Jawara, the Female Youth President, and Ms. Nogoi Njie, the 2nd Vice President of the Women’s Wing, were arrested, and seriously injured after they were beaten during the demonstration. Additionally, it was reported that Ms. Fatou Camara, a Constituency Women’s Leader and Mr. Lang Marong, Deputy Campaign Manager, were also arrested and imprisoned.

Without in any way reaching conclusions on the above allegations, the Commission is concerned that if the allegations are true they will amount to violations of Articles 4, 7, 9 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).

Regarding these allegations, the Chairperson of the Commission, Honourable Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, discussed the situation with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, Honourable Justice Mama Fatima Singhateh.

In response, Honourable Justice Singhateh noted that unlawful assemblies were held during the weekend of 14 April 2016. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice further noted that the security forces tried to manage the situation, and a number of people were arrested. The Minister stated that investigations were ongoing, following which the Ministry of Justice would give a response to the Commission when available.

In view of the above, the Commission calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, as the primary guarantor of human rights within its national borders, to:

– Investigate the reports of the death in custody and alleged beating of demonstrators, and, if true, ensure prompt arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators;

– Ensure the speedy release of all persons arrested, if the allegations of their arrest and detention are true; and

– Uphold its obligations under the various regional and international human rights treaties to which it is a party, in particular the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Additionally, the Commission calls on leaders of the opposition parties, their members and stakeholders to refrain from all acts of violence during demonstrations.

The Commission will remain actively seized of the matter.

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

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UK and Egypt launch new round of Newton-Mosharafa grants

The British Embassy in Cairo, the British Council and the Science Technology and Developemtn Fund have announced a new round of science and research opportunities under the Newton-Mosharafa Fund, the British-Egyptian partnership worth £24m over five years.

Applications are now open for the Newton-Mosharafa Fund’s Institutional Links and Researcher Links travel and workshop grant programmes.

Under the Institutional Links programme, research institutions and academic departments can apply for grants of £50,000 up to £300,000 over two years to develop scientific research partnerships between Egypt and the UK.

Under the Researcher Links programme, early career Egyptian researchers will have the opportunity to take part in academic workshops with their counterparts in the UK or to travel to the UK on study or training visits for up to six months.

The Newton-Mosharafa Fund was established in 2014 with the aim of bringing together British and Egyptian expertise in science, sharing cutting-edge research, and deepening partnerships in innovation. Worth £24m over five years, the Fund focuses on five main areas identified as priorities for Egypt’s long-term development: water management, renewable energy, food production, archaeological and cultural heritage, and affordable and inclusive healthcare.

The Fund has already given almost 120 Egyptian scientists the opportunity to pursue their academic careers in the UK by studying for PhDs or taking up post-doctoral fellowships.

Over the last two years, Institutional Links programme established 20 partnerships between British and Egyptian universities and research centres. Their research projects included programmes to find new treatments for liver cancer, to develop high-efficiency solar energy cells, and to preserve Egypt’s cultural heritage through high-tech imaging hardware.

British Ambassador John Casson said:

The Newton-Mosharafa Fund is a big, bold commitment – worth £24m over a lifetime of five years – that demonstrates how serious we are, the UK and Egypt together, about building a strong, long-lasting partnership in science and innovation.

In fact it is just one element of the UK’s wide-ranging education offer to Egypt. The UK is the education nation and our programmes here include scholarships, English language training, international qualifications, technical and vocational training.

It is a top priority for the UK and Egypt to raise up a well-educated, highly-skilled, and innovative new generation of young Egyptians who have the potential to build a bright future for this country.

Director of the British Council in Egypt Jeff Streeter said:

It is a pleasure to announce the start of applications for the Newton-Mosharafa Fund, which is the first of a range of exciting opportunities throughout the year, with PhD places opening up in the summer and Researcher Connect professional development workshops coming in the autumn.

The importance of this programme, demonstrated by the extension of funding to it from both the UK and Egypt, is also shown by the exciting research and projects which are already stemming from this investment. This includes work on projects related to topics of vital importance in building a sustainable future for Egypt.

For more information about the Newton-Mosharafa Fund and how to apply, visit:
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Remarks at an Ivory Burn

Ambassador Samantha Power

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Yaounde, Cameroon

April 19, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Excellencies and distinguished guests, I thank all of you for taking the time to be here today. All of our countries can and must do more. I’d like to also thank the Cameroonian media because your message to the Cameroonian people, your depiction of this event will go a long way to raising awareness of the dangers posed by trafficking. Citizen information and intelligence and citizen action are a critical component of the response, a critical part of the solution.

Thank you also, Minister Ngole Nwese, for hosting today’s event, for your powerful remarks, including your powerful not-so-subtle message to us in the international community. Thank you for that, and thank you most importantly, for your efforts and those of the Ministry of Forestry and Fauna to protect Cameroon’s rich biodiversity in the face of significant threats. I also would like to thank civil society groups who have been such dedicated and relentless advocates on behalf of wildlife conservation, some of whom I know are represented here today.

Today we are gathered for an event that is, on the one hand, celebratory, and on the other hand, deeply sobering.

On the one hand, today is a day to celebrate, because it marks the first time ever that the government of Cameroon has held an ivory burn – joining a growing group of countries around the world that have demonstrated their commitment to stopping poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. By burning this pyre, the government is sending a clear message to all who seek to profit from this monstrous trade – a message that the only place ivory belongs, and the only place ivory has value – is on elephants.

On the other hand, this is also a profoundly sobering event, because the pile you see is a tangible reminder that the slaughter of elephants, pangolins, rhinos and other irreplaceable species persists, as does the illegal demand for their ivory, scales, and horns – among so many other forms of trafficking in the endangered species that share our planet. It is one thing, I think, to talk abstractly about ongoing wildlife trafficking – which many of us do – it has become an ever-more frequent topic of conversation at international gatherings, but it is another thing entirely to see the pyre in front of us and to be forced to think about each and every animal that was killed in order to assemble it. And that pyre, enormous though it is, constitutes just a tiny, tiny fraction of the ivory that is trafficked.

Unfortunately, as we all know – in spite of important efforts like this one – wildlife trafficking continues, including, as the minister noted, here in Cameroon. In December 2015, at least twenty endangered forest elephants were killed in a single week in the southeast part of the country. And no one can forget – anywhere in the world – the massacre of some 400 elephants in Bouba Njida, in that national park over that grisly two-week period in February 2012. Experts who inspected the elephants’ carcasses after those hideous killings said that evidence suggested many of the elephants were still alive when poachers had cut off their trunks. So cruel were the poachers that they even killed baby elephants, whose tusks had not yet formed. As a result of these and other killings by poachers, the estimated elephant population in Bouba Njida has declined from some 800 elephants in 2008 to fewer than 300 elephants today.

Wildlife trafficking persists in significant part because there is still a market for the illicit goods it supplies – one that extends far beyond Cameroon, Central Africa, or the continent that these endangered species call home. Traffickers move nimbly back and forth across borders. They rely on illicit networks that span the globe to transport, trade, and sell ivory, scales, and other illegal wildlife parts and products. Often they use similar routes to those used to traffic drugs, weapons, and even human beings.

So if we know that this serious problem persists, if we have raised global awareness to an unprecedented extent, and if we know that solving it will require a truly comprehensive international response, what can we do beyond the important act that we will all witness today? Let me offer three brief suggestions.

First, as the minister noted, we must ensure that domestic law enforcement agencies have the training and the tools that they need to effectively combat wildlife trafficking. Poachers are better armed and more willing to use violence than ever before. Just a few weeks ago, among the many casualties that the minister alluded to, on April 1st, an eco-guard – a patriot, someone dedicated to protecting Cameroon’s animals and Cameroon’s biodiversity – was captured by a poaching gang and beheaded in Cameroon’s Faro National Park after he confronted the poachers. And yet local eco-guards and rangers are often outnumbered, outgunned, and insufficiently trained. That must change and we must find, collectively, the resources to ensure that they have the capabilities to do the job that so many in Cameroon want to do.

Of course, when dealing with traffickers who regularly move back and forth across borders – and transport their illicit goods thousands of kilometers by air, land, and sea – effectively combating this problem also requires strengthening law enforcement and coordination across international borders. Traffickers are extremely skilled at sniffing out and exploiting weak spots in the chain; we have to do a better job – we have to be more wily, more cunning, more nimble than they are in identifying and plugging those gaps, and we must dismantle the transnational networks that take advantage of them.

And while protecting our invaluable biodiversity should be reason enough to combat these illicit networks, let me offer another reason: the criminal networks that profit from trafficking fuel corruption and generate funds that can be used to fuel other dangerous activities that pose a serious security threat, including terrorism. So governments have a vital security interest in ensuring that those who engage in wildlife trafficking – and those who profit from turning a blind eye to it – are held accountable.

Second, we must work to reduce the demand for ivory, pangolin scales, and other illegally traded wildlife products. We recognize that a major piece of work falls to governments like mine and like many of those represented here. That is why President Obama prohibited all commercial imports of African elephant ivory for commercial purposes. Under proposed regulations expected to come into effect this year, the United States will also institute a near-complete ban on the export and domestic commercial trade in African elephant ivory.

Important as these steps are, we know that shutting down the market in any one country or even any one region is not enough in 2016. That is why the United States is working to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife worldwide. Let me give just one example. When President Obama hosted China’s President Xi Jinping last September, China joined us in committing to enact a near complete ban on ivory import and export, and to taking timely, significant steps to halt the domestic commercial trade in ivory. Our two countries also agreed to collaborate more broadly to combat wildlife trafficking. And these efforts, combined with other factors, are producing early results – studies show that the price of ivory in China has nearly been cut in half in the past two years. We urge other countries, including in Central Africa, to join us in making similar pledges. And for those, like us, who have made pledges, we have a responsibility to implement them and you, in civil society, have a responsibility to call us out when we haven’t.

Third, we must help inform and empower local advocates who are on the front lines of conservation efforts, in Central Africa and beyond. To that end, for the past three years the United States has led the facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, which just last year brought together African governments, donor countries, NGOs, local leaders, and youth activists in Yaoundé to advance the sustainable management of the Congo Basin’s forests and biodiversity. And since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has helped support the training of the next generation of African conservationists studying at the Ecole de Faune de Garoua in northern Cameroon, recently launching a program that will provide fellowships for an international team dedicated solely to protecting pangolins – so that we continue to see those animals in the wild where they belong, and not in pyres here or elsewhere in Africa.

We live in a world where – because of the actions of a few, and the inaction of the many – we really risk seeing wild elephants, pangolins, and so many of our planet’s other remarkable species disappearing from the Earth forever. Whether or not those species survive – whether our children, and our grandchildren, and their children get to even see the wildlife that we have had the luxury of being with and visiting in our lives, whether they get to see them in their natural habitat depends, in large part, on whether nations like ours can recognize our shared responsibility to stop global wildlife trafficking.

By burning this pyre today, the government of Cameroon is taking a truly important step toward preserving its incredible biodiversity, and sending a message of its commitment to preserve the wondrous world that we are all blessed to inhabit. Cameroon cannot do it alone. Together, we must take many, many more steps like this one. I thank you.

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

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Power Africa Supports Climate Fund for Renewable Energy Projects

Power Africa Press Release

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

THE HAGUE – In advance of Earth Day on April 22, Power Africa signed an agreement today with FMO, the Dutch development bank, to spur investment in renewable energy across sub-Saharan Africa. Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Power Africa will commit $5 million in support of the Climate Investor One (CIO), which finances and helps fast-track wind, solar and hydro power projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

CIO targets medium-size renewable energy projects of between 25 MW and 75 MW, and shares Power Africa’s goal to add 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new power generation capacity and 60 million new business and household connections across sub-Saharan Africa.

“Power Africa’s support of the Climate Investor One is indicative of our continued investment in renewable energy technologies throughout sub-Saharan Africa,” said Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz. “From wind parks in Kenya, to solar arrays in Rwanda, and geothermal generation in Ethiopia, Power Africa and our partners are putting the continent’s vast renewable resources to work. This agreement with CIO will not only help deliver new access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity, it will help our African government partners boost economic development and tackle climate change at the same time.”

High energy demand and the challenges presented by climate change have advanced renewable energy solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries have established or are strengthening supportive policy and regulatory frameworks for private investment of renewable energy infrastructure activities. CIO combines three innovative investment funds into one: a Development Fund to reduce development times and improve bankability of projects; a Construction Equity Fund to provide a single source of equity finance to fund construction and progress projects to an operational stage; and a Refinancing Fund to provide long-term and low risk debt during operations. The three funds together allow CIO to help early-stage climate mitigation projects achieve bankability while providing an end-to-end public-private financing solution.

Linda Broekhuizen, Chief Investment Officer of FMO, said “We are proud of our cooperation with Power Africa to accelerate and simplify the financing of renewable energy projects in Africa. CIO is an innovative climate financing structure that fits very well in our work to empowering entrepreneurs in a sustainably responsible manner”.

USAID’s funding of $5 million will go directly toward renewable energy projects financed by CIO in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Dutch government have also contributed to donor funding.

Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Phoenix InfraWorks, and co-founder of the CIO concept said “Basic infrastructure is a necessary foundation stone of any healthy, vibrant society, and climate change is an unavoidable truth. Climate Investor One brings together the need to address climate change on a global basis with the provision of power in geographies where development is most needed. With the collaboration of Governments and the private sector Climate Investor One points the way to mobilising sustainable capital in a manner that affects people’s lives positively. We are excited about the potential that the combination of Power Africa and Climate Investor One offers to the power deficient regions of Africa.”

Power Africa’s support of the CIO follows a recent MOU with the Government of Canada, and agreements with the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom signed at COP 21 in Paris.

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Power Africa is a U.S. Government-led initiative launched by President Obama in 2013. Power Africa’s goals are to increase electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections. Power Africa works with African governments and private sector partners to remove barriers that impede sustainable energy development in sub-Saharan Africa and to unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent. To date, Power Africa has leveraged nearly $43 billion in commitments from the public and private sectors, including more than $31 billion in commitments from the private sector. Public sector partners, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank Group (WBG), the Government of Sweden, and the European Union (EU) have collectively committed nearly $12 billion in support of sustainable energy activities across the region. For additional information, please visit the Power Africa website (www.usaid.gov/powerafrica)

FMO is the Dutch development bank. FMO has invested in the private sector in developing countries and emerging markets for more than 46 years. Its mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build a better world. FMO invests in sectors where its believes that its contribution can have the highest long-term impact: financial institutions, energy and agribusiness. Alongside partners, FMO invests in the infrastructure, manufacturing and services sectors. With an investment portfolio of €9.2 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector development banks globally. www.fmo.nl

PhoenixInfraWorks is a specialist infrastructure business focused on delivering new infrastructure though the use of innovative structures and sources of capital. Phoenix InfraWorks, by mobilising extensive experience in developing, financing and managing infrastructure projects, in combination with high quality partners, aims to deliver infrastructure solutions in emerging markets in efficient ways.

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

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United States Provides Additional $40 Million for Lake Chad Basin Humanitarian Response

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 19, 2016

During a trip to the Lake Chad Basin region to highlight the growing threat of Boko Haram, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power announced from Cameroon nearly $40 million in new humanitarian assistance to support people whose lives have been affected by Boko Haram violence. Approximately 7 million people are suffering displacement, deprivation, and disease from the consequences of armed conflict in Nigeria, including 2.2 million internally displaced. As a result of the prolonged crisis, communities who have generously hosted IDPs have also exhausted their resources and find themselves struggling to make ends meet. There are nearly 170,000 Nigerian refugees who have fled to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger – countries whose citizens have also suffered from Boko Haram attacks and consequent displacement. This funding will support the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Program (WFP), and other international aid organizations in the region to provide essential protection and assistance to those affected.

This new funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Lake Chad Basin humanitarian response in FY 2015 and FY 2016 to more than $237 million.

Funding announced today will allow UNHCR to provide Nigerian refugees with essential assistance, such as access to clean water and sanitation facilities, health care, essential household items, shelter, programs which protect children, and activities to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. It will also support UNHCR’s protection efforts across the region, including maintaining access to asylum and preventing refoulement. The U.S. contribution will also allow our partners to extend and expand the reach of emergency food assistance in northeastern Nigeria. By providing the most vulnerable people, including displaced persons, with cash and vouchers for food, the United States is promoting household food security while supporting local markets and trade.

In total, the UN estimates that there are 9.2 million people across the Lake Chad Basin region in need of immediate assistance and has requested $535 million for the 2016 response. The United States encourages other donors to join us in responding to this humanitarian crisis.

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

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An Open Letter to South Africa’s Banks – Issued on Behalf of Oakbay’s Staff

An open letter from Oakbay employees (www.OakbayInvestments.co.za) was sent on Tuesday 19 April to:

Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, ABSA
Jacques Celliers, Chief Executive Officer, FNB
Ben Kruger, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Bank
Michael Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Nedbank
Dear Maria, Jacques, Ben and Michael

The full letter is copied below:

An open letter from the employees of Oakbay to (SOS):

Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, ABSA
Jacques Celliers, Chief Executive Officer, FNB
Ben Kruger, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Bank
Michael Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Nedbank
Dear Maria, Jacques, Ben and Michael

RE: IMPASSIONED PLEA FROM OAKBAY EMPLOYEES – PLEASE SAVE OUR JOBS

We are not rich people. We are not politically connected. We have not captured the state. We have never offered any politician a job.

We do not know if any of the allegations against the Gupta family or Oakbay’s management are true. We do not care.

All we care about is providing for our families. If you do not open Oakbay’s bank accounts we cannot be paid and Oakbay cannot pay its bills.

If by the end of May the accounts remain closed, Oakbay’s businesses will close. That means that thousands of us will be without a job.

How will we pay our bills? How will we feed our families? You will not just be hurting us, but our children too. Must they go to school on an empty stomach? What happens when we cannot pay our rent or house bonds? Will our children have to live on the street?

We urge you to recognise that your actions have a human cost. Only a few weeks ago the companies we worked for were profitable and our jobs secure. We do not understand why we have become the victims in a political game.

Please reopen the bank accounts so that we do not have to suffer. We, the employees, have not done anything wrong.

We humbly ask you to hear our message.

Yours faithfully,

Employee Representatives
1. P Mosomane
2. R Russo

Download the letter in pdf format: http://www.APO.af/za5Xc0

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

Notes to Editors

Contact: corpcomm@oakbay.co.za

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Source:: An Open Letter to South Africa’s Banks – Issued on Behalf of Oakbay’s Staff

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Launch of the Commodity Security Centre and Handover of equipment to Min. of Health

Who:

Minister of Health, Dr. Joseph Kasonde Head of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Zambia

Ms Emma Donnelly UNICEF Zambia Country Representative Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim

What: Launch of the Commodity Security Centre and Handover of warehouse equipment.

When: Friday 22 April 2016

Time: 09:30 – 11:30

Where: Medical Stores Limited, Plot 6446, Mukwa Rd, off Lumumba Rd, Lusaka.

Note: UNICEF will handover warehouse equipment to the Ministry of Health procured through support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The event will also mark the launch of the Commodity Security Centre.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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“Germans want to invest 100 million Euro in the Namibian infrastructure and in a 150 Megawatt power plant”

100 million euros for the Namibian infrastructure and a 150 Megawatt power plant for Namibia are just two aims mentioned by the 16 member strong business delegation from Germany visiting Namibia from the 13th to 15th April. The delegation was led by the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) to explore business opportunities in the country. The participating business leaders were mainly interested in sectors such as mining, energy and infrastructure but also in healthcare, automation, financing and security. The German company Gauff GmbH wants to invest 100 million Euro in the Namibian infrastructure and the G.F.H. Import- and Export GmbH is ready to bring a second-hand 150 megawatt power plant to Namibia. A German-Namibian Business Seminar was held on Thursday where Roundtable Sector Sessions as well as B2B- meetings took place. The Business Seminars were also addressed by the Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Hon. Pieter van der Walt who briefed the delegation on Namibia’s conducive business environment and the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. James Sankwasa who provided highlights on some of Namibia’s infrastructure projects being supported by the German Government. The current status of energy projects and upcoming opportunities, especially in the renewable sector was introduced to the delegation by the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Obed Kandjoze. The delegation also had an exchange with i.a. Hon. Sophia Swartz, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources of the National Assembly, over dinner. To sum up the business mission, the delegation also visited Ohorongo Cement and Namibia Breweries Limited. The delegation concluded that the conditions in Namibia are very good but there were questions regarding the possible impact of new legislative projects like the draft Investment Bill and THE NEW EQUITABLE ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT FRAMEWORK (NEEEF).”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Windhoek.

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