Sep 042014
 

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Staying true to its reputation for speed, passion, teamwork and a can-do attitude, DHL Express (http://www.dpdhl.com) has grown its retail footprint in sub-Saharan Africa by an astonishing 1,000% in less than three years.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

Photo Sumesh Rahavendra: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/sumesh_rahavendra.jpg (Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa)

In what could become a business school case study, the company’s number of service points increased from 300 to over 3,300, not by building its own bricks and mortar branches but by partnering with local business owners who act as DHL resellers. Thousands of vendors – such as an electronics store in West Africa, a travel agent in East Africa and a small grocery shop in Southern Africa – now allow their customers to send DHL shipments alongside their normal offerings.

These small businesses benefit from commission on all DHL sales, an increase in foot traffic as well as being associated with a global brand.

“It’s really a win-win approach. We having given these small shop owners a unique business opportunity to grow their revenues and gain credibility by aligning themselves with an international brand. If they do well, we do well,” explains Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.

The company is willing to partner with any entrepreneurial business that sees value in becoming a DHL reseller. All partners are provided with a complete branding kit and go through an extensive training programme to ensure compliance with DHL’s requirements and procedures.

DHL has also forged similar partnerships with larger companies such as mobile network operators, retail business centres, supermarkets and fuel retailers.

Not only is partnering with existing vendors more cost effective than building its own branches, it also brings DHL closer to its customers. An entrepreneur in Ghana can send a sample to a client in the US from the same place he picks up his daily newspaper, whereas a mother in Mauritius is now able to ship a birthday gift to her son in France while her car is being filled up at the fuel station.

DHL also simplified its pricing and packaging options to fit in with the needs of its customers as opposed to the other way around. To make people aware of its retail offering, the streets of Africa are often painted yellow and red through tactical advertising campaigns involving dancing, singing and special DHL giveaways.

“Through the passion and energy of our 4,000 employees across Sub Saharan Africa, we have changed the perception that DHL only caters for multinationals and big business. Our retail customers no longer have to sit in traffic to send a document or parcel, but can literally find a DHL service point right around the corner,” says Rahavendra. “Perhaps most gratifying is the fact that we are empowering business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa with an additional opportunity to earn money and live better.”

He tells the story of a DHL reseller in Kenya whose mobile phone accessories shop is located right opposite a DHL corporate-owned store. When asked why customers would ship with her rather than go to the fully-branded DHL outlet, she said the average person relates much better with her shop, perceiving it to be affordable and less formal than the one across the road.

“In a continent like Africa where the informal economy rules, a company’s retail strategy cannot revolve around high-end shopping malls,” adds Rahavendra. “You have to operate on a level where customers can understand, feel and relate to your product. You really need to ensure that your brand connects to the average person on the street,” concludes Rahavendra.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and CEP industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenues of more than 55 billion euros in 2013.

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

Stock images available: http://www.dpdhl.com/en/media_relations/media_library.html

Sep 042014
 

DAKAR, Sénégal, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Said Djinnit, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and High-Level Representative of the Secretary-General for Nigeria, attended yesterday the Abuja Ministerial Meeting on Security. The Ministerial Conference was a follow-up to three previous meetings in Paris, London and Washington on 17 May, 12 June and 5 August respectively.

The High-Level Representative for Nigeria conveyed the message of the Secretary-General to the meeting, highlighting the deep concern of the United Nations at the continuous violence in North-Eastern Nigeria, including the killing and abduction of innocent civilians.

The Secretary-General reaffirms the United Nations’ solidarity with the victims as well as the people of Nigeria who face extremism and terror, and expresses concern about the appalling human rights violations, and the dire humanitarian situation in the North East, aggravated by rising food insecurity and the disruption of schooling and farming. “In the face of these daunting challenges, national unity will be crucial”, says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, further stressing the need to strengthen regional cooperation to tackle the increasing activities of Boko Haram in the countries of the region.

In his intervention, the High Level Representative further called on the Nigerian authorities to strengthen national unity against the threat of terrorism, and pledged the continuous support of the international community to Nigeria’s efforts to fight terrorism, free all the abducted civilians including the Chibok schoolgirls and address the larger insecurity in the country.

The meeting welcomed progress achieved towards the implementation of decisions made at the earlier meetings in Paris and London. The participants noted with satisfaction the technical support and assistance provided by strategic partners in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. They commended progress on girls’ education in Nigeria and the efforts of the Nigerian government in setting up the victims support fund. While underscoring the need for effective regional cooperation against Boko Haram, the participants highlighted the importance to ensure that counter-terrorism activities are carried out in accordance with international human rights standards.

The meeting was attended by Ministers of Cameroon, France, the United Kingdom and Nigeria, and representatives of Benin, Chad, Niger, the United States, Canada, China, the United Nations, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Organization for Islamic Conference.

Sep 042014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs is to announce tomorrow that EU support for Benin in 2014-2020 will amount to almost €450 million. This announcement will be made during his visit to Benin on 4 and 5 September 2014.

In addition to continuing to support the governance sector, the EU is to provide aid for the agricultural and energy sectors. Aid for the energy sector will focus on improving the population’s access to energy, promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency.

The visit will confirm the EU’s commitment to helping Benin in its development process. It will also provide an opportunity for an exchange of views between Commissioner Piebalgs and the Benin authorities on economic and development issues, the results achieved and the outlook for future cooperation between the EU and Benin.

Prior to his arrival in Benin, Commissioner Piebalgs declared, ‘Our historic commitment to Benin is to be renewed and consolidated because we have taken note of the efforts the country has made to combat poverty. I applaud the commitment of the authorities to achieving the Millennium Development Goals’.

‘We appreciate the scale of the challenges involved in improving living standards in Benin against a background of population growth, and we want to support the ambitious policy of the national authorities by targeting our aid on key sectors for the population, such as good governance, access to energy and the development of more sustainable agriculture.’

During Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit, the EU and Benin will also sign four financing agreements for a total of €47 million (31 billion CFA francs). These concern the Economic Governance Support Project (€5 million), the ‘Easier Access to Drinking Water for All’ Water Sector Support Project (€19 million), the Justice Support Programme (€8 million) and the Benin/Niger Transport Programme (€15 million).

Commissioner’s schedule

In the course of his visit to Benin, Commissioner Piebalgs will hold talks with President Boni Yayi. He will reaffirm the existing partnership between Benin and the EU and, in particular, express support for reforms to place the public finances on a sounder footing.

Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Port of Cotonou with President Boni Yayi. He will also attend a working meeting at the offices of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), which is part-funded by the EU.

Background

Description of the four Financing Agreements that the EU and Benin will sign during Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit:

The ‘Easier Access to Drinking Water for All’ Water Sector Support Project (€19 million) is designed to significantly increase access to drinking water and to raise hygiene standards in rural areas. In the light of developments in drinking water coverage, there are still reasons to hope that Benin will achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the area of drinking water provision by 2015. The EU is pleased that the project will help to achieve this goal by supplying drinking water to almost 500 000 people.

The Economic Governance Support Project (€5 million) will help to make the management and information system for public finances, human resources and statistics more efficient.

The Benin/Niger Transport Programme (€15 million) will enable the Government of Benin to conduct additional studies (market study, logistical study, sectoral study) and will provide technical assistance to all the public and semi-public operators in the logistics chain.

Lastly, the Justice Support Programme (€8 million) is designed to:

1) support improvements to administration, coordination and planning of justice at the central level of the Ministry of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights;

2) enable provision of a high-quality service to individuals by the courts and the Ministry’s decentralised departments;

3) promote respect for human rights in prisons and the setting-up of social and vocational rehabilitation for prisoners, particularly minors in conflict with the law.

Sep 042014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law are taking place in the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi with dire consequences for civilians and civilian infrastructure, a new UN report released Thursday warns.

The joint report by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office gives an overview of abuses including indiscriminate shelling and attacks on civilian objects, the shelling of hospitals, the abduction of civilians, torture and unlawful killings. It details accounts of civilian casualties including women, children and foreign nationals.

The report states that fighters appear to disregard the likely impact of their action on civilians and have inadequate training and discipline. In addition, the use of badly maintained and faulty weapons and ammunition increases inaccuracy. These factors suggest that many attacks carried out in Tripoli and Benghazi are indiscriminate.

Between mid-May and the end of August, which is the period covered by the report, dozens of civilians were reportedly abducted in Tripoli and Benghazi solely for their actual or suspected tribal, family or religious affiliation, and have remained missing since the time of their abduction. Such abductions may amount to enforced disappearances if the parties to the conflict do not acknowledge their whereabouts, the report states. UNSMIL is raising cases of those detained with the relevant armed groups and welcomes further information from concerned parties,

“Protection of civilians must be a priority,” the report states. “All armed groups must comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack.”

“All armed groups must desist from violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular all acts that may amount to war crimes, including indiscriminate shelling, enforced disappearances, murder, abductions, torture and other ill-treatment, and destruction of property.”

The report urges all armed groups to release or hand over to the justice system individuals who they have detained. It also stresses that the lack of compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law by one party does not absolve other parties from their obligations to comply with these standards.

“All armed groups must remove from active duty and hand over to the justice system those among their members suspected of having committed abuses,” the report warns

“Political or military leaders can be held criminally responsible not only if they order crimes, but also if they are in a position to stop them and do not do so.”

UNSMIL also estimates that at least 100,000 Libyans have been internally displaced by the fighting including Tawerghans who were already in their displacement camps since 2011, and that a further 150,000 people, including many migrant workers, have left the country.

Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are particularly exposed in the current context and are facing difficulties in crossing borders.

The report also notes the continued harassment of and attacks against journalists by all parties to the conflict, including restrictions of movement, confiscation of equipment, abductions and assassinations.

The fighting has also severely affected the administration of justice. The courts in Tripoli and Benghazi effectively stopped functioning as a result.

The deepening political polarization, the fighting and the risk of retaliation by armed groups have generated a climate of fear in which people are reluctant to talk about certain violations and abuses. It has also led many activists, including in particular women activists, to leave the country.

UNSMIL and OHCHR have appealed to all sides of the conflict to cease all armed hostilities and engage in an inclusive political dialogue to build a state based on the respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. UNSMIL continues to engage with all sides to end the fighting and ensure that civilians are protected.

Sep 042014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Facing massive displacement that has resulted from the fighting, health services in South Sudan are working under enormous pressure. Since the outbreak of violence in December, the ICRC has worked together with the South Sudan Red Cross to save lives and perform more than 2,600 operations.

“Recent fighting in South Sudan has resulted in large numbers of people being wounded,” said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC delegation in the country. “ICRC medical staff have been sent to several places and are now working around the clock to treat the injured.”

Since last December, health services in the country have been overstretched. “The lack of security has caused many health workers to flee. There have also been reports of health workers being attacked or killed,” said Kerry Page, an ICRC health programme coordinator in South Sudan. “In addition, several care facilities have been damaged or looted, and since it’s extremely difficult to bring in medical supplies to the places that need them most, the basic health needs of many people simply cannot be met.”

From the very beginning of the current armed conflict, the ICRC has been sending in specialized medical personnel to perform life-saving operations. Four surgical teams, each consisting of an anaesthetist and three nurses as well as a surgeon, have performed more than 2,600 surgical procedures on weapon-wounded patients in 13 health facilities across the country. In parallel with these efforts, South Sudan Red Cross volunteers have delivered medical supplies, dressed wounds, served as interpreters for the surgical teams, moved patients and performed many other essential tasks relating to patient care.

Because well-equipped medical facilities are either unavailable or damaged, ICRC surgical teams are working in basic care facilities or in vacant buildings with simple rooms converted into operating theatres. “The medical teams are rapidly flown in, even to remote locations, when we have confirmed reports of large numbers of casualties,” said Ms Page. “It’s rather difficult, but there’s no other way to provide care in most instances. The surgical programme in South Sudan is one of the largest run by the ICRC in the world, and it is most likely the most difficult one in terms of work and living conditions. During the rainy season, the staff have an additional burden to contend with.”

Displacement adds to the strain

The health-care system is having to cope not only with large numbers of casualties, but also with the displacement of the local population. Fleeing danger, many people, including women and children, travel long distances in search of the closest safe haven. Their health needs are considerable, and local services are usually not able to meet them on their own. In many places affected by violence, small towns and villages have turned into new population centres overnight.

“The pressure that this influx of people has put on already weak health-care infrastructure has been enormous,” said Ms Page. “In Upper Nile state, the population in and around Kodok tripled in a matter of days. Some 100,000 civilians have taken refuge there, and because the situation remains unpredictable, they are not likely to leave soon.”

Currently, a four-member ICRC surgical team are working together with a paediatrician and a nurse in Kodok’s primary health-care centre, where they see more than 600 patients every week. The ICRC is also improving the facility’s water system, repairing its electrical system and building a new waiting area.

These efforts are aimed at minimizing the disruption to health services for displaced people and local residents alike. The ICRC has also started to scale up support to some primary health-care facilities in conflict-stricken areas, with a focus on resuming routine immunizations and ante-natal care, and on making sure that an adequate supply of medicines and other medical items is available.

Since December, in addition to the surgical work and paediatric care it has provided in Kodok’s health-care centre, the ICRC has:

• assisted nearly 900 people with disabilities in three physical rehabilitation centres that it runs or supports;

• delivered first-aid and surgical supplies to 34 first-aid and other health-care facilities.

In addition, South Sudan Red Cross personnel have dressed wounds for patients over 7,000 times.

Since the outbreak of the armed conflict in December 2013, the ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross have been working in partnership. Their efforts have been complemented by the activities of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and a number of national Red Cross societies.

Sep 042014
 

JUBA, South Sudan, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A significant decline in the number of new cholera cases in South Sudan in recent weeks has prompted the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to scale down its cholera operations. Instead it will redirect resources towards other unmet health needs in the country, where more than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict.

Since the cholera outbreak was declared on 15 May, MSF teams have provided treatment to 3,300 patients in the capital Juba, in Torit in Eastern Equatoria state and in Wau Shiluk in Upper Nile state. This is more than half of the 5,561 total cholera cases officially recorded countrywide in the current outbreak.

“Deteriorating living conditions for hundreds of thousands of people, combined with the lack of functioning health facilities, created a perfect storm for the spread of the disease earlier this year,” says Brian Moller, MSF’s head of mission in South Sudan.

“While MSF will remain vigilant, it looks like the efforts of the Ministry of Health and other organisations, including MSF, have helped bring the epidemic under control,” Moller continues.

As part of its cholera response, MSF teams carried out the first mass cholera vaccination campaigns ever done in South Sudan, immunising a total of 200,000 displaced people and host families in Malakal, Minkamen and Juba against the disease. MSF teams also vaccinated a further 150,000 South Sudanese refugees in Gambella camp, Ethiopia, to prevent the outbreak spreading beyond South Sudan’s borders.

Cholera vaccinations provide vulnerable communities with a better chance of avoiding an outbreak. While the vaccination itself only provides an estimated 65 percent chance of protection, it is one of a number of measures that can help reduce the spread of the disease, alongside improving people’s living conditions, and ensuring they have proper sanitation and clean drinking water.

MSF teams also responded by rapidly constructing treatment centres in Juba and setting up oral rehydration points across the city and in other affected locations. At the same time, MSF worked closely with the South Sudanese authorities and other partners to improve people’s access to safe drinking water and to train health staff in dealing with the outbreak.

While MSF is reducing its cholera response in South Sudan, ongoing health promotion and community awareness activities will be essential to prevent a recurrence of the disease.

After fighting broke out in Juba on 15 December 2013, and subsequently in several other states, MSF increased its capacity to rapidly respond to emergency medical needs in the country. More than 3,800 MSF staff are now running 26 medical and non-medical programmes, as well as outreach activities, in nine of South Sudan’s ten states, providing basic healthcare, nutritional support, surgery, vaccinations and clean drinking water to people who have fled their homes.

MSF is committed to providing lifesaving medical care in South Sudan, offering aid to people affected by the current crisis as well as to many others who are vulnerable due to lack of access to healthcare in the country and within the region. In Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, MSF has set up emergency projects to provide assistance to thousands of South Sudanese who have taken refuge across the borders.

Sep 042014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Situation assessment – 3 September 2014
The Minister of Health of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, has now reported 3 confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt, the count…

Sep 042014
 

LUANDA, Angola, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On August, 29, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Angola.

After a strong growth in 2013 estimated at 6.8 percent, economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.9 percent despite a decline in oil output. Robust growth in the nonoil economy, mainly driven by a very good performance in the agricultural sector, is expected to offset a temporary but considerable drop in oil production.2 Ongoing investments in agriculture are expected to pay off with an increase in agriculture production by about 11½ percent in 2014. Other sectors such as manufacturing, electricity and services, are also expected to contribute. Inflation projected to reach 7½ percent by end-2014 is well within the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA)’s objective. The overall fiscal balance, which was in surplus in the last four years, is expected to deteriorate substantially in 2014, reaching a deficit of around 4 percent of GDP. Oil revenue fell by 14 percent during January-May 2014, mainly due to a 10 percent decline in oil production related to unscheduled maintenance and repair work in some oil fields. International reserves at the BNA remain adequate at an equivalent of 7¾ months of imports.

Notwithstanding strong economic growth over the past decade, poverty and income inequality remain a challenge. The 2009 household expenditure survey, released in 2011, shows that Angola’s income distribution is among the most unequal in sub-Saharan Africa, with the top 10 percent of income earners concentrating one-third of total income, and puts the relative poverty headcount ratio in Angola at 37 percent (60 percent in rural areas).

Progress in structural reforms has been strong. The long-awaited non-oil tax reform was approved by the National Assembly on July 4, 2014, which is a crucial step toward reducing the budget’s heavy reliance on oil revenue. Public financial management (PFM) reforms also made headways with the introduction of two critical measures to control the proliferation of domestic expenditure arrears: (i) the budget framework law now includes a clear definition of arrears consistent with international best practice; and (ii) a new control procedure requires the confirmation by the Finance Ministry of all contracts above US$1.5 million. The Economy Ministry has also continued with the implementation of a number of measures aimed at improving the business environment, including the Angola Invest program.

The medium-term economic growth prospects remain favorable. The oil sector is expected to recover and grow by 2¼ percent on average over the next five years, as the decline in production in some oil fields is more than compensated by the commissioning of seven new fields, including a first phase of a pre-salt oil field expected to start operating in 2017. Large investments in the nonoil sector are expected to generate much needed diversification and job creation, mainly in the agricultural sector, but also in electricity, manufacturing, and services. The projected strong growth in the nonoil sector of about 7¾ percent on average over the next five years is also expected to increase domestic competition, thus contributing to reducing inflation further. Growth prospects over the longer term, however, are uncertain but should be firmed up during 2015, as ongoing pre-salt prospection should help to determine the amount of commercially viable oil reserves.

Executive Board Assessment3

Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal and commended the authorities for the progress made toward macroeconomic stability, having reached a historically low level of inflation and an adequate level of international reserves. Directors welcomed the improved economic outlook, but noted that risks require additional efforts to strengthen policies. In the long run, reducing the dependence on oil is key to containing external vulnerabilities and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.

Directors concurred on the need to preserve space for rebuilding infrastructure and reducing poverty and inequality, while saving part of the oil wealth for future generations. This requires addressing emerging fiscal deficits and returning to fiscal surpluses over the medium term, including by strengthening nonoil revenue administration, modernizing public sector wage policy, and gradually eliminating costly and regressive fuel subsidies while expanding well targeted social safety nets. Taking note of the recent partial tax amnesty, Directors encouraged the authorities to strictly enforce tax liabilities going forward to avoid any negative impact on tax collection.

Directors emphasized the need for a coherent asset liability management framework, including a fiscal stabilization fund that could improve the management of Angola’s natural resource wealth and protect annual budgets against volatile oil revenue. They noted the very low efficiency of public investment and saw merit in developing a system of public investment management that would help meet Angola’s infrastructure needs at a lower cost. They welcomed the recent measures to strengthen public financial management and end domestic payment arrears, and looked forward to their steadfast implementation.

Directors supported the authorities’ efforts to de dollarize the economy and strengthen financial stability, and underscored that effective and evenhanded implementation of prudential norms is necessary to foster trust in the banking system. In this regard, they welcomed the extraordinary measures taken to address the problems at Banco Espírito Santo Angola and the new legislation clarifying procedures for the granting of public guarantees, and encouraged actions to address the outstanding weaknesses in the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism framework.

Directors saw the current conditions of relative stability and low inflation as an opportunity to introduce some exchange rate flexibility, which would help reduce dollarization and develop more effective monetary instruments. They noted that reserve levels are currently adequate and should be maintained to provide an appropriate buffer against external shocks.

Directors stressed that a sustainable reduction in poverty is best achieved through the development of small and medium size enterprises in the private, nonoil sector. They were encouraged by the authorities’ efforts to diversify the economy and improve the business environment and competiveness. They were concerned, however, by the increasing use of trade protection, and recommended a periodic review of the recently introduced import tariff schedule with a view to lowering tariffs within a specific timeframe.

Directors welcomed progress on the compilation and dissemination of economic statistics, and encouraged the authorities to address the remaining gaps in the production of more detailed and timely fiscal accounts and in the coverage of the balance of payments.

Sep 042014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Two weeks after my visit to Guinea and Sierra Leone, the situation continues to get worse, and there is no end in sight. To make an impact on this crisis, we need an urgent, sustained response from all sectors – governments, the international community, aid organizations, media and corporate partners. We need this response now.

Our National Red Cross Societies and volunteers have been on the front line of the response since the epidemic emerged six months ago, and they are witness to the slow, steady deterioration of the situation. More than 1,900 people have died so far; hope and optimism are being eroded.

In recent months, more than 1,700 Red Cross volunteers have been working hard, assisting with body management, tracing those who had been in contact with patients, providing psychological support and conducting preventive education at community level. Their capacity is stretched to the limit, and they are literally exhausted.

Fear, misconceptions and stigmatization fuel a vicious cycle that hampers an effective response at community level. This cycle can only be broken with a sustained mobilization from us all in close collaboration with affected communities.

An effective response requires two elements.

Firstly, this battle is unwinnable if we fail to dispel the myths about Ebola in communities and at national and international levels. We must be more robust in our promotion of precautions and behaviours that will keep people safe and stop the spread of the disease. Ignorance leads to panic or paralysis; we cannot have either.

And secondly we must encourage, inspire and enable the national and international response to the epidemic to ensure it car rise to this unprecedented challenge. No one single actor can make a decisive difference in this operation, but together we can turn the tide.

Red Cross volunteers themselves come from the villages at the heart of the crisis, they are confronting Ebola every day. A solid bond of trust allows them to work within the community. They have the local knowledge to dispel the fears, rumours and myths surrounding this disease. They can go into communities where previously roads were blocked and medical interventions refused; communities are now allowing volunteers to bury their dead safely and with dignity, despite the lack of customary ceremonial rites.

The IFRC fully supports – and echoes – the call from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders for the international community to urgently deploy bio-disaster facilities to the region to respond effectively to the epidemic.

There is also an urgent need to intensify and sustain our efforts to improve risk communication and mass sensitization at community level.

We – together – must match our response to the gravity of the epidemic in affected countries, and to expand preventive measures and preparedness in neighbouring countries. We need more people, more funds, more resources. And we need them now.

In two weeks, the crisis has only grown more pressing. Time is of the essence if we want to control and contain Ebola.

Sep 032014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 455th meeting, held on 2 September 2014, at the level of Heads of State and Government, adopted the following decision on the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa:

Council,

1. Takes note of the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa [PSC/AHG/2(CDLV)] and the briefing made by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), as well as the statements made by the members of Council. Council further takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Djibouti and Somalia, the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), members of the UN Security Council and other partners;

2. Recalls its earlier pronouncements on the issue of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, notably communiqués PSC/PR/COMM.(CCXLVIX), PSC/PR/COMM.2(CCCIII) and PSC/PR/COMM.1 (CCCXLI) adopted at its 249th, 303rd and 341st meetings held on 22 November 2010, 8 December 2011 and 13 November 2012, respectively, in pursuance of articles 3 (d) and 7 (i) of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council on the role of Council in the coordination and harmonization of continental efforts to prevent and combat terrorism in all its aspects;

3. Further recalls resolution AHG/Res.213(XXVIII) on the Strengthening of Cooperation and Coordination among African States, adopted by the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), held in Dakar, Senegal, from 29 June to 1 July 1992, in which the Assembly called upon Member States to enhance cooperation and coordination in order to fight the phenomena of extremism and terrorism, as well as Declaration AHG/Del.2(XXX) on the Code of Conduct for Inter-African Relations, adopted by the 30th Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Tunis, Tunisia, from 13 to 15 June 1994, in which the Assembly rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism, including those based on sectarianism, tribalism, ethnicity and religion;

4. Also recalls Decisions Assembly/AU/Dec.256(XIII) on combating the payment of ransom to terrorist groups and Assembly/AU/Dec.311(XV) on the prevention and combatting of terrorism, adopted by the Assembly of the Union at its 13th and 14th Ordinary Sessions held in Sirte, Libya, and Kampala, Uganda, from 1 to 3 July 2009 and from 25 to 27 July 2010, respectively, as well as paragraph 22 of Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.536(XXIII) on the Report of the Peace and Security Council on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa, adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from 26 to 27 June 2014 ;

5. Reiterates the AU’s deep concern over the worsening scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, particularly in Northern Africa, the Sahelo-Saharan region, Central and Eastern Africa, and the growing linkages between terrorism and violent extremism, on the one hand, and transnational organized crime, on the other, notably drug and human trafficking, money laundering, illicit trafficking in firearms and mercenarism, and the threat this situation poses to peace, security, stability and development in Africa. Council also expresses concern over the relations between negative forces and terrorist groups;

6. Reiterate its strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism committed on the continent by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, notably by Al Shabaab, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), Ansar Eddin, Al-Murabitoun, the Ansar al-Sharia groups, Boko Haram, Ansaru and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Council reiterates the AU’s determination to rid Africa of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, noting that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or group. Council expresses the AU’s full solidarity with the affected countries and the victims of terrorism;

7. Reaffirms the relevant provisions of the Common African Defense and Security Policy (CADSP), adopted by the 2nd Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held in Sirte, Libya, on 28 February 2004, as well as those of the AU Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact, adopted by the 4th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 30 to 31 January 2005, in particular the indivisibility of the security of the African States, as spelt out in paragraph 12 (i) of the CADSP. In this respect, Council stresses that any terrorist attack on one African State shall be considered as an attack on the continent as a whole, which will result in the provision of necessary assistance and support to the affected Member State(s), in line with the relevant AU instruments. In this context, Council welcomes the Abuja Statement adopted by the International Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development – Agenda for 21st Century Africa, held on 27 February 2014;

8. Reiterates the continued relevance of the instruments adopted by the OAU/AU over the past years to address the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, notably the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, adopted by the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU, held in Algiers, Algeria, from 12 to 14 July 1999, and the Supplementary Protocol adopted by the 3rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa, from 6 to 8 July 2004, as well as the 2002 AU Plan of Action, adopted by the 1st AU High-Level Inter-Governmental Meeting on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, held in Algiers, from 11 to 14 September 2002;

9. Welcomes the efforts made by the Member States to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism, through enhanced legislation, operational capability and coordination among relevant national structures, and commends the cooperative mechanisms established to address country- and region-specific issues, most notably the Sahel Fusion and Liaison Unit (UFL), the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region, the AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), which strengthened the operational capability of the countries affected by the atrocities of the LRA, and the Fusion and Liaison Unit of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which subsequently evolved into a Joint Operations Coordination Centre (JOCC), in order to strengthen the capacity of the Somali security agencies in intelligence gathering and analysis. Council further commends AMISOM for the gains it has made recently in the course of its ongoing Operation Indian Ocean, which has resulted in the capture of several strategic towns from Al-Shabaab;

10. Commends the Commission for its efforts, including through the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Chairperson’s Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, in support of measures taken by Member States to counter terrorism. In this respect, Council notes with appreciation the support provided to Member States in undertaking national threat assessments, the steps taken to build and enhance the capacity of their security institutions through training in relevant areas and promote the exchange of intelligence through the ACSRT national Focal Points, and the elaboration of an African anti-terrorism Model Law to facilitate the updating, as necessary, of their national legislation, in fulfilment of their international obligations;

11. Further commends the RECs/RMs, for the important role they are playing, particularly in developing regional strategies and common action in the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism;

12. Acknowledges the contribution of CISSA, in particular the provision of counter-terrorism early warning, and welcomes the recommendations of the 11th Ordinary Session of the CISSA Conference on the theme: Enhancing Intelligence Cooperation and Coordination to Address Radicalization and Extremism in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 28 August 2014;

13. Notes with satisfaction the establishment of the African Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), as endorsed in decision EX.CL/Dec.820(XXV) adopted by the 25th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, held in Malabo, from 20 to 24 June 2014, and the convening of the 1st meeting of AFRIPOL ad hoc Committee, which took place in Addis Ababa, on 2 July 2014. Council recognizes the important role that AFRIPOL is expected to play in enhancing inter-state police cooperation towards addressing the various challenges related to transnational crimes;

14. Welcomes the partnerships developed with key international stakeholders, notably the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the UN Security Council Committees established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1540 (2004), as well as the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), the EU and bilateral partners. In this respect, Council acknowledges the invaluable contribution of these bodies in promoting best practices and guidelines and in providing technical expertise to Member States, as well as the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the Strategies developed by the AU and the EU. Council expresses appreciation to those partners which have extended financial and technical support to Member States, the Commission and the ACSRT;

15. Further welcomes the generous contribution of the sum of 10 million US dollars made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in support of the AU’s efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism and to strengthen the AU-OIC partnership in this field, as announced by the Secretary-General of the OIC, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, in his declaration to Council;

16. Expresses concern that, despite the progress made in developing a comprehensive normative and operational counter-terrorism framework, serious gaps continue to exist in terms of implementation and follow-up, thus undermining the effectiveness of Africa’s response to the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. Accordingly, Council stresses the urgency for an action-oriented approach to give concrete expression to the commitment made by the Member States to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations. In this respect, Council:

(i) reiterates its call to the Member States that have not yet done so to urgently take the necessary steps to become party to the 1999 Convention and the 2004 Supplementary Protocol, as well as to the relevant international instruments adopted under the auspices of the United Nations. Council encourages all Member States concerned to become party to the 1999 Convention and its 2004 Protocol before the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, in January 2015. Council also stresses the need for the urgent signature and ratification of the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention), adopted by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, which contains provisions on cooperation in the area of security, including combating terrorism and transnational organized crime;

(ii) stresses the imperative for all states party to the relevant African and international instruments to implement in full all the provisions contained therein, particularly with respect to legislative and judicial measures, border control, suppressing the financing of terrorism and anti-money laundering, denying safe havens to terrorist and criminal groups, exchange of information, coordination at regional, continental and international levels, as well as strengthening the capacity of their law enforcement organs and armed forces;

(iii) urges Member States to take the necessary steps to ensure that their territories are not used as recruitment grounds and to prevent their nationals from participating in terrorist activities elsewhere on the continent and beyond and, in this respect, to take measures to counter the recruitment methods and propaganda being used by the terrorist groups;

(iv) urges Member States to take the measures required to combat effectively transnational organized crime, in line with the relevant African and international instruments, and to ensure that terrorist groups do not benefit from the proceeds of such criminal activities, including drug trafficking, to finance their activities;

(v) further urges Member States to ensure that their nationals or other persons and entities within their territories who willfully provide or collect funds for the benefit of persons or entities who commit, or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts, are punished by penalties commensurate with the grave nature of such acts;

(vi) requests Member States to submit, in line with the provision of the 2004 Protocol, annual reports to Council on measures taken to combat and prevent terrorism, notably those listed in paragraph 11 (ii & iii) above, and to notify it of all terrorist activities in their territories as soon as they occur;

(vii) further requests Member States that have not yet done so to appoint, by the end of 2014, national Focal Points for liaison and coordination with the ACSRT, bearing in mind the need to designate in such positions suitable individuals with the required clearance level to access information and decision-makers in the intelligence and security services;

(viii) encourages Member States to develop comprehensive national counter-terrorism strategies covering prevention, response and reconstruction;

(ix) further encourages the establishment, where required, of flexible and action-oriented processes for intelligence sharing and security cooperation at regional levels, building on the successes of, and lessons learned from, the Sahel UFL, the Nouakchott Process and the RCI-LRA; and

(x) calls upon Member States to make financial contributions to facilitate the implementation of the AU counter-terrorism framework and to second, upon request by the Commission and at their own expenses, technical expertise to the ACSRT;

17. Expresses its determination to ensure the effective functioning of its Committee on Counter-Terrorism, established in pursuance of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CCXLVIX), and requests all Member States to extend full cooperation to the Committee in the discharge of its mandate;

18. Calls upon the Member States participating in the Nouakchott Process to expedite the implementation of the various steps agreed upon during the meetings of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and in particular: (i) the convening of meetings of the Chiefs of Defense Staff and Ministers of Defense to consider generic Concepts of Operations for joint patrols and mixed units, as well as the modalities for strengthening the existing cooperation structures; (ii) the convening of a Summit, to mobilize further political support for the Process; and (iii) the establishment of a lean Secretariat in Niamey, Niger, to better coordinate the implementation of the Nouakchott Process;

19. Urges the countries concerned to take the necessary steps towards operationalizing the mechanism agreed upon to address more effectively the threat posed by Boko Haram and notes with appreciation the plan by the Commission, in line with the relevant AU decisions, to dispatch a team to consider ways to support these efforts, including through support to existing regional structures, such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the newly-inaugurated Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU) for the countries affected by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group. Council looks forward to the conclusions of the meeting of the concerned countries scheduled to take place in Niamey, in November 2014. Council requests the Commission to contribute effectively to greater international engagement for the rehabilitation and development of the Lake Chad Basin, as part of the efforts to address comprehensively the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group;

20. Reaffirms the need for sustained efforts to deal in a holistic, collective and coordinated manner with the multidimensional challenges confronting the Sahel region, underscores the important role of the Ministerial Platform set up in November 2013 and tasked, with the support of the AU/UN Technical Secretariat, to coordinate international efforts for the Sahel, and looks forward to the effective and coordinated implementation of the UN, AU and EU Strategies for the Sahel;

21. Tasks the Commission to pursue and intensify its efforts in support of Member States, with particular attention to:

(i) the elaboration of an African arrest warrant for persons charged with or convicted of terrorist acts, including the convening of a meeting of governmental experts on the matter by the first quarter of 2015;

(ii) the holding of regional sensitization workshops on the African and international instruments, in collaboration with the RECs/RMs and relevant partners, between now and the first half of 2015;

(iii) supporting and facilitating regional cooperation initiatives and mechanisms, to address specific transnational threats, building on the experiences of the RCI-LRA and the Nouakchott Process, including making specific recommendations on the possible establishment of specialized joint counter-terrorism units at sub-regional and regional levels and within the framework of the African Standby Force (ASF) and, pending the achievement of the ASF full operational capability, in the context of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC);

(iv) assessing the implementation status of the 2002 Plan of Action and the identification of the steps required to address the challenges encountered, the results of which will be submitted to a high-level inter-governmental meeting on the prevention and combating of terrorism, building on the two previous meetings held in Algiers in 2002 and in 2004;

(v) the holding of a high-level meeting of Member States on the issue of financing of terrorism, with a view to identifying practical measures to address this problem more effectively;

(vi) supporting the full and early operationalization of AFRIPOL, in line with decision EX.CL/Dec.820(XXV), and the implementation of the conclusions of the 1st meeting of the AFRIPOL ad hoc Committee, including the convening of the next meeting of this Committee, scheduled to take place in Kampala, in October 2014; and

(vii) developing a concept note on the possible establishment of a special fund dedicated to supporting counter-terrorism efforts on the continent;

22. Urges CISSA to ensure the effective implementation of all the recommendations adopted at its 11th Ordinary Session, as well as to put in place expeditiously the planned secure communication system among the African intelligence and security services, in order to facilitate coordination and the timely exchange of intelligence;

23. Further urges the RECs/RMs to take all the steps called for by Article 6 of the 2004 Protocol, in order to enhance regional efforts against terrorism and violent extremism, including, where appropriate, designating Focal Points, promoting cooperation at regional level in the implementation of all aspects of the Protocol, assisting Member States in the implementation of regional, continental and international instruments, and reporting regularly to Council, through the Commission, on measures taken at regional levels;

24. Reiterates the AU’s strong rejection and condemnation of the payment of ransom to terrorist groups and, in this respect, recalls decisions Assembly/AU/Dec.256(XIII) and Assembly/AU/Dec. 311(XV). Council, while welcoming the adoption by the United Nations Security Council, on 27 January 2014, of resolution 2133(2014), which, inter alia, calls upon all Member States to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payment or political concessions, reiterates its call to the UN General Assembly to include this issue on its agenda and to initiate negotiations, with a view to elaborating a supplementary Protocol to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 9 December 1999 or to the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages of 3 June 1983. In the meantime, Council urges Member States to incorporate the prohibition of the payment of ransom to terrorist groups into their national legislations, on the basis of the relevant provisions of the AU anti-terrorism Model Law;

25. Expresses deep concern at the reported financial flows emanating from outside the continent in support of terrorist and extremist groups, and requests the Committee on Counter-Terrorism to investigate this matter, with the aim of determining the extent of the problem and making recommendations on how to address it, calling for an immediate end to such practices. Council also expresses deep concern about external interferences that exacerbate African conflicts, thereby creating a conducive environment for the spread of terrorism;

26. Stresses the need for enhanced collaboration between the AU and the international partners in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, as this scourge is a global phenomenon which poses a serious threat to international peace and security. Council calls upon partner states to prevent the use of their territories for the planning of terrorist acts on the African continent. Council further calls upon international partners to minimize, as much as possible, the negative impact of the preventive measures they take against terrorism on the economies of the concerned African countries;

27. Requests the Commission to convene an annual consultative forum with the relevant international partners, to harmonize their respective strategies and facilitate and promote action-oriented collaboration and coordination, as well as to mobilize further support for the African-led counter-terrorism efforts, including facilitating the acquisition of the required technologies, such as communication systems, to enable law enforcement agencies effectively carry out their operations;

28. Emphasizes the imperative need, in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, to uphold the highest standards of human rights and International Humanitarian Law, bearing in mind the provisions of Article 3(1k) of the 2004 Protocol. In this respect, Council requests the Commission to work closely with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other stakeholders to further support Member States efforts to promote and ensure the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law while preventing and combating terrorism;

29. Further emphasizes the need to address all conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, including prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization and poor governance, stressing however that none of these conditions can excuse or justify acts of terrorism. Council emphasizes the importance of comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies empowering civil society organizations, including religious leaders and women, as well as vulnerable groups, and covering not only security and law enforcement, but also poverty eradication, job creation and development. Council encourages Member States to ensure the successful implementation of their economic development and poverty alleviation policies and programmes, including through start-up ventures for the youth and promotion of vocational and technical training. In this respect, Council calls upon the Commission, the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, to continue providing the necessary technical support to Member States;

30. Stresses the urgency, in countering terrorism and violent extremism, of renewed efforts to address the prevailing conflict and crisis situations on the continent, particularly in Somalia, Libya and Northern Mali and other affected areas, and to promote a culture of tolerance and political dialogue, bearing in mind decision Assembly/AU/Dec.501(XXII) declaring 2014 – 2024 as the “Madiba Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation in Africa”, adopted by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa from 30 to 31 January 2014, as well as the pledge made by the Heads of State and Government to silence the guns and bring a definite end to all conflicts on the continent, as contained in the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, adopted by the Assembly of the Union, on 25 May 2013;

31. Supports the legitimate institutions in Libya, as represented by the provisional Government, the House of Representatives and the Constitutional Commission responsible for the drafting of the Libyan Constitution, and calls upon the AU to remain fully engaged in the political process in Libya by providing concrete assistance in the fields of institution-building, promotion of national dialogue and reconciliation, as well as disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion;

32. Expresses appreciation to the people and Government of the Republic of Kenya for hosting the present meeting of Council and for the arrangements made to ensure its smooth and successful holding;

33. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.