Merck Supports Free Diabetes Screening For More Than 19,000 Community Members in India and Africa on World Diabetes Day, as Part of Merck Diabetes Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On the occasion of World Diabetes Day (WDD), Merck is conducting Diabetes awareness camps in India, Kenya and Ghana in collaboration with Maharashtra University and Government in India and with Kenya Ministry of health, Diabetes Management and Information center (DMI) and National Diabetes Association of Ghana.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), The world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, has rolled out today its Diabetes awareness and prevention campaign in collaboration with Universities of health sciences, Ministries of health and Diabetes patients associations in Africa and India in order to improve diabetes awareness and community health level.

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On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck, the German pharmaceutical and Chemical Company has played a great role to improve access to better diabetes care through supporting Diabetes awareness at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra and several locations in both Kenya,Ghana and Uganda, aiming to screen and educate more than 19,000 community members across Asia and Africa. Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes.

This great initiative is part of Merck Diabetes Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) which has been launched in 2012 with a target to reach 30000 community members with free diabetes screening and education by end of 2018. The Merck Diabetes CAP has reached 23000 community members by 2014, which exceeds their initial target for this period.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma said: “By partnering with universities, Ministries of Health, patients associations and local research institutes , we hope to quickly achieve our objective of advancing healthcare capacities and contributing to social and economic development of Africa and Asia. Our goal is to improve the healthcare sector in those continents through educating and empowering those affected by diabetes on how to manage and prevent it.”

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development of Merck Serono said at their awareness campaign in India “This is only a start, more awareness campaigns and outreach programs in cooperation with Academia and Ministries of Health will be supported by Merck as part of our long term commitment to the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and Latin America in the near future”.

She emphasized “We are pleased to join Ministries of Health and Universities to celebrate the World Diabetes Day (WDD) focusing on “Healthy Living and Diabetes” in order to improve access to better Diabetes. Supporting Diabetes education and Diabetes community outreach programs of Academia will contribute significantly to improving awareness, early diagnosis and prevention of the disease across developing countries and underserved population”.

The Cabinet Secretary of Kenya Ministry of Health James Macharia has applauded Merck for its Capacity Advancement Program that was launched successfully in 2012 in Kenya. “The Ministry of Health is supporting private public partnership with reputable companies like Merck to promote key health guidelines and raise awareness about diabetes so that people learn how to prevent it” .he added.

After the successful Merck Diabetes CME tour in 10 medical and pharmacy colleges, in 8 universities in 7 Sub-Saharan countries which just ended on the 7th of November in University of Ghana, this initiative is a natural evolution of the education program for medical and pharmacy students who will be the future healthcare providers. “It is time to focus on community and support the universities outreach programs and Patents association’s activities”. Kelej added on the celebration event of WDD.

Macharia emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others”.

Merck has provided the necessary support to conduct Diabetes free screening and education to each of the 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra University during the week of the WDD to raise awareness about diabetes and empower community members on how to better manage and prevent the disease. Aiming to screen more than 15,000 person across the state.

While in both Kenya and Ghana Merck supported 4000 free diabetes screening on the same day and they are aiming to triple this number in 2015

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of Medical Education and Research, Government of Maharashtra, India emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others. There is a strong, new argument that by combining screening to find pre-diabetes and early diabetes, along with management aimed to keep glucose levels as close to normal as possible, we can change the natural history of the disease and improve the lives of our patients. Hence, I urge all Indians to get screened and be active in order to get healthier”.

Merck plays a great role in building healthcare capacity in Africa with special focus on diabetes and chronic diseases.

“The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes at all levels of the health care systems. It was clear for us from the start that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, diabetes, will soon threaten the economic viability of Africa. And sadly, many people who survive HIV and AIDS may die of diabetes” Kelej added

The 5 year program was kicked off in India last month and has been implemented successfully in 7 sub- Saharan countries which are Kenya, Uganda, Namibia Angola, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique and will further expand to other Sub-Saharan and Asian countries in 2014.

As part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), by end of 2015, more than 3,000 medical students from the Maharashtra University of Health sciences will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic. Merck is planning to target more than 12,000 students and 60,000 community members by the end of 2018 expanding to more African and Asian countries.

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

Media contact:

Elizabeth Mwai

njeri.selina@gmail.com

Categories: AFRICA

Aquaculture can grow faster, raising micronutrient supply from fish / Technological advances can offset resource constraints, FAO experts say in new study

ROME, Italy, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Fish farming will likely grow more than expected in the coming decade, offering a chance for improved nutrition for millions of people, especially in Asia and Africa, according to a new report.

Increased investment in the aquaculture sector – particularly in productivity-enhancing technologies including in the areas of water use, breeding, hatchery practices and feedstuff innovation – should boost farmed-fish production by as much as 4.14 percent per year through 2022, notably faster than the 2.54 percent growth forecast made earlier this year in a joint report by FAO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“The primary reason for increased optimism is that there is ample room for catching up with more productive technologies, especially in Asia, where many fish farmers are small and unable to foot the hefty capital outlays the industry requires to expand output without running into resource constraints,” said Audun Lem, a senior official at FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Economics Division and one of the lead authors of the 120-page report.

Africa, with formidable water resources, should also host ongoing rapid growth of more than 5 percent a year, the fastest in the world but building on a very low current base level, according to the report.

Aquaculture is a young industry compared to livestock farming and has grown from virtually nothing in 1950 and to a record production of 66.5 million tonnes in 2012, up almost thirty-fold since 1970. About 50 percent of the $127 billion in global fish exports in 2011 came from developing countries, which receive more net revenue from the fish trade than from their exports of tea, rice, cocoa and coffee combined, Lem said.

In terms of direct human consumption, farmed fish in 2014 surpassed captured fish, which reached a plateau in the mid-1980s and is expected to grow only 5 percent over the next decade, thanks largely to reduced waste as well as better gear reducing unwanted bycatch and improved fisheries management.

Global per capita fish consumption increased from 9.9 kilograms in 1970 to 19.1 kilograms in 2012, although rates vary substantially by and within regions. Africa, Latin America and the Near East have consumption levels of around half the global rate, while Asia, Europe and North America all have rates of about 21 kilograms per capita.

Fish prices in 2022 will be 27 percent higher than today in FAO’s baseline scenario, but up to 20 percent lower if acquaculture expands more quickly.

Fish has a special nutritional role

Fish are the healthiest of meats, their farmed production has a far smaller carbon footprint than livestock, and they are also huge providers of the micronutrients people need. Beyond the energy and protein they supply, they lower the risk of coronary heart disease and improve cardio-vascular health. Fish are also supreme suppliers of long-chain n-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA), which are demonstrably linked to better cognitive development as measured by reading skills up to the age of 12.

“Fish is not just food,” says Jogeir Toppe, a FAO officer and expert on fish and nutrition. He cited the case of the mola, a pond fish in Bangladesh that has exceptionally high levels of zinc and iron and Vitamin A as well as 80 times the calcium content as tilapia. Similar pelagic species elsewhere, such as African lake sardines, have similar micronutrient profiles, but many indigenous fish have yet to be studied.

Those attributes are invaluable as 800,000 child deaths each year are attributable to zinc deficiency, 250 million children worldwide are at risk of vitamin A deficiency, and almost a third of the world’s population is iron deficient. Seafood is also practically the only natural source of iodine.

However, the new study noted that households with rising incomes often shift away from such humble types – what the industry calls “trash fish” – towards fattier and filet-friendly species such as carp which are less efficient providers of micronutrients. One reason is that the higher-status fish are often eaten as filets while the mola and its kin are typically eaten whole.

“The highest iron, zinc and calcium content of fish lies in their heads, bones and guts, which is often the part that gets thrown away, as with tuna,” said Toppe. Somewhat ironically, byproducts such as fish heads or the back-bones of Nile perch whose fresh fillets are exported, may often be of higher nutritional value than the main product, he added.

Aquaculture governance challenges lie ahead.

FAO called upon policy makers to take such nutritional considerations aboard, especially in a phase of growing aquaculture operations.

Fish farming ought also to be analysed through a broad food system lens, as it impacts a host of factors, ranging from environmental impacts and hydropower projects through tenure rights for smallholders, sharing systems for common-pool water resources, to the employment of women in local retail networks, all of which involve complex social institutions and customs.

FAO’s report suggests that increased demand on fishmeal prices due to aquaculture’s needs is unlikely to impact prices as alternatives, such as feed based on vegetable proteins, will be developed to meet needs and respond to price pressures.

Such innovation is particularly important for Africa, where fish farmers rely heavily on imported feedstuff from European countries.

A notable shift is already underway as Peruvian anchovy, Chilean mackerel and Scandinavian herring are increasingly being used for direct human consumption while more efficient use of other fish byproducts are being used for fish oil production.

Categories: AFRICA

Conclusions of the 6th Meeting of the International Contact Group on the CAR

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. The International Contact Group on the Central African Republic (ICG-RCA) held its 6th meeting in Bangui, on 11 November 2014, under the co-chairmanship of Mr. Basile Ikouebe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo, and Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU). The list of the countries and organizations that participated in the meeting is indicated below[1].

[1] Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Georgia, Germany, Holy See, Japan, Luxemburg, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, AU, ECCAS, ICRC, IMF, OCHA, OIC, OIF, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNHCR, United Nations, USAID, and World Bank

2. The opening ceremony was marked by the statements made by the Head of State of the Transition, Catherine Samba-Panza; the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security; the Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA); the Representative of the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration of the Republic of Chad, representing the current Chairman of ECCAS; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo.

3. Participants noted that the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR was following on from the high-level meeting on the CAR held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General in New York, on 26 September 2014, and would be followed, on 24 and 25 November 2014, in N’Djamena, by the ECCAS 16th Ordinary Summit, which will review the situation in the CAR. They took the opportunity of their meeting to reiterate their gratitude to all the leaders of the region, particularly President Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad, Chairman of the ECCAS, and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Mediator in the CAR crisis, for their continued commitment. They urged the CAR stakeholders to take full advantage of this international mobilization to accelerate the process of ending the crisis facing their country.

4. Participants discussed the developments in the CAR since the 5th meeting of the ICG-CAR held in Addis Ababa, on 7 July 2014, on the basis of the statements made by the CAR Prime Minister and other members of his delegation, the presentations by the AU, UN and ECCAS Special Representatives in the CAR, the representative of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on behalf of the Coordination Group for the Preparation and Follow-up of the ICG-CAR meetings (G8-CAR), as well as the interventions of other international actors involved in the management of the CAR crisis.

I. On security and justice

5. Participants noted that the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR took place a little less than two months following the successful transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA) to MINUSCA. They commended MISCA for the work done, with the support of the Sangaris and EUFOR RCA Operations, which made it possible to complete the initial stabilization phase of the situation in the CAR. They expressed appreciation to the AU and the UN for having ensured a smooth transition. Participants expressed their support for MINUSCA in the implementation of its mandate, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2149 (2014). They encouraged the UN to continue and to accelerate the ongoing efforts to reach full operational capability for the Mission. They called for the mobilization of all the necessary support to MINUSCA to enable it effectively discharge its mandate over the entire national territory.

6. Participants noted that, despite improvements, the security situation remains precarious, as evidenced by the incidents that took place in Bangui in October 2014. They strongly condemned the acts of violence that were committed and the attacks against MINUSCA, encouraging the Mission to take, within its mandate, all necessary measures to ensure the effective protection of the civilian population and the restoration of lasting security. They warned spoilers that they would be held accountable for their acts, in accordance with the sanctions regime provided for in Security Council resolutions 2127 (2013), 2134 (2014) and 2149 (2014) and the relevant communiqués of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). They urged the CAR authorities to prosecute those responsible for these criminal acts in the relevant national and international courts.

7. Participants reminded the signatories to the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 23 July 2014 of the importance of implementing the provisions contained therein, in order to end the crisis in the CAR in a consensual manner. In particular, they called for the implementation of articles 4 and 8 of the Agreement, including the establishment of the monitoring mechanism provided for in the Brazzaville Conclusions and the cantonment of all ex-combatants and armed elements of the signatory groups. To this end, they appealed to the bilateral and multilateral partners to contribute expeditiously to the operationalization of the monitoring mechanism. They requested the International Mediation to facilitate the early conclusion of an agreement on the disarmament of the armed groups.

8. Participants expressed satisfaction at the efforts of the transitional authorities, with the support of the international community, to ensure the resumption of the activities of the judicial system, in order to combat impunity. To this end, and in accordance with resolution 2149 (2014), they welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Temporary Emergency Measures in August 2014, which provides, in particular, for the establishment of a Special Criminal Court in charge of investigating and prosecuting the serious crimes committed in the CAR, and called for the implementation of this MoU without delay.

9. Participants recalled that the stabilization of the security situation is first and foremost the responsibility of the CAR stakeholders. In this regard, they reiterated their appeal to all parties, particularity the leaders of the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka groups, as well as all other armed groups signatory to the Brazzaville Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, to embark upon the path of dialogue as the only viable means towards achieving lasting reconciliation and peace, and an essential condition for the successful implementation of MINUSCA’s mandate, with the support of the international forces. They welcomed the consultations held by the Government, supported by the G8-CAR, with the different components of the ex-Seleka, and requested that similar consultations be undertaken with the anti-Balaka.

10. Participants stressed the important role of the CAR internal security forces (police and gendarmerie) in the restoration of security, in coordination with MINUSCA. They called for the enhancement of their capacity and their professionalization as soon as possible. They once again requested the CAR authorities to initiate, without delay, the reform process of the CAR Armed Forces (FACA), in order to put in place a professional, representative and balanced army, including the adoption of measures to absorb elements of the armed groups meeting rigorous selection criteria, as well as those concerning the retraining of part of the FACA. To this end, participants appealed to the international community to extend a coordinated and concerted support for the gradual reorganization of the FACA, including through training and advice, along the lines of the support being implemented by the European Union (EU) in Mali and Somalia – EU/Training Mission.

II. On humanitarian aspects

11. Participants expressed their concern about the precarious humanitarian situation in the CAR and condemned unequivocally the serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, especially the use of civilians, women and children as human shields by political/military groups, as well as the attacks and looting targeting humanitarian personnel and their property.

12. Participants expressed concern about the impact of insecurity on humanitarian access to vulnerable populations. They appealed to the transitional authorities and the international forces to promote the respect of the humanitarian space in the CAR. They also appealed to the armed groups to cease acts of violence against humanitarian actors and civilians, and to refrain from impeding access to civilian populations by humanitarian workers, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

13. Participants noted with satisfaction the efforts made by the humanitarian actors, and reiterated their appreciation to the neighboring countries, which are still hosting approximately 420,000 CAR refugees. They made an urgent appeal to the international community to mobilize additional resources, noting in this regard that a total amount of $229 million is required to cover the needs identified within the framework of the Strategic Response Plan 2014, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

14. Participants urged the transitional authorities to establish favorable conditions for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, build the capacity of the basic social services, and implement specific projects for women and children. In this context, they requested that more sustained efforts be made by all concerned actors, including the transitional Government and the humanitarian agencies, to establish the conditions for the dismantling of the IDP camp located presently at the Bangui International Airport and find a lasting solution for the concerned populations. They expressed the wish that this objective be attained before the next meeting of the ICG-CAR. The participants also requested that urgent measures be taken to open up the PK5 area in Bangui and to secure it.

III. On political issues and the electoral process

15. Participants welcomed the convening, from 21 to 23 July 2014, of the Brazzaville Forum. They reiterated their appreciation to the International Mediation led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo and comprising Mr. Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, on behalf of the AU, and Abdoulaye Bathily, on behalf of the United Nations, as well as ECCAS as rapporteur, and encouraged it to continue its efforts. They stressed the need for renewed efforts by the CAR stakeholders to ensure an effective follow-up of the Conclusions of Brazzaville Forum.

16. Participants took note of the formation of the transitional Government on 22 August 2014. They urged all the components of the CAR nation to act in the supreme interest of their country by ensuring cohesion between the transitional institutions, and to work steadfastly towards the implementation of the transitional Roadmap. Within this framework, they welcomed the commitment of the transitional authorities to orient the action of the state towards the restoration of security as a prerequisite for the success of the inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process, as well as the smooth holding of the elections.

17. Participants took note of the proposal made to the CAR political stakeholders to combine phases 2 and 3 of the political process. In conformity with the Conclusions of the 5th meeting of the ICG-CAR, they requested the transitional Government to organize the Bangui Forum by no later than January 2015. This Forum should focus on the following issues: dialogue, truth, justice, fight against impunity and national reconciliation; security aspects, including DDR and SSR, as well as the use of child soldiers; general principles that would guide the preparation of the new Constitution and electoral issues; and governance and assistance to affected populations.

18. In order to guarantee the convening of the Bangui Forum as soon as possible, Participants requested the establishment by the transitional Government, in close consultation with the International Mediation and with the support of the G8-CAR, of a Preparatory Committee to prepare the said Forum, including aspects related to participation, which should be as inclusive as possible. They welcomed the commitment of the transitional Government to organizing dialogue at the level of the prefectures through the Resident Ministers, especially on the occasion of the celebration of the national Independence Day on 1 December 2014. They requested the members of the ICG-CAR to contribute to the financing of the Bangui Forum and to avail the necessary expertise.

19. Participants took note of the fact that the election date of February 2015 was no longer technically feasible. Thus, and in conformity with Article 102 of the Transitional Constitutional Charter, they requested the International Mediator in the CAR crisis, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, to extend the transition by six months (up to August 2015).

20. Participants requested the transitional authorities, as well as the National Elections Authority (ANE), urgently to take the necessary political, legal, financial and logistical steps required to speed up the electoral process and facilitate the organization, by August 2015 at the latest, of free, fair and credible elections, which will mark the end of the transition. They stressed that the implementation of these steps would greatly facilitate the mobilization of the necessary financial and logistical support, noting with satisfaction in this regard the Government’s contribution of one billion CFA francs. They requested that the issue of voting by IDPs and refugees, including their registration in the voter’s list, be a priority. They recalled the imperative for respecting the clause relating to the ineligibility of all the transitional authorities, as stipulated in the Transitional Constitutional Charter and in conformity with the relevant AU instruments. In this regard, they welcomed the reaffirmation by the Head of State of the Transition of her commitment to respecting the ineligibility clause, and look forward to all the concerned CAR stakeholders making a similar commitment. They strongly emphasized that the international community would neither support the holding of elections in violation of this clause, nor would it recognize its results.

21. Participants noted with satisfaction the efforts made by the Government regarding the deployment of the decentralized and territorial administration and the strengthening of the central administration, for the purpose of supporting the organization of the elections. They encouraged the Government to continue and enhance these efforts.

22. Participants recognized the crucial importance of the process to elaborate the new Constitution, which should seal the desire of the different components of the CAR people to live together and the rebirth of the CAR nation. In this context, they stressed the need for an inclusive participation of all components and active forces of the nation. Consequently, they urged all the CAR partners to provide the necessary support for the successful conclusion of this process.

IV. On the economic and financial situation

23. Participants expressed concern about the precarious economic and financial situation in the CAR and recalled the inseparable link between political stability and security, on the one hand, and the reactivation of the key sectors of the economy, on the other. They encouraged the transitional authorities to continue their efforts to mobilize domestic resources, particularly customs revenues, in full respect of financial best practice, in order to meet the expenses related to the functioning of the State.

24. Participants stressed that the restoration of lasting peace and stability in the CAR is contingent upon economic recovery, with concrete prospects for youth employment. In this context, they welcomed the pursuit, particularly in Bangui, of employment generating projects and their extension to other locations, inside the country. They also called for the multiplication of projects in the countryside, notably in the East and North East regions, which have an acute need of development.

25. Participants called upon the transitional authorities to further promote financial and economic governance, which is key to the restoration of confidence by the economic actors, the mobilization of new private investment, economic recovery, as well as the mobilization of the necessary international financial assistance. To this end, they requested the transitional authorities to implement the reforms related to economic and financial governance, including those aimed at the operationalization of the National Committee for the Strategic Coordination of Aid, the reestablishment of the Permanent Consultation Framework (CPC) between the public and private sectors, as well as the implementation of emergency and lasting recovery programmes.

26. Participants noted with satisfaction the external budget support provided to the CAR in 2014. They encouraged the friends and partners of the CAR, as well as the regional and international financial institutions, to pursue their support for the functioning and stability of the CAR State, in particular by ensuring that the 2015 financial needs are covered.

V. On the follow-up to the ICG-CAR meeting

27. Participants requested the International Mediation, with the support of the G8-CAR, to ensure the follow-up of the relevant provisions of the present Conclusions, particularly with regard to the conclusion of the process launched in Brazzaville, with the organization of the Bangui Forum, the elaboration of the new Constitution and the organization of the elections.

28. Participants requested the G8-CAR to prepare, within one week, a matrix on the implementation of the present Conclusions, for circulation to all the members of the ICG-CAR, as well as to submit monthly information briefs taking stock of the implementation of the agreed decisions.

VI. Thanks and next meeting

29. Participants thanked the CAR authorities for facilitating the smooth convening of the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR and for the welcome accorded to them. They expressed their appreciation to the G8-CAR for the sound preparation of the meeting.

30. Participants agreed to convene their next meeting in Brazzaville, in February 2015, at a date to be fixed after consultations.

Categories: AFRICA

U.S. Mission Uganda Hosts Fashion Show & Youth Entrepreneurship Reception

KAMPALA, Uganda, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — U.S. Mission Uganda is partnering with Kas Wear clothing label to host a fashion show and youth entrepreneurship reception in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Ten up-and-coming Ugandan fashion designers have accepted the challenge to create an outfit for an American diplomat that represents U.S.-Uganda partnership. Judges for the fashion show are Ambassador Scott DeLisi, Ms. Judith Allen Heard, and Mr. Madoi Lattif. Audience members will include Ugandan youth entrepreneurs from various fields and fashion industry experts. The winning designer will be profiled on the Embassy’s Facebook page, receive a feature in a fashion magazine, be mentored by Ras Kasozi of Kas Wear, and create a look for an American diplomat to be worn at an upcoming high-profile event.

U.S. Mission Uganda’s Fashion Show & Youth Entrepreneurship Reception will take place from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Ambassador Scott DeLisi’s residence at 13 Hill Lane in Kololo. Ambassador DeLisi will deliver remarks before the fashion show begins.

Journalists interested in attending this event should arrive at Ambassador DeLisi’s residence no later than 5:30 p.m. to clear security. If planning to attend, please RSVP to Peter Eriki on ErikiPP@state.gov by 12:00 noon on November 17, 2014.

Categories: AFRICA

Security Council Press Statement on Bomb Attacks in Tripoli

NEW YORK, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist bomb attacks against the embassies of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in Tripoli, Libya, on 13 November.

The members of the Security Council condemned all acts of violence against diplomatic premises, which endanger innocent lives and seriously impede the normal work of diplomatic representatives and officials.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.

The members of the Security Council recalled the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises, and the obligations on host Governments, including under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity, and to prevent any attack on diplomatic agents and consular officers.

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Staff Concludes Mission to Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mauro Mecagni, visited Kenya during October 22−November 9, 2014. The mission reached staff-level agreement on a program that could be supported by the IMF through a Stand-By Arrangement and Stand-By Credit Facility (SBA/SCF).

Mr. Mecagni released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“Kenya’s economy remains robust, supported by strong credit growth and a dynamic investment environment. Inflation has declined in the last two months and remains within the government’s target range. A gradual depreciation of the Kenyan shilling mostly reflects developments in international currency markets, and international reserves stand at 4.9 months of prospective import coverage, boosted by proceeds from the successful June 2014 sovereign bond issuance. Investment in power generation, in particular in geothermal energy, is already translating into lower electricity costs for firms and households. However, difficult security conditions are having a dampening effect on the tourism sector.

“The initiation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project is a major step for Kenya and for the region. It will boost integration across East Africa by reducing transport costs significantly, bringing down the cost of doing business and improving standards of living for the population, helping Kenya move closer to the medium-term goals outlined in its Vision 2030 plans. The SGR’s initial construction work will contribute to higher real GDP growth, projected to rise to 6.9 in 2015 from 5.3 percent in 2014. Imports of equipment for the SGR project combined with continued investment in oil exploration are expected to keep the external current account deficit relatively high at around 8½ percent of GDP in 2015, albeit a slight decline from a projected 9 percent deficit in 2014 thanks to lower international oil prices.

“Fiscal policy will aim at preserving debt sustainability while providing room for the execution of the SGR project. To accommodate additional investment spending, the government is committed to containing the wage bill over the medium term. Maintaining current spending under control and redoubling tax collection efforts will also release additional resources to bolster national security, expand the social safety net, and reduce the fiscal deficit over the medium term in line with the East African Community convergence criteria for monetary union. Prudent fiscal policies will also contribute to an orderly consolidation of devolution. Meanwhile, monetary policy will continue to aim at maintaining price stability in the context of a further strengthening of the CBK’s monetary framework.

“The mission and the Kenyan authorities reached staff level agreement on an economic program that could be supported by an SBA/SCF arrangement, which the authorities intend to treat as precautionary. This arrangement would serve an insurance purpose, providing Kenya with access to IMF resources in the event of exogenous shocks. The program would accommodate the SGR project and other initiatives launched by the government to remove hurdles to growth, while reducing vulnerabilities and preserving a sustainable debt position. The program builds on Kenya’s ambitious reform agenda by supporting successful fiscal devolution while strengthening fiscal risk assessments; reinforcing the coordination of debt, cash and liquidity management functions between the Treasury and the central bank; strengthening central bank independence; and improving the quality of economic statistics.

“The staff level agreement is subject to review by the IMF’s management and its Executive Board. Consideration by the Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for late January 2015.

“The mission met with Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury Henry Rotich, Principal Secretary to the Treasury Kamau Thugge, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Njuguna Ndung’u, CBK Deputy Governor Haron Sirima, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, members of the CBK Monetary Policy Committee, and other senior government officials.

“The mission team wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality, the excellent collaboration, and the high-quality discussions”.

Categories: AFRICA