“South Africa’s still long walk to free women from the shackles of violence” – UN expert calls for change

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonović, today urged the Government of South Africa to strengthen the fight against gender-based violence through awareness and education at all levels of society. “I have heard on many occasions that violence against women is normalized in South Africa,” she warned stressing the need for change.

“The violence inherited from the apartheid still resonate profoundly in today’s South African society dominated by deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes towards the role of women in society which makes violence against women and children an almost accepted social phenomenon” Ms. Šimonović said after her first official visit* to the country from 4 to 11 December.

“Despite an arsenal of progressive laws and policies to deal with gender-based violence put very ably in place, there has been little implementation, hence impact and gender-based violence continue to be pervasive and at the level of systematic women’ human rights violation,” she said.

The independent expert said that different forms of manifestation of violence against women and girls take place in the country, among which femicides or gender-related killing of women, domestic violence, rapes, gang-rapes which in their most extreme and forms have lethal consequences, and other forms of sexual violence.

In relation to the high number of femicides, she encouraged South Africa to establish a “femicide” or “gender-relating killings” watch through which the number of such killings would be released every year. Such data and information about each case, carefully analysed, is needed to identify any failure of protection in the response’s chain to gender-based violence and would bolster improving and developing further preventive measures. She also called for the conduct of risk assessment and crisis management in the context of domestic violence and application of protection orders that should guarantee immediate protection.

“It was reported to me that, mostly in some rural areas, the practice of Ukuthwala continues,” she said warning that girls as young as eight can be forced into marriage through their abduction, kidnapping, assault and rape associated with such harmful practice. “It needs to be clearly stated that such practice violates the constitutional rights to dignity, freedom and security of the person.” Other harmful practices include virginity testing and accusations of witchcraft.

The human rights expert said that there is insufficient specialized training for all front-line actors involved in the responses to gender-based violence, namely the police, prosecution office, and courts. She called for better awareness of the police’s positive duties to protect women in domestic partnerships who are victims of abuses, to manage the reporting and investigation of sexual offenses and to refer those reporting sexual offenses to medical services.

Ms. Šimonović cautioned about hearings conducted in a non-victim friendly manner, the presence of perpetrators and the lack of security of the victim, all of which leads to secondary traumatization. Victims’ friendly rooms at police stations, while mandated by the Sexual Offenses Act, are lacking.

The expert also highlighted gender stereotyping by magistrates leading to leniency towards the perpetrator and need for gender sensitive education for judiciary. She expressed concern that there is no established risk assessment and crisis management and protection orders are not immediately available and when issued are often not adequately followed up by police, for lack of human or financial resources.

Ms. Šimonović cautioned about hearings conducted in a non-victim friendly manner, the presence of perpetrators and the lack of security of the victim, all of which leads to secondary traumatization. She also highlighted gender stereotyping by magistrates leading to leniency towards the perpetrator.

During its eight-day visit, the expert met with Government officials at the federal and provincial levels, representatives of civil society organizations, academics, including in the townships of Diepsloot and Khayelitsha. She also visited a women’s prison, met with numerous women’s survivor of gender-based violence.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report with her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16877&LangID=E

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

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Categories: AFRICA

IOM, Partners Distribute Shelter Materials to Vulnerable South Sudan Households

IOM South Sudan and World Vision have conducted a joint mission to Wau Shilluk, Upper Nile State, to distribute urgently needed shelter materials to displaced and vulnerable host community households in the area.

For much of 2015, the population in Wau Shilluk was effectively cut off from all humanitarian assistance due to access restrictions. As a result, many households have been living in dilapidated and crowded shelters, constructed of old materials and vulnerable to rain and flooding.

Relief agencies were unable to conduct frequent needs assessments and distributions, which are crucial in areas such as Wau Shilluk that experience repeated population influxes due to conflict and food insecurity.

Following several months of negotiations, relief agencies regained access to the area briefly in late August and for a sustained period since early October.

On behalf of the Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) Cluster, IOM and World Vision distributed shelter reinforcement supplies, including plastic sheeting and nylon and rubber ropes, sourced from the IOM shelter/NFI pipeline.

The distributions targeted an estimated 31,000 people, reaching nearly all of the Wau Shilluk population. The reinforcement materials will enable households to replace old shelter materials to protect them from wind and rain.

“In addition to coping with restrictions on humanitarian access for months, insecurity and limits on movements to Malakal have limited the availability of shelter materials in the market in Wau Shilluk. Even if these materials were readily available, households in the area are exhausting their coping mechanisms and lack the means to purchase proper materials,” said Shelter/NFI Cluster Co-Coordinator Persiana Kamberaj.

In late July and early August, thousands of people fled from Wau Shilluk across the White Nile River to reach the UN protection of civilian (PoC) site in Malakal to obtain humanitarian assistance, particularly food.

Although many of these displaced households have since returned to Wau Shilluk, due to increased humanitarian presence and freedom of movement, needs in the area remain high, as vulnerable households in the area are facing severe food insecurity.

Currently, another IOM team is on the ground to conduct a biometric registration to support a scale-up of relief services in Wau Shilluk and surrounding areas.

Exactly two years into the crisis in South Sudan, more than 1.66 million people remain internally displaced and another 647,300 people have fled to neighbouring countries. IOM and partners remain committed to providing lifesaving assistance to affected populations as insecurity continues to prompt displacement and prolongs suffering.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Categories: AFRICA

Factoring in outcomes of the Valletta summit

The African Consultations on Migration kicked-off today. The Consultations was officially opened by Dr. Olawale I. MAIYEGUN, the Director of Social Affairs Department; Mr. David CLAPP, the Coordinator of Sub-Regional Platform for East and Southern Africa, UNDP on behalf of the UNDG; and the Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, H.E. Mohamed GHONEIM.

Dr. MAIYEGUN spoke about the programmes of African Union that address various migration related issues in the most comprehensive way. He underlined the AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign, the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), and the Labour Migration Governance for Integration and Development in Africa (also known as the Joint Labour Migration Programme-JLMP).

The general objective of the Nairobi consultations are designed to provide a forum for all 54 AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to discuss the Migration Agenda and identify key priority areas that require immediate action in the short and medium term within the framework of AU policies and programs and Assembly Declaration (Assembly/AU/Decl.6(XXV)) on Migration at the 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg in June 2015, as well as other relevant instruments such as the Valletta Action Plan.

The following presentations, among others, took place today,:

Valletta Action Plan and AU Initiatives; AU Response to Human Trafficking and smuggling of migrants from the AU COMMIT to the Horn of Africa Initiative; Boosting Intra-African Trade and Migration; Outcomes of the Valletta Summit on Migration; Study on the African Protocol on Free Movement of Persons Implementation Plan; Joint AUC/ILO/UNECA Labour Program (JLMP).

The key priorities of the Valletta Declaration and Action plan adopted during the summit have been linked with the work of AUC during AU presentations. It is worth mentioning that Action Plan also identified 16 priority projects to be implemented in 2016.

The expected outcomes from the Consultation are to:

Agree on a set of actions at national, regional and continental levels that would give effect to or operationalize the key AU instruments, programs and decisions;
Identify high impact projects that could be realistically implemented in 2016 in the management of migration;
Enhance a common understanding of all available funding instruments – including the EU Trust Fund for Migration – that can be used to advance the AU migration agenda.

Senior policy officials responsible for migration issues from AU Member States, Experts from AUC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNHCR, AfDB as well as the diaspora organisations in Europe shared their insights and experiences with the participants and other independent experts.

Interview requests should be addressed to Mr. Gamal Ahmed A. Karrar, Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission (AUC), E-mail: gamalk@africa-union.org / gamal90@gmail.com

For more information please contact:

Mr. Phillip Bob Jusu, Department of Social Affairs, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Tel. + 251-1155182216 /+251923297366 Email: jusup@africa-union.org (cc: TigistZ@africa-union.org ).

Notes to the Editors:

For more than a decade, the African Union Commission (AUC) has been engaged in providing policy guidance on Migration and working closely with its Member States to address critical migration issues. The various AU policy frameworks and instruments on the issue contain recommendations on how to promote the benefits of migration, improve capacity for migration management and enhance mobility on the continent as well as address the challenges of irregular migration. As recently as the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg, AU leaders deliberated extensively on how to effectively manage migration by committing to achieve a comprehensive range of issues by 2018, including to: speed up the implementation of continent wide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans; expedite the operationalization of the African Passport that would as a start facilitate free movement of persons that will be issued by Member States; improve labour mobility by establishing harmonized mechanism thereby ensuring that higher education in Africa is compatible, comparable to enable recognition of credentials that will facilitate transferability of knowledge, skills and expertise; and operationalize existing action plans to combat Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

Key flagship programs have been introduced by the African Union to address various migration related issues in the most comprehensive way. These include:

The ‘AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign’ launched in 2009: with the Ouagadougou Action Plan at the centre of its objective the campaign reached out to Member States, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Civil Society Organisations in taking serious measures against combating trafficking in human beings, while encouraging all actors to use the Ouagadougou Action Plan as a reference to develop and reform their policies, laws and interventions on trafficking in human beings, especially women and children.
Building on the AU COMMIT, the Commission established the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in 2014 in response to the irregular Migration flows within and from the Horn of Africa to different destinations. The initiative aims to enhance cooperation among concerned Member States and other entities in addressing the challenges of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa region to destinations including the Middle East, Europe and Southern Africa. The initiative also creates a forum for cooperation among Member States in the Horn of Africa as well as other transit and destination countries
Within the framework of migration and development, the Commission has established the African Institute for Remittances (AIR). Launched in November 2014, the AIR will work towards reducing the transaction cost of remittances while encouraging member states and migrants to leverage remittances for socio-economic development of the continent.
Similarly, the 24th Assembly adopted the Labour Migration Governance for Integration and Development in Africa (also known as the Joint Labour Migration Programme-JLMP). Developed with the support of ILO, IOM and UNECA, the JLMP builds on conclusions and key recommendations by Member States and RECs to facilitate implementation of relevant policy frameworks on Labour Migration and the transformational Agenda 2063 towards continental integration. The objectives and actions set out in the JLMP are designed to address the challenges of labour migration and mobility on the continent by enhancing the capacity of Member States and RECs to, among others: achieve wider elaboration, adoption and implementation of harmonized free movement regimes and coherent national labour migration policy in the RECs, and extend social security to migrants with access to portability regimes compatible, resolve skills shortages and skills–education mismatches while increasing recognition of harmonized qualifications across Africa. Enhancing mobility and free movement regimes would provide alternative legal channels of migration and help to reduce irregular migration.

The political events in some North African countries in the recent past has had an impact on the patterns of irregular migration through the Mediterranean. The resulting influx of migrants into Europe in the past months has created a heightened security oriented approach to migration in destination countries. It has also resulted in humanitarian tragedy of significant proportion with the death of thousands of young people who are trying to seek better lives. The EU Valletta Summit on Migration that took place from 11-12 November brought together 28 EU Member States and 35 African countries and 2 RECs (ECOWAS & IGAD) plus Norway and Switzerland to discuss ways of addressing the current irregular migration flows into Europe.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Integrating East Africa: progress, challenges and future prospects.

Thank you to TradeMark East Africa for hosting us today.

This country may well be the place that trade began. Two million years ago, early humans were transporting stones 12 kilometres to a site in what is now Kanjera, in western Kenya, where they were fashioned into various kinds of tool. It is hard to imagine that this didn’t involve what we would recognize as trade in goods – the stones – and in services, such as splitting, sharpening and carving – all for the mutual benefit of what must have been several communities, spread across the catchment area of this early workshop.

The agenda for MC10 this week would I’m sure have rather baffled our early ancestors. But our objectives have remained the same: to expand our trade for our mutual benefit. As Adam Smith put it, “every man lives by exchanging”.

We all join in congratulating Kenya on hosting this week’s WTO Ministerial Conference, the first in Africa. It is a big opportunity to “live by exchanging” and to promote sustainable growth and development for all of us. And I think it is fair to say that TradeMark East Africa occupies something of an exemplary role at the heart of all of this.

Most of you will know its history. Founded by the UK in 2009, TMEA now counts seven more partners. I pay tribute to all of them – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the United States – and to the energetic and committed team at TMEA itself, who have taken it from strength to strength.
Together, we’ve raised almost $700 million for TMEA, around 70% from the UK’s aid programme and the rest from partners. I’m proud to say that makes TMEA the biggest aid for trade project anywhere in the world. But we should judge it not by what we have all put in, but by what we – or rather, what East Africa – has got out of it.

The results are truly impressive. TMEA’s support for the modernization of ports in Mombasa and Dar, and its one-stop border posts, are transforming trade and driving integration across the region. The time it takes to move goods from Mombasa to Kampala has been halved, to six days. A container now moves through the port of Mombasa in less than four days – it took more than 15 only a few years ago.

We have raised significant funding to develop the port in Dar. And by the end of next year, the programme will have helped increase East Africa’s exports by at least 10%.

There’s plenty more to do, of course. We will continue to stand with and support TMEA and its crucial work, in close collaboration with the governments of the region, with the World Bank/IFC, the ADB, and others. I know we will see it going from strength to strength.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me make a few points about what else is at stake this week and why it matters to us here in Kenya and in East Africa. We see East Africa as an important contributor to global economic growth. The scale of what is possible here, harnessing this region’s skills, resources and technologies, is truly exciting.

Foreign investment into sub-Saharan Africa grew last year, despite a difficult global climate. Diaspora investment in business is growing too, binding our economies together more closely still. I know from the businesspeople I met when preparing for this job how much excitement there is among investors about East Africa in particular. The work we do this week at MC10 can drive even greater growth in this region, create much-needed jobs, and improve the quality of life everywhere. That’s one reason why the UK is one of the largest donors to aid for trade projects – to the tune of over $1.5 billion a year across the world.

Trade agreements can be hard. We may live by exchanging but the terms on which we do so can be hotly contested.

But we all need to commit to making a difference. We will achieve greater global growth and development, and a fairer trade environment which benefits the poorest in our world, only if all governments, regional organisations, the private sector and civil society commit to pushing the agenda forward.

As we strive to do in the UK, we all need to work on improving our local business climate, making it welcoming to investment and transparent and effective for all. We must keep breaking down tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. The Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement could bring $10 billion per year to sub-Saharan Africa, with some of the greatest gains coming here in the East African Community.

The EU has ratified this agreement and I am confident that the nations of the EAC will do so soon.

The UK is providing over $250 million every year to support trade facilitation in developing countries, and we’ve recently announced $22 million to help implement the Bali agreement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations again to Kenya for hosting this crucial conference, and for its leadership role on trade and regional integration. Congratulations as well to the team at TMEA, the East African Community, the donors, and all those partners who have worked together to produce the impressive results we see today.

But this is no time to slacken off. The work ahead of us may not be as physically onerous as dragging stones 12 kilometres to trade them with the hand-axe makers in Kanjera. But it will require just as much energy and commitment.

The reason it’s worth doing is simply this. We have seen already what a difference TMEA has made to the lives and the prosperity of people across this wonderful region. We have the chance to make that difference even greater in the years ahead, and we must seize it.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Categories: AFRICA

Final communiqué: Fact-finding Mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Burundi

Acting on the request from the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, a Delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), undertook a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Burundi from 7 to 13 December 2015. The mission was carried in accordance with the promotion and protection mandate of the Commission and pursuant to Article 45 and 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Delegation was composed of:

– Honourable Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Commission and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa;

– Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

– Honourable Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King, Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and

– Honourable Commissioner Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso, Chairperson on the Working Group on Extractive Industries, the Environment and Human Rights Violations.

The objectives were the following:

– Investigate all the human rights violations and other abuses in Burundi since the beginning of the crisis in April 2015;

– Establish the causes, facts and circumstances that precipitated and constitute such violations and abuses within the framework of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as such relevant international humanitarian law rules; and

– Specify and qualify the human rights violations and other abuses that emerged since the beginning of the current crisis.

The report of the mission to be submitted to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union would propose a number of recommendations.

During its mission, the Delegation met and discussed with various stakeholders from the state apparatus, civil society, media actors, members of the diplomatic corps, international organisations and humanitarian organisations.

The Delegation visited also a detention centre, a hospital and received testimonies from victims of the crisis.

The preliminary findings of the Delegation indicate that the situation of violence is of great concern. During our interaction with stakeholders we received reports of ongoing human rights violations and other abuses including arbitrary killings and targeted assassinations, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, arbitrary suspension and closure of some civil society organizations and the media, etc.

Of equal concern to the Delegation are also reports of people being forced to flee from their homes and continuing flow of refugees as well as social services such as schools and hospitals being seriously affected.

On Friday 11 December, the eruption of major exchange of gunfire, explosions and shootings that lasted for the whole day has led to the escalation of violence and human rights violations.

In order to stop the escalation of violence and remove conditions leading to human rights violations and abuses, the Delegation of the African Commission:

(i) Emphasizing that the current crisis cannot be solved through the use of violence, urges all state and non-state actors to put an immediate end to the ongoing violence and the human rights violations;

(ii) Calls on the Government of Burundi to ensure that all acts of violations of human rights are investigated and redressed in accordance with the standards in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as in other relevant regional and international instruments to which Burundi is a party;

(iii) Urges that humanitarian actors are provided with unfettered access for providing assistance to affected communities and deliver social services;

(iv) Underscoring the importance of the presence of neutral monitors, expresses its support for the human rights observers and the military experts and calls for the strengthening of their numbers and full cooperation in the discharge of their mandates; and

(v) Calls on the people of Burundi to urgently and immediately commence a process that will end the crisis and bring lasting peace in Burundi.

The Delegation expresses its appreciations to the Government of Burundi for accepting to host the mission and for the measures taken to ensure the smooth conduct of the mission, and commends all stakeholders for their collaboration and openness during the mission.

Done in Bujumbura on 13 December 2015

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Final communiqué: Fact-finding Mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Burundi

Acting on the request from the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, a Delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), undertook a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Burundi from 7 to 13 December 2015. The mission was carried in accordance with the promotion and protection mandate of the Commission and pursuant to Article 45 and 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Delegation was composed of:

– Honourable Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Commission and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa;

– Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

– Honourable Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King, Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and

– Honourable Commissioner Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso, Chairperson on the Working Group on Extractive Industries, the Environment and Human Rights Violations.

The objectives were the following:

– Investigate all the human rights violations and other abuses in Burundi since the beginning of the crisis in April 2015;

– Establish the causes, facts and circumstances that precipitated and constitute such violations and abuses within the framework of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as such relevant international humanitarian law rules; and

– Specify and qualify the human rights violations and other abuses that emerged since the beginning of the current crisis.

The report of the mission to be submitted to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union would propose a number of recommendations.

During its mission, the Delegation met and discussed with various stakeholders from the state apparatus, civil society, media actors, members of the diplomatic corps, international organisations and humanitarian organisations.

The Delegation visited also a detention centre, a hospital and received testimonies from victims of the crisis.

The preliminary findings of the Delegation indicate that the situation of violence is of great concern. During our interaction with stakeholders we received reports of ongoing human rights violations and other abuses including arbitrary killings and targeted assassinations, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, arbitrary suspension and closure of some civil society organizations and the media, etc.

Of equal concern to the Delegation are also reports of people being forced to flee from their homes and continuing flow of refugees as well as social services such as schools and hospitals being seriously affected.

On Friday 11 December, the eruption of major exchange of gunfire, explosions and shootings that lasted for the whole day has led to the escalation of violence and human rights violations.

In order to stop the escalation of violence and remove conditions leading to human rights violations and abuses, the Delegation of the African Commission:

(i) Emphasizing that the current crisis cannot be solved through the use of violence, urges all state and non-state actors to put an immediate end to the ongoing violence and the human rights violations;

(ii) Calls on the Government of Burundi to ensure that all acts of violations of human rights are investigated and redressed in accordance with the standards in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as in other relevant regional and international instruments to which Burundi is a party;

(iii) Urges that humanitarian actors are provided with unfettered access for providing assistance to affected communities and deliver social services;

(iv) Underscoring the importance of the presence of neutral monitors, expresses its support for the human rights observers and the military experts and calls for the strengthening of their numbers and full cooperation in the discharge of their mandates; and

(v) Calls on the people of Burundi to urgently and immediately commence a process that will end the crisis and bring lasting peace in Burundi.

The Delegation expresses its appreciations to the Government of Burundi for accepting to host the mission and for the measures taken to ensure the smooth conduct of the mission, and commends all stakeholders for their collaboration and openness during the mission.

Done in Bujumbura on 13 December 2015

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

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Source:: Final communiqué: Fact-finding Mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Burundi

Categories: AFRICA

Egypt Launches safeguard investigations on polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

On 14 December 2015, Egypt notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 8 December 2015 a safeguard investigation on Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). The notice of initiation by the investigating authority was published in the Official Gazette on 10 December 2015.

In the notification, Egypt indicated as follows:

“Interested parties must make themselves known to the investigating authority within a period of 30 days after publication of the notice of the initiation of the investigation.

Any information which the interested parties may wish to submit before the investigating authority should be submitted in writing; and any request for a hearing should be submitted within 30 days following the initiation of this investigation.

The address of the competent authority for correspondence is:

Ministry of Trade and Industry
Antidumping, Subsidy, and Safeguard Body
Head of Antidumping, Subsidy, and Safeguard Body “Ibrahim El Seginy”
Extension of Ramses St.,Nasr, City — Cairo
El Maleya Towers — Tower No. 6 — 9th floor
Tel: (202) 23422479
Fax: (202) 23420784
E-mail: itpd@tas.gov.eg
Website: http://www.tas.gov.eg”

Further information is available in G/SG/N/6/EGY/13.

What is a safeguard investigation?

A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry.

During a safeguard investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties may present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties.

A WTO member may take a safeguard action (i.e. restrict imports of a product temporarily) only if the increased imports of the product are found to be causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Categories: AFRICA

President Kenyatta calls for successful MC10 at China Round Table on LDC accessions

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Shouwen Wang, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the event. The MoU extends the China Programme for another year.

Initiated in July 2011 under the WTO’s Aid for Trade initiative, the China Programme aims to help least-developed countries (LDCs) integrate more effectively into the global economy by strengthening their participation in WTO activities and by helping those not yet members to join the Organization.

President Kenyatta said: “This is the first time a Ministerial Conference is being held on the African continent. Therefore we have to ensure together a successful outcome. We must set a standard that makes a difference and improves the welfare of all of our people. The China Programme has emerged as a valuable mechanism aimed at further integrating the LDCs and the WTO’s recently acceded members into the global trade regime.”

DG Azevêdo said: “Supporting LDCs to reap the benefits of trade is a high priority for our work in the WTO. On behalf of WTO members, I would like to convey our sincere appreciation to the Government of China for this valuable support. We put a lot of focus on LDCs joining the organization, but of course it is only a means to an end. The hard work continues after the process of accession is complete.” His full speech is here.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mrs Amina Mohamed, said: “This Round Table is taking place at an important time for the WTO. The Nairobi Ministerial Conference is the first to take place in Africa and marks the 20th anniversary of the Organization. This year has been momentous for WTO accessions — with the accessions of Seychelles, Kazakhstan, and soon Liberia and Afghanistan. The Round Table is an opportunity to discuss how domestic reforms can support countries’ economic development as a means of delivering sustainable development and improving the quality of peoples’ lives.” Her full speech is here.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Wang, said: “As a staunch supporter of the WTO’s Aid for Trade Initiative, China has provided trade-related technical assistance to LDCs under the China Programme in the past four years. The programme has played a positive and effective role in facilitating LDCs’ integration into the multilateral trading system. Today, we renewed our commitment to the programme and once again demonstrate our strong support for LDCs in the South-South cooperation framework. We appreciate close cooperation with the Secretariat and look forward to the successful implementation of the renewed programme.”

The China Programme supports and finances activities under five pillars:

1. WTO accession internships, involving the placement of interns in the WTO’s Accessions Division and the undertaking of thematic research projects (see more information)

2. WTO Accessions Round Table Meetings, including the Fourth Round Table in Nairobi (see the programme).

3. LDCs’ participation in WTO meetings, which they identify as their priorities. This has included some LDCs, such as African cotton-producing countries, participating in relevant WTO meetings.

4. South-South dialogue on LDCs and development, to periodically review South-South cooperation on trade, with a view to strengthening coordination among LDCs, and among LDCs and developing countries, in concluding WTO negotiations.

5. LDCs’ Trade Policy Review follow-up workshops, to disseminate the results of members’ Trade Policy Reviews, to encourage discussions with stakeholders related to trade policy reforms, and identify the trade-related technical assistance and capacity building needs, with a view to further integrating their trade policies into their overall development strategies.

Since 2008, China has contributed to the various WTO trust funds a total of USD 2,800,000.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Source:: President Kenyatta calls for successful MC10 at China Round Table on LDC accessions

Categories: AFRICA

Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda appointed force commander of African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced today the appointment of Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda as Force Commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Lieutenant General Kamanzi will succeed Lieutenant General Paul Ignace Mella of Tanzania, who will complete his assignment on 31 December 2015. The Secretary-General is grateful to Lieutenant General Mella for his dedication and invaluable service during his tenure in UNAMID.

Lieutenant General Kamanzi brings to the position more than 27 years of national and international military, as well as command and staff experience. Before his appointment, he served as Army Chief of Staff in the Rwandan Defence Forces, a position he took up in 2012. He served as Commander in the Rwanda Military Academy (2010-2012) and as Commander of an infantry brigade (2007-2010). He also held the position of Deputy Force Commander and Chief Military Observer in the African Union Mission in Sudan (2006-2007).

Lieutenant General Kamanzi has a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National Defence University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Makerere University in Kampala. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Nigeria, and the Army Command College in Nanjing, People’s Republic of China.

Born in Uganda in 1964, Lieutenant General Kamanzi is married and has five children.

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

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Source:: Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda appointed force commander of African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur

Categories: AFRICA

Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda appointed force commander of African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced today the appointment of Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda as Force Commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Lieutenant General Kamanzi will succeed Lieutenant General Paul Ignace Mella of Tanzania, who will complete his assignment on 31 December 2015. The Secretary-General is grateful to Lieutenant General Mella for his dedication and invaluable service during his tenure in UNAMID.

Lieutenant General Kamanzi brings to the position more than 27 years of national and international military, as well as command and staff experience. Before his appointment, he served as Army Chief of Staff in the Rwandan Defence Forces, a position he took up in 2012. He served as Commander in the Rwanda Military Academy (2010-2012) and as Commander of an infantry brigade (2007-2010). He also held the position of Deputy Force Commander and Chief Military Observer in the African Union Mission in Sudan (2006-2007).

Lieutenant General Kamanzi has a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National Defence University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Makerere University in Kampala. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Nigeria, and the Army Command College in Nanjing, People’s Republic of China.

Born in Uganda in 1964, Lieutenant General Kamanzi is married and has five children.

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

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Source:: Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi of Rwanda appointed force commander of African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement for Chad and Approves US$28.7 Million Disbursement

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the second review of Chad’s economic performance under the program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF)1 arrangement. Completion of the review enables the immediate disbursement of the equivalent of SDR 20.65 million (about US$28.7 million). This brings total disbursements under the arrangement to the equivalent of SDR 53.93 million (about US$75.1 million).

The Board also approved the authorities’ request for waivers for the non-observance of the performance criterion on the non-accumulation of non-concessional external debt, on the basis of the minor nature of the non-observance, and for the non-observance of the performance criterion on the non-accumulation of domestic payment arrears on the basis of corrective actions taken.

Chad’s three-year ECF arrangement was approved by the Executive Board on August 1, 2014 (see Press Release No. 14/381) for an amount equivalent to SDR 79.92 million (about US$111.3 million). An augmentation of access of 40 percent of quota was approved in April 2015 by the Executive Board, bring total access to SDR 106.56 million (about US$148.4 million).

Following the Executive Board’s discussion on Chad, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, made the following statement:

“Macroeconomic outcomes in Chad have been significantly impacted by two external shocks, namely, the collapse in oil prices and the deterioration of regional security. As a result, growth has slowed sharply, while fiscal spending has been cut in response to the large shortfall in oil receipts. Performance under the Fund-supported economic program has been broadly satisfactory, as most performance criteria have been met, in particular the non-oil primary deficit target—the main fiscal anchor of the program—and the structural reform agenda has progressed in line with program objectives.

“With oil receipts expected to be permanently lower, Chad has adjusted its medium-term fiscal strategy. The draft 2016 budget targets an additional tightening of the underlying fiscal policy stance (i.e., excluding one–off election–related and security spending that will be financed by extraordinary receipts). This strategy is underpinned by an emergency action plan with measures aimed at rationalizing transfers and subsidies and supporting non-oil tax revenue collections. Social spending will continue to be protected, remaining one of the program’s quantitative targets.

“Since projected exceptional receipts from asset sales are an important financing source for the 2016 budget, it is critical that expenditures be phased prudently and the contingency plan in the event of shortfalls or delays in those receipts be implemented. Despite the positive impact of having reached the HIPC completion point, Chad remains at high risk of debt distress and prudent fiscal and borrowing policies remain essential.

“Continued progress in improving transparency of oil revenue is crucial, especially given the recent significant changes in the oil sector. The structural reform agenda remains focused on improving public financial management and removing obstacles to private sector development, economic diversification, and inclusive growth.”

1 An ECF arrangement is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long-term in case of a protracted balance of payments need.

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

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Source:: IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement for Chad and Approves US$28.7 Million Disbursement

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2015 Article IV Consultation with Malawi

On December 11, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2015 Article IV consultation1with Malawi.

Bold economic reforms undertaken in mid-2012, namely the devaluation of the currency, the adoption of a floating exchange rate regime, the liberalization of foreign exchange markets, and the introduction of an automatic fuel price adjustment mechanism transformed the policy environment and greatly improved the outlook of the economy. But uneven policy implementation, high inflation, and a weak balance of payments position–dependent on a narrow export base and financed by volatile donor inflows–continue to pose macroeconomic challenges. Furthermore, the “cashgate” scandal uncovered in 2013 involving a large-scale theft of public funds damaged Malawi’s economic outlook significantly. The subsequent withdrawal of donors’ budgetary support and fiscal and monetary policy slippages prevented the achievement of key objectives of sustainable and inclusive growth, and low inflation under Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy. Over 2012–14, real GDP growth and inflation averaged 4.3 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively.

The economic outlook remains difficult reflecting the negative impact of weather-related shocks, the ongoing suspension of budget support, persistently high inflation and weaker global demand which could hurt Malawi’s exports. Real GDP growth is projected to fall by 2.7 percentage points to 3 percent in 2015 due in large part to heavy floods in early 2015 followed by drought which resulted in an estimated decline of about 30 percent in the maize harvest (the main staple). As a result, an estimated 2.8 million persons remain at risk of food insecurity. Growth is projected to rise gradually to about 5.5 percent over the medium term. Inflation is expected to rise to 25.4 percent at end-2015 and is estimated to ease in 2016 and reach single digits at end-2017 if fiscal and monetary policies tighten, and international prices for food and petroleum products remain low. The external current account deficit will remain in the 8 percent range over the medium term reflecting the demand for imports associated with developmental projects, rapid population growth, and the slow pace of export diversification.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors expressed concerns about the policy slippages that have prevented Malawi from achieving sustained growth and low inflation. They agreed that the outlook is subject to downside risks from continued weather related supply shocks, the interruption of donor budget support, and weaker demand for Malawi’s exports. Accordingly, Directors emphasized that restoration of macroeconomic stability was a critical near term priority. In this context, they underlined the need for fiscal consolidation and tighter monetary policy. Going forward, with implementation of sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms, Directors expected growth to rebound gradually over the medium term along with a decline in inflation.

Directors underscored the benefits of improved revenue mobilization to respond to rising demand for public services from a rapidly growing population and to reduce aid dependence. Directors recommended broadening the tax base, strengthening tax compliance, and modernizing tax administration. Directors emphasized that ensuring medium term fiscal sustainability while safeguarding social spending will require improvements in the allocation and targeting of public spending. Directors stressed the need to accelerate public financial management reforms to restore trust and confidence in the budget process and foster donor re-engagement. Directors also cautioned that the envisaged changes should not make public sector pensions fiscally untenable.

Directors welcomed Malawi’s commitment to the flexible exchange rate regime and the automatic fuel pricing mechanism, both of which have served Malawi well. They cautioned that changes to the fuel import regime involving a greater role for the state-owned company should be transparent and include safeguards against the emergence of contingent liabilities for the budget.

Directors called for intensified efforts to enhance financial sector resilience and its role in fostering inclusive growth. They noted that credit and concentration risks pose a significant threat to banking system stability and warranted continuous vigilance.

Directors encouraged the authorities to implement structural reforms to remove supply bottlenecks, increase agricultural productivity and improve the business environment.

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

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Source:: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2015 Article IV Consultation with Malawi

Categories: AFRICA