Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas continues its consultations with all stakeholders involved in the political crisis in Burkina Faso

DAKAR, Sénégal, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As part of the joint mission which comprises of the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in West Africa (UNOWA), Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, is pursuing its consultations with all stakeholders involved in the ongoing political crisis in Burkina Faso, with the objective to quickly find a solution that is consistent with the national constitution.

The joint mission met in Ouagadougou with key players of the current crisis, including civil society, political opposition and military hierarchy. Mr. Ibn Chambas also met with the Ghanaian President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, the current Chairman of ECOWAS.

The joint mission reiterates its call to all to ensure the safety of people and goods.

The joint mission is encouraged by the commitments of the parties to work together for the organization of a transition in accordance with the constitution. In this regard, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General affirmed that the international community will continue to support the efforts of the Burkinabe to find a constitutional solution to the crisis.

Strategic Headquarters Training Session of the AMANI AFRICA II Field Training Exercise Opens in Harare

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union Commission has moved a step closer to the planned conduct of the AMANI AFRICA II Exercise and in effect the realization of the African Standby Force following the start of the Strategic Headquarters Training in Harare. The training, which comes at a pivotal moment in the exercise cycle aims to provide participants with a better understanding of Peace Support Operations planning and management and prepare them for the Main Exercise, which is scheduled for April 2015. This simulated exercise will play a significant role in evaluating the readiness of the African Standby Force to respond swiftly to ensuing conflicts unhampered by any heavy political and instrumental burdens.

The European Union Representative, Lt. Col. Anton Gash made this observation quite succinctly in his opening remarks. “We have done a lot of theorizing, planning and scenario development, including quite a number of briefings, but really, this is where the work starts and we are here to construct the working platform for the exercise. A lot of the people seated here today, will on day one of AMANI AFRICA II, be wearing some form of uniform, or a badge, for the civilians that indicates that they are part of the core staff of the Strategic Headquarters. This training therefore must be the most concrete, practical and pragmatic stage of the exercise cycle.” The European Union under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy is supporting the initiative and Lt. Col. Gash reassured participants of the EU’s continued political will to support, Africa, the African Union and the AMANI AFRICA II Exercise.

The two-week Strategic Headquarters Training brings together planners from the AU Commission, with officers drawn mainly from the Peace Support Operations Division as well as participants from Member States, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution (RECs/RMs), the European Union and various experts.

The overall objective of the Exercise is to validate the capacity of the African Union to mandate and employ a Rapid Deployment Capability of the African Standby Force (ASF) as a start up operation, and to run a full multidimensional peace support operation.

The exercise, which is one of the main tools deployed to support the development of the ASF will serve to evaluate the state of readiness towards the achievement of Full Operational Capability in 2015. The final field training exercise will be hosted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is why it was ideal to hold the Strategic Headquarters Training in Zimbabwe, one of it’s member countries. Speaking during the opening, Brig. Gen. Christopher Chella, Commandant Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre said, “We are greatly humbled to have been accorded the great honor to host this exercise, on behalf of our continent, and also to host two pre-exercise courses at our Regional Centre of Excellence.” This for us goes to show the immense trust that the AU holds for our region. For this, we are sincerely grateful and pledge to do the very best in our strength to ensure that both courses that we host, and indeed the final exercise itself are a great success,” he added.

When the ASF is finally operational, it will consist of standby arrangements within Africa’s five sub-regions, composed of multidimensional capabilities, including military, police and civilian, on standby in their countries of origin and ready for rapid deployment. The enormous responsibility of directing peace support operations at the continental level falls squarely upon the AU and calls for a coherent and coordinated response to any potential crisis as the Exercise Director, General Iliya observed in his statement. “This aspect of training is very important because this is where the highest direction for Peace Support Operations on the continent takes place. If our Member States are going to place their peacekeepers under our direction, then we must strive to gain the utmost confidence of all the African countries.”

It is anticipated that at the end of the training, exercise participants will be well equipped with the relevant tools to enable them play their respective roles successfully during the Main Exercise in April 2015. During the opening session, participants observed a moment of silence in memory of the late President Michael Chilufya Sata of Zambia followed by a minute’s silence in memory of the many African peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of duty.

IMF Executive Board Approves US$5.24 million Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility for Guinea-Bissau

BISSAU, Guinea Bissau, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved today emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF)1 equivalent to SDR3.55 million (about US$5.24 million) for Guinea-Bissau to enable the authorities to meet their urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs. The Board’s approval enables the immediate disbursement of the full amount, which is equivalent to 25 percent of Guinea Bissau’s quota in the IMF.

The IMF financial assistance is aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability. It will help address urgent budgetary and balance of payments gaps, reduce poverty by resuming key government services and strengthen the capacity of the government of Guinea-Bissau. The Board’s approval of the RCF disbursement will also enable the authorities to engage in discussions with development partners’ regarding further assistance.

The newly elected government inherited very difficult conditions. After two years of economic disruption, eroded government revenues, a compression in social spending and accumulated external and domestic arrears, real gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2 percent and poverty increased markedly. In its first months, the new government started to rebuild government revenues, which, together with renewed donor assistance and the placement of treasury bills in the regional market, allowed for the elimination of almost all salary arrears. Economic activity is projected to gradually recover and grow by 2.5 percent in 2014.

Following the Executive Board discussion on Guinea-Bissau2, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the following statement:

“The newly-elected government of Guinea-Bissau is taking action to confront the country’s economic and social challenges. After two years of economic disruption and worsening fiscal imbalances, the authorities have resumed many of the basic government functions, approved the 2014 budget, and cleared most of wage arrears incurred since 2013.

“To maintain macroeconomic stability, the government must continue with a prudent fiscal policy that limits spending to available resources and prioritizes it carefully. Clearing the still outstanding domestic arrears of 2013 and 2014 and all external arrears by year-end will be an important step to support the recovery. Going forward, the authorities should focus on preventing re-emergence of arrears by avoiding extra-budgetary expenditures and improving cash management. In this regard, the reinstatement of the treasury committee and the preparation of cash management plans are steps in the right direction.

“International financial support for Guinea-Bissau needs to be complemented by further efforts to mobilize domestic revenues and strengthen public financial management. Technical assistance from development partners to prioritize fiscal reforms, and boost implementation capacity will be crucial in the period ahead.

“The government’s intention to audit the operations of the national cashew fund is welcome. Abolition of this fund would have an immediate beneficial impact on household consumption. The authorities will need to elaborate more efficient and pro-poor alternatives to support agriculture and the cashew sector.

“The medium-term prospects for poverty reduction and economic development in Guinea Bissau hinge on addressing pervasive economic and political vulnerabilities. In addition to the security sector reform, this calls for structural reforms on a broad front to diversify the economy and improve governance and the business environment.”

1 The RCF provides immediate financial assistance with limited conditionality to low-income countries with an urgent balance of payments need. In this context, the economic policies of a member receiving RCF financing are expected to address the underlying balance of payments difficulties and support policy objectives including macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction. Financing under the RCF carries zero interest (until end 2014), has a grace period of 5.5 years, and a final maturity of 10 years. The Fund reviews the level of interest rates for all concessional facilities every two years.

2 At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/eternal/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

Ireland Government signs three landmark agreements with Ethiopia

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ireland has today cemented its strong relations with Ethiopia with the signing of three bilateral agreements.

During the visit of President Michael D Higgins to Ethiopia, Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Cooperation, Seán Sherlock, TD, signed agreements on transport, double taxation, and development cooperation.

Speaking from Addis Ababa, Minister Sherlock said:

“The signing of these agreements further deepens our already excellent diplomatic relations.

“The transport agreement will facilitate direct flights by Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles, with a stopover in Dublin, beginning June 2015.

“This is an important step in opening new markets and will considerably improve business and trade opportunities for Ireland.”

On the double taxation agreement, Minister Sherlock said:

“The double taxation agreement will provide certainty to businesses who want to invest in both Ireland and Ethiopia.

“Each year, Irish exports to Ethiopia are worth €20 million.

“There are huge opportunities for Irish companies in Africa and this is a very welcome development.”

The final agreement signed today will update and modernise Ireland and Ethiopia’s development cooperation.

“Ethiopia has made impressive progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and through Irish Aid, we hope to help Ethiopia continue this success.” Minister Sherlock said.

FCO Minister announces plans for further cooperation with Tunisia

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood announces plans for further cooperation at UK-Tunisia Bilateral Forum.

Following the UK-Tunisia Bilateral Forum, Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said:

“I am delighted to have hosted Tunisian Deputy Foreign Minister Gouia at the UK-Tunisia Bilateral Forum today, the first since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution. I warmly welcome our greater cooperation. The UK has strongly supported Tunisia’s successful democratic transition, which has become a model for the region. Together we look forward to further strengthening ties across a wide range of sectors, to our countries’ shared benefit.

“I committed the UK to providing further counter-terrorist equipment and training; sharing expertise in public-private partnerships and developing regulatory frameworks in the energy sector; and supporting the establishment of a branch of Brighton University in Tunisia, and English language learning. We also held productive discussions on a range of regional issues, including Libya, Iraq and Syria.”

Vivo Energy Ghana Rewards Shell Customers in First Draw

ACCRA, Ghana, November 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Vivo Energy Ghana (http://www.vivoenergy.com), the company that distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants, has rewarded 31 customers who won various promotional items including a brand new Hyundai i10 in the first mini draw of the Shell Akyede Kese Promotion.

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Ms. Grace Appiah a worker at the Suntreso Government Hospital in Kumasi who won the brand new Hyundai i10 expressed her excitement at winning the ultimate prize in the first draw and lauded Vivo Energy Ghana’s effort to reward its customers.

“I am a loyal customer of Shell and always buy my fuel at Harper Road Shell Service Station in Kumasi. I still couldn’t believe that I had won the brand new Hyundai i10 car, until I came to witness the event. I can testify that Shell fuels are of good quality and want to encourage other Motorists to fuel their cars at Shell” says Ms. Grace Appiah.

Presenting the Prizes, the Head of Distribution for Vivo Energy Group and the Acting Managing Director of Vivo Energy Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Faulkner said the Shell Akyede Kese Promotion was launched in October, to reward Shell customers and offer Motorists a memorable customer experience at the forecourts.

“The Shell Akyede Kese is a promotion designed to celebrate our customers in a big way. That is why we are giving away three Hyundai cars from Stallion Motors and other 40,000 fantastic prizes. We encourage Motorists to buy from Shell Service Stations to win all the exciting prizes and enjoy fuel savings as well.”

Mr. Ebenezer Faulkner said Shell’s quality fuels including Shell V-Power, Shell Diesel and Super Extra are backed by the unique technological expertise and decades of research and development by some of the best scientists around the world, all working to help Motorists get the most out of every drop.

Other winners in the first draw includes Mr Francis Ahlijah and Owusu Agyeman who won LED Flat screen Television set and a Tablet respectively. Some winners also took home smart phones, free fuel, free shopping vouchers among other amazing prizes.

The Shell Akyede Kese promotion continues and for each visit to a Shell Service Station, Motorists are required to buy a minimum of GH¢60 worth of fuel to qualify for a coupon. They then type Shell, leave a space and then the secret code on the coupon and text to 1406 from all networks to enter the draw.

There will be another mini draw in November with Motorists winning a sleek Hyundai i10 vehicle each and a Hyundai Accent as the ultimate prize for the final draw in December.

In addition, there will be activations at selected Shell Service Stations across the country where motorists will win instant prizes when they visit these stations between 11am and 2pm. The selected sites will be announced on radio in the course of the promotion.

Vivo Energy Ghana is proud to be the leading provider of Shell’s differentiated fuels offering numerous benefits including improved engine performance and reduced fuel consumption-giving customers extra kilometres and extra engine protection at no extra cost. Go well Go Shell!

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Vivo Energy.

Media Contact

Vivo Energy Ghana: Corporate Communications Manager: Shirley Tony Kum: Cell: +233 540116600 Email: shirley.kum@vivioenergy.com

Notes to the Editor

Vivo Energy Ghana (http://www.vivoenergy.com), the company that distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants, was established in August 2013. The Shell brand has been in Ghana for 85 years. Vivo Energy Ghana has a storage capacity of 11,000m³ and 138 retail stations with a majority offering of Shell Cards and convenience retail stores. Vivo Energy Ghana employs 146 people but the business provides indirect employment to over 1,000 people. The company is recognised as the leader in the oil industry especially championing and setting standards for safety in sales and distribution.

Vivo Energy operates in retail; commercial fuels (marine, mining and aviation through Vitol Aviation); liquefied petroleum gas and lubricants in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda.

The company employs around 2,250 people and operates 1,450 retail stations under the Shell brand and has access to approximately 900,000 cubic meters of fuel storage capacity. Shell and Vivo Lubricants will have blending capacity of around 170,000 metric tons at plants in seven countries (Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal) producing Shell branded lubricants.

For more information about Vivo Energy please visit: www.vivoenergy.com

@VivoEnergy

www.linkedin.com/company/vivo-energy

www.facebook.com/VivoEnergyGhana

@VivoEnergyGhana

Shell trademarks used under license

Additional US $1.6 million brings Government of Norway’s funding of Common Humanitarian Fund in Sudan to$8.4 million this year.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — .To help address Sudan’s growing humanitarian needs,the Government of Norway has contributed an additional US $1.6 million to the Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), following an US $8.4 million contribution earlier this year.

‘The CHF provides timely assistance and fills critical gaps in our response to humanitarian needs in vulnerable parts of Sudan” said Morten Aasland, Norway’s Ambassador to Sudan. “This year we have seen an unprecedented number of large scale humanitarian crises in different parts of the world, including Sudan’s two neighbors South Sudan and the Central African Republic. This creates enormous pressure on funding. But at the same time, it is very important that we that reach those in need without unnecessary complications.”

Norway’s contribution will allowhumanitarian organizations to provide urgent assistance to those affected by food shortages following conflict and floods. The funding will also allow the UN, international NGOs and National NGOs to work in remote areas in Darfur and East Sudan also to meet growing needs ofrefugees whohave fled violence in South Sudan.

“Since the beginning of 2014, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Sudan has risen by 800,000 people, with some6.9 million people now requiring assistance,” said Ali Al-Za’tari, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. “Norway’s generous contribution will allow agencies to address the critical humanitarian needs of thousands facing food insecurity, malnutrition and lack of healthcare in remote and underfunded regions across Sudan.”

Since the fund’s inception in 2006, the Government of Norway has generously allocated US $137 million. Currently CHF funded projects are providing critical assistance across Sudan, to Internally Displaced People, refugees and local communities. Approximately 64 per cent of the projects are in Darfur, where they aim to reach almost 6 million people.

The Sudan CHF is a multi-donor pooled fund that supports the timely allocation and disbursement of funds to Sudan’s most critical humanitarian needs. To date, the Sudan CHF has received and granted over one billion dollars to aid organizations in Sudan.

Additional US $1.6 million brings Government of Norway’s funding of Common Humanitarian Fund in Sudan to$8.4 million this year.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — .To help address Sudan’s growing humanitarian needs,the Government of Norway has contributed an additional US $1.6 million to the Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), following an US $8.4 million contribution earlier this year.

‘The CHF provides timely assistance and fills critical gaps in our response to humanitarian needs in vulnerable parts of Sudan” said Morten Aasland, Norway’s Ambassador to Sudan. “This year we have seen an unprecedented number of large scale humanitarian crises in different parts of the world, including Sudan’s two neighbors South Sudan and the Central African Republic. This creates enormous pressure on funding. But at the same time, it is very important that we that reach those in need without unnecessary complications.”

Norway’s contribution will allowhumanitarian organizations to provide urgent assistance to those affected by food shortages following conflict and floods. The funding will also allow the UN, international NGOs and National NGOs to work in remote areas in Darfur and East Sudan also to meet growing needs ofrefugees whohave fled violence in South Sudan.

“Since the beginning of 2014, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Sudan has risen by 800,000 people, with some6.9 million people now requiring assistance,” said Ali Al-Za’tari, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. “Norway’s generous contribution will allow agencies to address the critical humanitarian needs of thousands facing food insecurity, malnutrition and lack of healthcare in remote and underfunded regions across Sudan.”

Since the fund’s inception in 2006, the Government of Norway has generously allocated US $137 million. Currently CHF funded projects are providing critical assistance across Sudan, to Internally Displaced People, refugees and local communities. Approximately 64 per cent of the projects are in Darfur, where they aim to reach almost 6 million people.

The Sudan CHF is a multi-donor pooled fund that supports the timely allocation and disbursement of funds to Sudan’s most critical humanitarian needs. To date, the Sudan CHF has received and granted over one billion dollars to aid organizations in Sudan.

APO named official wire service for Mining Indaba™, the world’s largest mining investment event

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Mining Indaba has named APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) the official wire service of the 21st Annual Investing in African Mining Indaba conference (“Mining Indaba™”) – the world’s largest mining investment event (http://www.miningindaba.com), which takes place 9-12 February 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Logo : http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/apo-african-press-organization-small.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=782 (Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization)

Every February the 4-day conference attracts over 7,000 of the most influential stakeholders – financier, investors, mining executives, government officials, etc- in African mining, making it the world’s largest mining investment conference and Africa’s largest mining event.

More than 45 African and non-African Government delegations, investors, analysts, and financiers from across the globe, business leaders and regulators from more than 110 countries attend the event each year, as well as representatives from over 2,300 international companies.

APO (African Press Organization), the leading press release wire in Africa and the official newswire of Mining Indaba™, is offering participants a 20% discount, and sponsors a 25% discount off pan-African news release distribution via Africa Wire®, the service for press release wire distribution and monitoring in Africa; as well as 10% discount for all other services.

Mining Indaba’s press releases will be distributed via Africa Wire®, the newswire service for press release distribution and monitoring in Africa. This reaches over 50,000 media outlets, bloggers and social networks, and redistributes content to more than 50 African websites, as well as to Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis, Dow Jones Factiva, 250 million mobile subscribers in 30 countries, and more.

“Mining Indaba is the world’s preferred destination for deal-making in African mining. The conference is a central hub for breaking market-sensitive news from mining corporates, government figure heads and other industry stakeholders with regards to developments in African mining. Having APO as the official newswire for the Mining Indaba provides a great benefit to all the participants at the annual Mining Indaba. Through this collaboration they will be able to further distribute their important news announcements to this vast network of journalists throughout Africa and abroad,” says Maria Palombini, Group Marketing Director, Mining Indaba™.

Used by some of the world’s largest companies, PR agencies, institutions and organizations, APO Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million and guarantees the most extensive outreach in Africa, acting as a channel that allows APO’s clients to target audiences in all parts of the continent and also the world.

“It is expected that demand for major mined commodities to grow strongly in the next 10 to 20 years, to support increased urbanization and infrastructure build-out in China and the emergence of India’s middle class. Africa, given its share of global resources, will surely play a significant part in meeting that demand. We are supporting Mining Indaba because the sector having gone through some turbulent changes require attention from the media”, said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Founder and CEO.

More information about Africa Wire®, the service for newswire press release distribution in Africa, is available at http://www.apo-opa.com/services.php

Contact:

Aïssatou Diallo

bdm@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

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