Foreign Secretary statement on EgyptAir flight MS804

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

My thoughts are with the family and friends of all those missing following the disappearance of EgyptAir’s flight MS804. We are in close contact with Egyptian and French authorities and have offered the Egyptian authorities our support in their search and rescue efforts.

We know that one British passport holder boarded the flight in Paris and our staff are providing support and assistance to the family at this difficult time. We will continue to help in any way we can.

Further information

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

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Source:: Foreign Secretary statement on EgyptAir flight MS804

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Banjul+10: commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the African Youth Charter

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What: Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the African Youth Charter

Theme: “10 Years Implementation of the African Youth Charter: Accelerating Youth Development in Africa”

When: 21-25 May 2016

21-22 May: BANJUL+10 side events
23 May: Presentation of the 3-year Strategy and Work Plan towards the end of the Youth Decade Plan of Action
24 May: Official opening ceremony and Ministerial Session
25 May: High Level Roundtable and Intergenerational Dialogue

Who: The African Union Commission in collaboration with the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, and with the support of UNFPA, UNESCO, UNAIDS, IPPF, GESCI, Commonwealth

Where: Banjul, The Gambia

Objectives: The main objective of the Banjul+10 AYC commemoration is to provide a common platform for Member States to conduct a peer review of their investments to “prepare the future” for Africa’s youth;

The specific objectives of the celebration include:

To provide a high-level political forum for intergenerational discourse and advocacy, stakeholders’ interaction, agenda setting and celebration of African youth Initiatives.
To showcase the progress Africa youth are making across all fields of human endeavour surviving against all odds, leading innovation, creativity and public service.
To ensure and facilitate broad based and inclusive consultations that will set the

baseline for assessing progress in the youth development targets of Africa’s growth and development paradigm beyond 2015.

To provide an avenue for discussion on the proposed Africa’s demographic framework that will guide the application of a youth lens at all levels and in the rollout of the AU 2063 Agenda.
Commemoration of the African Liberation Day in Banjul, The Gambia May 2016

Participants:

The Commemoration will be attended by Member States, the African Union Commission, the Pan African Youth Union, Regional Youth Organizations, National Youth Councils, Civil society, Diaspora Youth; Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Partners in Youth Development, Youth Champions and Invited Guests, Media.

Expected outcomes:

Renewed impetus for the implementation of the African Youth Charter, towards Youth Development and Empowerment in Africa.
Banjul+10 declaration and two years action towards accelerated

implementation of the African Youth Decade Plan of Action.

Draft of roadmap of activities for the commemoration of AU 2017 theme on “Harnessing Demographic Dividend through investments in youth”.
Raised awareness for promoting youth employability, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Propose mechanisms for the establishment of the African Union Chairperson’s Envoy on Youth discussed.

Background:

During the Seventh Ordinary Session of the AU Summit in Banjul Gambia, July 2006, African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the African Youth Charter (AYC) – a political and legal document which serves as a strategic framework that gives direction for youth empowerment and development at continental, regional and national levels. The AYC aims to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful youth participation and equal partnership in driving Africa’s development agenda.

So far, 42 countries have signed the charter, and 38 have ratified it. It was indeed one of the fastest ratified legal instruments of the African Union, for which reason, African countries can congratulate themselves for recognizing and honouring the place of youth. Also, it is important to note that beyond Africa the African Youth Charter is well known and has inspired international youth Forums, organizations, and policies in Europe, South America, UN agencies amongst others.

Ten years later, Africa is taking stock of the progress made as well as the challenges faced, in order to collectively re-strategize and strengthen the momentum towards the implementation of the African Youth Charter and by implication achieving the vision set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063. The commemoration of the tenth year anniversary of the Youth Charter will be under the theme “10 Years Implementation of the African Youth Charter: Accelerating Youth Development in Africa”. As a “rights based” policy framework, it is critical to foreground youth rights in all its facets and as a guideline towards the achievement of the desired developmental outcomes for young people in Africa.

Banjul+10 is an opportunity to advance the agenda of youth empowerment and development in all member states by ensuring, as a mechanism, mutual accountability to the obligations of African Youth Charter and re-affirming commitments in the Decade of Youth 2009 – 2018 and its Plan of Action. The Outcomes of the Banjul+10 will feed into the second AU Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting of AU Ministers in Charge of Youth, Culture and Sports, and also serve as roadmap for the 2017 ‘African Year for Harnessing Demographic Dividends for accelerated Youth Empowerment’

Media representatives based in Gambia and the sub-region are invited to cover the event.

Join the Twitter conversations on the 10 year anniversary of the African Youth Charter using our Twitter handle @AUYouthProgram and the hashtag #AUBanjulPlus10.

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

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The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) Ink an Agreement to Boost Regional Trade and Investments

At the side lines of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group 41st Annual Meeting in Jakarta, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org), the private sector arm of IDB Group and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), a multilateral financial institution headquartered in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The MoU reaffirms the commitment of BSTDB and ICD to the objective of sustainable economic and social development and emphasizes the importance of effective economic cooperation through undertaking research and capacity-building programs in order to better serve common member countries in the Black Sea region – Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey. ICD and BSTDB will facilitate trade and investments in these countries through co-financing and co-investment projects and by supporting joint networking opportunities, with the aim of promoting inclusive growth. In addition, SMEs in the region will also benefit from efforts that will be focused on easing their financial burden, including financing businesses both directly and through financial institutions.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Ihsan Ugur Delikanli, President of BSTDB and Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi, the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of ICD.

During the signing ceremony, Mr. Khaled Al-Aboodi expressed his strong support for the partnership, stating: “ICD and BSTDB are founded on similar principles and mandate, and today’s signing is a step in the right direction to facilitating faster growth of trade and investment opportunities in the Black Sea region. I look forward to both institutions working in a collaborative and complementary way to effectively address some of the needs and concerns of the region.”

Dr. Ihsan Ugur Delikanli said, “I believe this collaboration is an important platform to harness the synergies and cooperation potential of our two development financial institutions. I am confident that by working together, we will advance regional economic progress, achieve tangible results, and move forward towards a brighter future.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

For further information please contact:

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

Ahmed A Khalid / Nabil Al-Alami
Regional Head – Asia / Head, Marketing
E-mail: aabdulkhalid@isdb.org / nalami@isdb.org

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank
Haroula Christodoulou, Principal Associate- External Relations and Media E-mail: cchristodoulou@bstdb.org

About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

ICD (www.ICD-ps.org) is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments which are in accordance with the principles of Sharia’a. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s. For more information, visit www.ICD-ps.org

About Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB)

The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is an international financial institution established by Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The BSTDB headquarters are in Thessaloniki, Greece. BSTDB supports economic development and regional cooperation by providing loans, credit lines, equity and guarantees for projects and trade financing in the public and private sectors in its member countries. The authorized capital of the Bank is EUR 3.45 billion. BSTDB is rated long-term “A-” by Standard and Poor’s and “A2” by Moody’s. For information on BSTDB, visit www.bstdb.org.

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Four accounting hacks that keep small businesses afloat – and profitable

Many business owners are not equipped to survive the years of hard work and reach overall success. Lack of finance is one of the biggest reasons for this. For many small and medium business owners, managing finances is one of the most challenging tasks.

Poor accounting practices leave business owners in the dark as to their financial standing. While in many companies, this is a role fulfilled by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), in a small or medium enterprise, this is just one of the many hats the business owner needs to wear.

Business owners make life sacrifices, take risks to follow their dreams and pursue their passions.

It is vital that they have the necessary information to ensure that they can focus on their business and leapfrog into the future.

Here are four fail proof hacks to keep your business financially sound:

  1. Separate business from personal accounts

Dedicating an account to a business’s income and expenses is vital to ensuring that personal and business expenses are kept tidy.

This is also useful when it comes to tax season and saving money. If a bookkeeper or accountant charges by the hour then having them stick to work finances instead of handling personal expenses will save them time and the business money. An itemised business account also helps with managing and projecting cash flow.

  1. Track business expenses

Supporting the bottom line isn’t just about increasing sales and revenue but also about keeping expenses in check.

Tracking and limiting expenses will automatically increase profit and also bodes well for tax planning. This not only helps with having a clear picture of the business’s financial standing but also helps with reducing costs and potentially increasing tax rebates.

  1. Get automated: Find a good software accounting tool

Good accounting software that can grow with a business, preferably from a supplier that also started small and understands the challenges of this market, helps a business owner keep a finger on the financial pulse of the entity.

The introduction of cloud based accounting software has also made the costs of this service more financially viable. Technology has the ability to automate and speed up the calculations of business expenses such as tax and payroll and ensure that these are accurate. By automating accounting processes, this will free up time for staff to focus on other activities.

  1. Accurate invoicing and payment collections

Ensuring that invoicing is accurate, delivered on time and up to date is an essential element of financial success. Using an automated accounting system keeps you up to date on clients who need to pay and when. This also ensures that the cash flow of the business is always kept healthy.

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

For media queries:

Idea Engineers (PR agency for Sage)
Ashmika Panday
Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)73 626 0108
ashmika@ideaengineers.co.za

Idea Engineers
Del-Mari Roberts
Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)72 5958 053
delmari@ideaengineers.co.za

About Sage
Sage (www.Sage.com) is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the U.K. 30 years ago, and over 13,000 colleagues now support millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries as they power the global economy. We reinvent and simplify business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners, and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are active in supporting our local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

Sage – the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.Sage.com

Source:: Four accounting hacks that keep small businesses afloat – and profitable

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The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signs MoU to assist PT Mandala Multifinance TBK in the establishment of a stand-alone Sharia’a compliant finance company

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) (www.ICD-ps.org), the private sector arm of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, in partnership with PT Mandala Multifinance TBK, an Indonesia-based company engaged in consumer financing, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which ICD will offer its assistance in the carving out of Mandala’s Sharia’a business to a stand-alone Sharia’a compliant multi-finance company via ICD’s Islamic Finance Institution (IFI) program.

The Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of ICD, Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi, and the Chief Executive Officer and President of Mandala, Mr. Harryjanto Lasmana, signed the MoU on behalf of the two organizations in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, at the sidelines of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group 41stAnnual General Meeting held at the Jakarta Convention Center.

The agreement outlines the parameters of ICD’s advisory services to Mandala and paves the way for the equity participation of ICD and its related entities in the newly-established company. The company is set to operate out of Indonesia. ICD has been one of the key financiers to Mandala for the past seven years and has successfully managed to bring its financial institution partners from the region as well as from the Middle East region to support Mandala’s ongoing business expansion.

During the signing ceremony, Mr. Khaled Al-Aboodi commented: “The Islamic Finance Institution (IFI) Program was launched as part of ICD’s mission to develop and promote Islamic financial institutions in member countries. I am convinced that ICD’s wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in providing financial advisory and sound technical services will guarantee the successful transition of Mandala’s Sharia’a compliant business into a new Islamic multi-finance company which is up to global standards.”

Mr. Harryjanto said, “I am very pleased today to ink this agreement together with ICD, and Mandala remains grateful for the generous and timely support offered. ICD has been instrumental in Mandala’s rapid growth and the new Islamic unit will indeed add a new dimension to the business, especially seeing that it will attract investors from Middle Eastern financial institutions. Over the years, Islamic finance has notably served as a viable funding mechanism for various economic sectors, thus demonstrating its viability as an engine of growth. That said, I am convinced that the new unit will further create value for the Islamic finance industry. We look forward to a productive and fruitful collaboration.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

For further information please contact:
Ahmed A Khalid / Nabil Al-Alami
Regional Head – Asia / Head, Marketing
E-mail: aabdulkhalid@isdb.org / nalami@isdb.org
Website: www.icd-ps.org

About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)
ICD (www.ICD-ps.org) is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments which are in accordance with the principles of Sharia’a. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s. For more information, visit www.icd-ps.org

About PT Mandala Multifinance TBK
PT Mandala Multifinance TBK is an Indonesia-based Company engaged in consumer financing. The Company’s business includes leasing, factoring, credit card and consumer financing. It focuses on two-wheel vehicles financing business, particularly motorcycle financing. The Sharia financing service is executed by the cooperation support of Sharia banks. Headquartered in Jakarta, it also operates offices in Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan.

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Growth is on the African Business Agenda – PwC report

Africa remains one of the preferred frontiers for investment opportunities and doing business, according to a report released by PwC Africa today (www.PwC.com). Growth and foreign direct investment has continued in Africa amid the recent global economic uncertainty.

Download the report: http://www.apo.af/GQ1wcC

This is confirmed by PwC’s Africa Business Agenda survey, which shows that Africa and the emerging markets remain a vital growth opportunity for CEOs. The Africa Business Agenda compiles results from 153 CEOs and includes insights from business and public sector leaders from across Africa.

Hein Boegman, CEO for PwC Africa, says: “CEOs in Africa are ramping up their efforts to innovate and find new ways to do business on the continent in a move to stimulate growth in a challenging and uncertain global business environment.

“The global financial and economic crisis has revealed Africa’s vulnerability to a number of external economic shocks. These include the decline in commodity prices fueled by the economic slowdown in China; a marked decline in the demand for commodities; and the collapse in value of the emerging market currencies against the US-dollar in anticipation of an interest rate hike.

“Notwithstanding a multitude of challenges, many of which are cyclical, we remain confident that Africa’s prospects remain positive. Africa’s business leaders have the opportunity to pursue new business opportunities on the continent, more particularly in the light of rapid innovative and technological advances that have the potential to transform and shape industries.”

Africa’s CEOs are critically aware of these issues and the impact they may on their businesses. CEOs believe global economic growth is unlikely to improve and will stay the same in the short and mid-term; nonetheless they remain confident that there are opportunities for growth over the next 12 months (78%), and 9 out of 10 believe they can deliver growth in the next three years.

The global business environment has become increasingly complex and challenging. The report shows that CEOs in Africa share many of the same concerns with their peers globally. The top three concerns include exchange rate volatility (92%), government response to fiscal deficit and debt burden (90%) and social instability (80%).

CEOs in South Africa have similar concerns as their counterparts on the continent, with the report showing that there are uncertainties about government response to fiscal deficit and debt burden, social instability, and high unemployment or underemployment.

Across the continent, shifting demographics, rapid urbanisation, rising disposable income and technological change are all influencing growth opportunities and strategies. Africa’s CEOs rank technological advances (75%), demographic shifts (52%) and a shift in global economic power (58%) as the top three defining trends that will transform their businesses over the next five years. In addition, new advancements and breakthroughs in frontiers of R&D are opening up more opportunities for businesses.

Our survey of CEOs reveals four common priorities among Africa’s business leaders: diversification and innovation; addressing greater stakeholder expectations; effectively leveraging growth catalysts like technology, innovation and talent; and measuring and communicating shared prosperity.

Catalysts for growth

In Africa, the environment is constantly changing and the growth opportunities are unparalleled. After more than a decade of urbanisation, Africa is poised for a digital revolution. Increasingly, organisations are using technology to challenge business models and disrupt competitors in markets. Technology was seen by CEOs in the survey as the best way of assessing and delivering on customer expectations by implementing customer relationship management systems (69%), interpreting the complex and evolving needs of customers through data and analytics (56%), and improving communication and engagement by means of social media (58%).

Corporate governance has also brought IT to the fore. In South Africa, the draft King IV report recognises that information technology (IT) has become an integral part of doing business today.

Going forward, CEOs in Africa indicated that they will be more actively looking for partners, while keeping an eye on costs. Partnerships and alliances feature prominently in their plans, with more than half of Africa CEOs (56%) planning to enter into strategic alliances over the next 12 months. In addition, 16% say they intend carrying out cross-border merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the next year. Looking at investment prospects, China (22%), Kenya (22%), Uganda (20%) and South Africa (18%) remain the countries Africa CEOs view as most important for growth in the next 12 months.

While many organisations across the globe are expanding or seeking to expand in Africa, the availability of key skills stands out as a key concern for CEOs both in Africa and South Africa. More than half of Africa’s CEOs expect to increase their headcount over the next year. ‘The talent trends that we are seeing suggest that the market is becoming more and more competitive,” Boegman adds. As a result companies are having to review their talent management strategies. Around half plan to invest more in their leadership pipeline and focus on developing their institutional culture.

Stakeholders’ expectations

Across Africa boardroom agendas are changing, with many additional focus areas being brought to the table. The corporate landscape continues to undergo constant change, with companies being confronted by shareholders and other institutional investors who demand explanations around financial reporting and performance. In the process business is encountering a range of challenges in responding to wider stakeholder expectations. These include: additional costs to doing business (62%), unclear or inconsistent standards or regulations (45%), and customers’ unwillingness to pay (35%).

Dion Shango, CEO for PwC Southern Africa, says: “More successful companies tend to be collaborative and collective in their engagement with stakeholders. Business leaders need to have a business rationale for engaging and collaborating with stakeholders, while being acutely aware of the risks posed by not engaging with all relevant stakeholders.

“One of the most significant benefits of engaging and collaborating with stakeholders is that an organisation may be able to engage new markets in Africa and speed up the introduction of new products and services.”

Trust is also emerging as an important differentiator in the business community. Building trust helps organisations to attract investment and build stakeholder loyalty. It is concerning to note that 65% of Africa CEOs are somewhat or extremely concerned about the lack of trust in business. Corruption is also seen as a major threat by businesses (86%). The private sector has taken the initiative to fight corruption by calling on government and regulators to enforce legislation and codes of business practice.

Communicating shared prosperity

It is positive to note that Africa CEOs are increasingly recognising the importance of reporting on non-financial matters. In addition, most Africa CEOs surveyed not only believe that success is dependent on more than just making money, they also believe that their organisatiions should do more to report on the broader impact of their activities and how these activities create value for stakeholders.

Shango concludes: “Africa and South African CEOs have built on the experience of the past few years and are better prepared to deal with the host of challenges and uncertainties. CEOs have and also continue to reshape their business strategies to take advantage of new opportunities for growth, both in existing and new markets.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

Media Contacts:

Hein Boegman: CEO for PwC Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 4355
Email: hein.boegman@za.pwc.com

OR

Dion Shango: CEO for PwC Southern Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 4166
Email: dion.shango@za.pwc.com

OR

Sanchia Temkin: Head of Media Relations, PwC South Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 4470
Email: sanchia.temkin@za.pwc.com

OR

Nonki Ndlazi: Media Liaison Officer
Office: + 27 11 797 0418
Email: nonki.ndlazi@za.pwc.com

OR

Bafiihlile Mokoena: Account Executive, Edelman South Africa
Office: + 27 11 504 4000/Mobile: + 27 (0) 73 753 1025
Email: Bafihlile.Mokoena@edelman.com

About PwC

At PwC (www.PwC.com), our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC has a presence in 36 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.PwC.com/structure for further details.

©2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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Japan-Ghana Summit Meeting ‒ Joint Statement

1. H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Mrs. Lordina Dramani Mahama paid an Official Working Visit to Japan from 17 to 20 May 2016, at the invitation of the Government of Japan.

2. H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and President Mahama held a bilateral summit meeting in Tokyo on 18 May 2016. Prime Minister Abe welcomed President Mahama’s second visit as President since his last visit in May 2013. President Mahama offered his condolences to the victims of the Earthquake Centered in the Kumamoto Region of Kumamoto Prefecture 2016, and expressed his sympathies to the people in the affected areas. Both leaders showed their satisfaction with the development of their long-standing friendly and cooperative relations that has been nurtured between the two countries in both bilateral and multilateral contexts. They also confirmed their determination to further strengthen their ties and noted that the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations next year would be an excellent opportunity to do so.

3. Both leaders affirmed the importance of universal values, such as democracy and the rule of law. They also emphasised that they would strengthen dialogue and cooperation to ensure peace and stability of the international community while upholding the international system based on the rule of law. President Mahama welcomed Japan’s intention to contribute even more proactively in securing peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the international community, and supported Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation as well as Legislation for Peace and Stability, which took effect in March this year as its concrete practice of that policy.

4. Prime Minister Abe highly commended Ghana’s long history of stable democracy, its achievement in economic growth and steady social improvements in recent years, as well as its active contribution to peace and stability in Africa and the rest of the world, and expressed his determination to continue supporting Ghana’s efforts. President Mahama expressed his gratitude for Japan’s long-standing assistance to Ghana’s socio-economic growth and stability.

5. Both leaders welcomed a recent increase in the activities of Japanese companies in Ghana, which is considered as one of the economic gateways to West Africa for the Japanese business community, and recognised the benefit of further enhancement of economic ties for both sides. In this regard, both leaders confirmed their willingness to accelerate and conclude at the earliest possible timing the ongoing negotiations of a bilateral investment treaty. Both leaders also shared the recognition of the importance of the conclusion of an avoidance of double taxation convention between Japan and Ghana to further enhance investment and economic exchanges between the two countries and decided to start consultations in this regard at the earliest possible timing.

6. Both leaders stressed the importance of quality infrastructure in Ghana and expressed their intention to promote Japan’s role in this regard, based on the outcome of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) and with a view to further strengthening cooperation towards the next TICAD summit meeting. From this perspective, President Mahama expressed his sincere gratitude for Prime Minister Abe’s pledge today on the Construction of a New Bridge across the Volta River on the Eastern Corridor Project.

7. Both leaders emphasised the importance of promoting public health in line with universal health coverage, as prerequisite for Ghana’s human security and further growth. In this connection, both leaders welcomed today’s signing of the Exchange of Notes concerning the Project for the Construction of Advanced Research Center for Infectious Diseases at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. Both leaders also shared the view on the importance of supporting community-level efforts in the health sector. From this perspective, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the recent launching in Ghana of the revised policy of “Community-based Health Programme and Services (CHPS)”, and expressed his intention to continue supporting the implementation of Ghana’s CHPS policy.

8. Both leaders shared the beliefs that people-to-people exchanges are essential for mutual understanding and recognised the vital role of such exchanges, which date back to the days even before Ghana’s independence. In this regard, both leaders welcomed today’s signing of the Exchange of Notes concerning the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship. Both leaders also expressed their willingness to continue people-to-people exchanges through a variety of other programmes such as African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative), Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) training programmes and sports exchanges through “Sport for Tomorrow” Programme.

9. Both leaders welcomed that the next TICAD summit meeting would be held in August this year for the first time in Africa and confirmed their determination to strengthen their cooperation to make this meeting a success. Prime Minister Abe expressed his view that TICAD VI would be an important opportunity to support Africa’s development agenda, Agenda 2063, and that Japan would demonstrate concrete contributions which are distinctive to Japan, such as quality infrastructure investment and human resource development, promoting science, technology and innovations, strengthening Public-Private Partnership and engagement of the private sector, under the principle of human security. Prime Minister Abe also expressed his expectation for President Mahama’s contribution to TICAD VI. Responding to Prime Minister Abe’s invitation, President Mahama highly appreciated Japan’s contribution and stated that he would attend TICAD VI.

10. Both leaders shared the view that the United Nations Security Council does not fully reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st century, and expressed their determination to greatly enhance their cooperation towards its reform to increase its effectiveness, transparency and representativeness. They emphasised the importance of building upon the recent developments in the Intergovernmental Negotiations in New York and of moving the process forward, including through increased interactions and consultations. In particular, they shared the recognition on the necessity of holding a dialogue between the G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) and the African Union (AU). Both leaders urged all UN Member States to work in a concerted manner towards this end. They also expressed their intention to enhance their coordination on the issues facing the UN, as Japan currently serves as a member of the Security Council.

11. Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation for Ghana’s consistent support to Japan’s efforts in disarmament and non-proliferation. Recognising the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, both leaders affirmed the importance of the continuity of the IAEA under the leadership of the Director General Mr. Yukiya Amano, and shared the intention on a continuous cooperation for the IAEA’s “Atoms for Peace and Development”.

12. Both leaders welcomed the adoption of the Paris Agreement by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) and emphasised the importance of its prompt entry into force and effective implementation. They reaffirmed further cooperation in addressing climate change, including through their bilateral cooperation.

13. Both leaders shared the intention to strengthen their cooperation in addressing a wide range of global issues such as countering terrorism and violent extremism, as well as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

14. President Mahama thanked Prime Minister Abe and the Government of Japan for their warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. President Mahama also wished Prime Minister Abe success of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and extended an invitation to Prime Minister Abe to visit Ghana at a date to be confirmed through diplomatic channels.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

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Source:: Japan-Ghana Summit Meeting ‒ Joint Statement

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Cuba’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Visits South Africa

H.E. Marcelino Medina, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, will be visiting South Africa from 20 to 25 May 2016. He will lead Cuba’s delegation to the 13th session of the Cuba-South Africa Joint Consultative Mechanism to be held on Monday 23 May at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, hosted by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Luwellyn Landers, who he will join in celebrating 20 years of bilateral inter-governmental cooperation between the two countries. As part of his visit, Deputy Minister Medina will visit Limpopo, where he will be welcomed by Premier Stan Mathabatha and members of the provincial authority. He will also have the opportunity to meet with the Cuban professionals delivering services in that province as part of Cuba-South Africa bilateral cooperation program.

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 May 1994 and, since 1996, have engaged in a bilateral cooperation program which began with the arrival of the first group of Cuban health professionals to contribute to South Africa’s commitment in the delivery of comprehensive and accessible health services.

Cuba has a long history of cooperation and solidarity with South Africa that dates back to the early 1960s, when a first group of young South Africans arrived in Cuba in 1962 to receive professional training in medicine and other sciences.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of Cuba in South Africa.

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2016 Article IV Consultation with Algeria

On May 16, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation1 with Algeria, and considered and endorsed the staff appraisal without a meeting.2

The economic outlook has deteriorated since the 2014 Article IV consultation, with the fall in oil prices increasing the urgency to reshape Algeria’s growth model. The impact of the oil price shock on growth has been limited thus far, but the fiscal and external balances have deteriorated significantly.

In 2015, real GDP grew by 3.9 percent and inflation increased to 4.8 percent. The fiscal deficit doubled to 16 percent of GDP as a result of the decrease in hydrocarbon revenues, and the fall in hydrocarbon exports by nearly half caused the current account deficit to widen sharply. Reserves, while still substantial, declined by US$35 billion to US$143 billion, down from a peak of US$192 billion in 2013. External debt remains very low.

Executive Board Assessment

In concluding the 2016 Article IV Consultation with Algeria, Executive Directors endorsed staff’s appraisal as follows:

Algeria’s economy is facing a severe and likely long-lasting external shock, calling for a vigorous policy response built on fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. The collapse in oil prices has exposed longstanding vulnerabilities in a state-led economy that is overly dependent on hydrocarbons. Thus far, the impact of the oil price shock on growth has been limited, but fiscal and external balances have deteriorated significantly. Thanks to buffers accumulated in the past, Algeria has a window of opportunity to smooth the adjustment to the shock and reshape its growth model. Restoring macroeconomic balances will require sustained fiscal consolidation over the medium term combined with a critical mass of structural reforms to diversify the economy, while exchange rate, monetary, and financial policies should play a supporting role. Communication to build a consensus around the needed reforms will be important to ensure their timely implementation.

Fiscal consolidation will need to be sustained over the medium term to restore fiscal sustainability, ensure intergenerational equity, and support external stability. It will require controlling current spending, pursuing further subsidy reform while protecting the poor, mobilizing more nonhydrocarbon revenues, increasing the efficiency of investment, and strengthening the budget framework. Rapidly declining fiscal savings mean that Algeria will need to borrow more to finance future deficits. In addition to increasing domestic debt issuance, the authorities should consider borrowing externally and opening the capital of some state-owned enterprises, in a transparent way, to private participation.

Wide-ranging structural reforms are needed to help support economic activity during the fiscal consolidation and to diversify the economy. Key reforms include improving the business climate, opening up the economy to more trade and investment, improving access to finance and developing capital markets, and strengthening governance, competition, and transparency. Increasing the flexibility of labor markets while better matching the skills produced by the educational system to those needed by the private sector is also needed. Import restrictions, while perhaps providing a temporary relief, introduce distortions and cannot substitute for reforms aimed at boosting exports. As structural reforms take time to bear fruit, they should be started without delay.

Together with fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, greater exchange rate flexibility would support the adjustment to the oil price shock. Despite some depreciation in 2015, the REER remains significantly overvalued. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, together with greater exchange rate flexibility, would help bring the REER in line with its equilibrium value and contribute to the rebalancing of the economy.

Monetary policy must adjust to a changing liquidity environment while guarding against potential inflationary pressures. The BA is appropriately adjusting to a changing liquidity environment by reactivating its lending instruments and strengthening its liquidity forecast and management capacity. Going forward, it should carefully calibrate monetary policy to guard against potential inflationary pressures.

Financial sector policies should be further strengthened to address growing financial stability risks. The banking sector as a whole is well capitalized and profitable, but protracted low oil prices increase financial stability risks. Moreover, the strong links between the financial, hydrocarbon, and public sectors increase the vulnerability of banks to systemic risks and call for preemptive actions. The authorities should continue their efforts to strengthen the prudential framework, including by enhancing the role of macroprudential policy, and improving crisis preparedness and management.

Algeria: Selected Macroeconomic Indicators, 2013–17
Population: 39.5 million; 2014

Per capita GDP: US$ 4,318 (2015)

Quota (old): SDR 1,254.7 million

Gini coefficient: 0.31 (2011)

Key export markets: EU

Main exports: oil and gas

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Est.

Output

Real GDP growth (percent)

2.8

3.8

3.9

3.4

2.9

Nonhydrocarbon GDP growth (percent)

-5.5

-0.6

0.4

1.9

2.0

Employment

Unemployment (percent, end of period)

9.8

10.6

11.2

Prices

Inflation (percent, average)

3.3

2.9

4.8

4.3

4.0

Central government finances (percent of GDP)

Total revenue

35.8

33.4

30.1

26.8

28.0

Of which, hydrocarbon

22.1

19.7

14.1

10.2

11.2

Total expenditure

36.7

41.3

46.5

42.4

40.2

Overall budget balance (deficit-)

-0.9

-8.0

-16.4

-15.6

-12.2

Gross government debt

7.7

8.0

9.0

15.4

25.4

Money and credit

Broad money (percent change)

8.4

14.4

0.5

1.1

10.0

Credit to the economy (percent change)

19.9

25.7

16.1

9.0

10.0

Balance of payments

Current account balance (percent of GDP)

0.4

-4.4

-16.2

-17.9

-17.0

FDI (percent of GDP)

0.9

0.7

-0.4

0.9

1.1

Gross reserves (months of imports) 1/

32.3

33.5

29.8

22.1

18.9

External debt (percent GDP)

1.6

1.7

1.8

2.8

4.9

Exchange rate

REER (percent change)

-1.4

2.1

-4.3

-1.6

-3.2

Sources: Algerian authorities; and IMF staff estimates.

1/ In months of next year’s imports of goods and services.


1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.

2 The Executive Board takes decisions under its lapse-of-time procedure when the Board agrees that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

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

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Yellow fever: urgent action needed to prevent international crisis

Fears are growing that a deadly yellow fever outbreak in Angola – which has already spread to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and China – will continue to spread internationally without immediate action to prevent it, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.

The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for spreading the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya.

Dr Julie Lyn Hall, the IFRC’s Director of Health, said that limited vaccine supplies, inadequate disease surveillance systems, poor sanitation and everyday cross-border economic and social interaction could turn a national outbreak into a global crisis, if no immediate community-based action is taken.

“Unvaccinated travellers could transform this outbreak into a regional or international crisis if we don’t move quickly to protect vulnerable populations and help communities to reduce their risk of infection,” she said.

Yellow fever has killed 293 people in Angola since the beginning of the outbreak in December 2015, and a further 2,267 people are believed to have been infected. The IFRC released 50,672 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 24 February to support Angolan Red Cross work to support the vaccination of 90,000 people, and conducting community mobilization activities with 60,000 others. A further DREF allocation in support of the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be issued today.

The Angolan outbreak has resulted in cases being imported to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, and has been confirmed as the source of 11 infections in the People’s Republic of China. A separate yellow fever outbreak has been confirmed in Uganda, with more than 50 suspected cases in three districts.

There are growing concerns that the outbreak could easily spread to neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia, where the population is not vaccinated against the disease.

Volunteers and staff of the National Red Cross Societies in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are hard at work in communities across the affected areas, identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, and helping people to reduce their risks of infection.

“Vaccination campaigns are the first lines of response, but we need to prioritise community engagement as a vital tool to prevent the spread of yellow fever,” said Dr Hall. “The continued rapid spread of the disease in the Angolan capital Luanda – where some 7 million people have already been vaccinated – underlines the importance of community engagement, surveillance and improving environmental sanitation.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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Press release and invitation to the International Posgraduate Paediatric Certificate graduation at Australian Embassy

On 23 May Australian Ambassador Suzanne McCourt will host the International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate (IPPC) graduation of 46 Zimbabwean doctors and nurses from Harare Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo.

The IPPC program is awarded by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and The University of Sydney and has seen health professionals trained from 21 countries worldwide over the last 25 years. The program aims to empower healthcare professionals treating children and young people globally.

In Zimbabwe this course has produced 71 graduates from its inception in 2014, and is now taking enrolments from other hospitals around the country. The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network hopes to expand the IPPC program in the future, to incorporate Parirenyatwa hospital as an additional training site.

One of the doctors, who attended the course in 2015, says: “Honestly speaking, the IPPC/DCH (Diploma in Child Health) course has been life-changing not only for me but also for the children I meet. Now I have an even rarer opportunity to share this knowledge and spread the hope that children can be managed in a standard and efficient manner even in resource limited settings such as ours.”

The Australian IPPC program in Zimbabwe initially received Australian Government funding in 2014, through UNICEF. It is now partially funded through the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network scholarships, and offered with significant subsidy for those without scholarships.

Training government hospital staff in Zimbabwe will boost workforce capacity in paediatric care, for the ultimate benefit of Zimbabwe’s children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Australian Embassy in Zimbabwe.

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Seychelles highlights scope of CGPCS in Djibouti at 3rd Eastern Southern African and Indian Ocean Region Ministerial Meeting

A delegation from Seychelles attended the 3rd Eastern Southern African and Indian Ocean Region Ministerial Meeting on May 15 2016 in, Djibouti.

The Seychelles delegation was led by Ambassador Joseph Nourrice based in Addis Ababa, who represented Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr Joel Morgan together with Mr. Jacques Belle, MASE National Focal Point at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport.

The main thrust of the Ministerial Meeting was to highlight the effectiveness of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) which has acted as a cornerstone of the response established following the United Nations Resolution 1851.

The Ministerial meeting which was attended by a numerous high level delegates from the region adopted decisions which call upon the international community to review and broaden the CGPCS mandate to include other maritime security threats and transnational organized crime, while maintaining the current regional focus on Somalia, Horn of Africa and the Western Indian ocean region.

The international community was also invited to support the regional maritime capability and participate in the establishment of the regional maritime surveillance mechanism under the European Union funded MASE programme through the operationalization of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar and the Regional Coordination Operational Centre in Seychelles.

Seychelles Ambassador, Mr Joseph Nourrice delivered a closing remarks where he commended the work of the experts of the Technical Steering Committee on Project Implementation Review of the MASE Programme that met the day prior to the ministerial meeting and who drafted a series of recommendation and a communique for adoption.

Ambassador Nourrice also spoke of the recent accession of Seychelles to Chair the CGPCS as ‘an opportunity for Seychelles to promote further regional ownership over the problem of piracy in the region internationally. He also said, that ‘ the Seychelles delegation took note the ESA-IO community call to widen the scope of the CGPCS mandate.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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