Zimbabwe – IMF Management Completes Third Review of Staff-Monitored Program and Approves a Successor SMP

HARARE, Zimbabwe, November 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On October 29, 2014, the Management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the third review under the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) 1 with Zimbabwe and approved a successor SMP covering the period October 2014 – December 2015.

The SMP that expired in June 2014 provided an important anchor for Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic policies under difficult political and economic circumstances. The authorities’ renewed commitment to the policies under the program was key to meeting all the quantitative targets and structural benchmarks for the third review.

Zimbabwe’s economy is at a crossroads. The economic situation remains difficult. The post-hyperinflation rebound has ended. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth decelerated from 10½ percent in 2012 to 4½ percent in 2013, due to adverse weather conditions, weak demand for key exports, and election-year uncertainty. The outlook in 2014 is for continued low growth of 3 percent. Annual inflation dipped below zero recently, but stood at 0.1 percent in September 2014. The external position is precarious, with low international reserves, a large current account deficit, an overvalued real exchange rate, and growing external arrears. Credit and deposit growth have slowed down sharply, liquidity conditions are tight, and the banking system remains weak. Fiscal pressures arose in early 2014 due to higher-than-budgeted wage increases and revenue shortfalls as the economy weakened. However, the implementation of a package of revenue and expenditure measures enabled the authorities to comfortably meet their fiscal targets for the first half of 2014.

Sustaining higher growth and poverty reduction will require comprehensive reforms over the medium term. The successor SMP aims at laying the foundations for such reforms. The main objective of the new program is to strengthen the country’s external position, as a prerequisite for arrears clearance, resumption of debt service, and restored access to external financing. To that end, the authorities will strive to consolidate the fiscal position, eliminating the primary budget deficit by end-2015. They will also aim to accumulate international reserves and seek to mobilize international support for resolving the country’s external debt situation. The authorities intend to restore confidence in the financial sector, as well as improve public debt and financial management. Finally, the authorities plan to make progress in a number of key structural reform areas in order to enhance the business climate, boost productivity and competitiveness, and build confidence. Successful implementation of these reforms will demonstrate that the country can implement the policies that could justify a Fund-financed program.

Key risks to the new program stem from global commodity price shocks, domestic policy slippages, gaps in policy implementation capacity, and lagging progress in resolving external arrears. While Zimbabwe faces these risks with practically no buffers, the successor SMP aims to rebuild these buffers and strengthen the country’s resilience to shocks.

Strong macroeconomic policies and debt relief, in the context of a comprehensive arrears clearance strategy supported by development partners, will be essential to address Zimbabwe’s developmental needs. A successful implementation of the SMP would be an important stepping stone toward Zimbabwe’s normalizing relations with the international community. IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ decision to start discussions with multilateral creditors to address Zimbabwe’s outstanding arrears, and exploring the possibility of debt rescheduling.

IMF staff will remain engaged with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program, and will continue providing targeted technical assistance in order to support Zimbabwe’s capacity-building efforts and its adjustment and reform program.

1 An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

Categories: AFRICA

Vatican / To the bishops of Malawi: the apostolate of the family will bring inestimable benefits to the Church and society as a whole

VATICAN, Holy See, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “I offer a joyful welcome to you who have come from the ‘warm heart of Africa’, as you make your pilgrimage to Rome, ‘the warm heart of the Church’”; thus Pope Francis greets the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi in the written discourse he handed to them this morning as he received them in audience at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit. He also notes that the effectiveness of their pastoral and administrative efforts is the fruit of your faith as well as of the unity and fraternal spirit that characterise their episcopal conference.

The Holy Father also expresses his appreciation for “the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life”, as it is in this institution, which teaches “love, sacrifice, commitment and fidelity”, that the Church and society in Malawi will find the resources necessary to renew and build up a culture of solidarity. “You yourselves know well the challenges and the value of family life, and, as fathers and shepherds, you are called to nurture, protect and strengthen it in the context of the “family of faith”, which is the Church. … There is scarcely a greater commitment that the Church can make to the future of Malawi – and indeed, to her own development – than that of a thorough and joyful apostolate to families. … Thus, by doing everything you can to support, educate and evangelise families, especially those in situations of material hardship, breakdown, violence or infidelity, you will bring inestimable benefit to the Church and all of Malawian society”.

Among the results of this apostolate, it is hoped that there will be “an increase in young men and women who are willing and able to dedicate themselves to the service of others in the priesthood and religious life”, based on “the strong foundations laid by generations of faithful missionaries” and fortified by the evangelising work of local men and women. The Bishop of Rome exhorted the local prelates to be close to their priests and seminarians, loving them “as a father should” and furthering their efforts to guarantee a complete spiritual as well as intellectual and pastoral formation.

The “tragedy” of the limited life expectancy and extreme poverty experienced by the majority of the people of Malawi is another of the Pope’s concerns. “My thoughts go to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and particularly to the orphaned children and parents left without love and support as a result of this illness”, he writes, encouraging the bishops to be close to those in distress, to the sick, and especially to the children. “I ask you, particularly, to offer my gratitude to the many men and women who present Christ’s tenderness and love in Catholic healthcare institutions. The service which the Church offers to the sick, through pastoral care, prayer, clinics and hospices, must always find its source and model in Christ, who loved us and gave himself up for us. Indeed, how else could we be followers of the Lord if we did not personally engage in ministry to the sick, the poor, the dying and the destitute? Our faith in Christ, born of having recognised our own need for Him, He Who has come to heal our wounds, to enrich us, to give us life, to nourish us, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members”.

Categories: AFRICA

New Permanent Representative of Comoros Presents Credentials

NEW YORK, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The new Permanent Representative of Comoros to the United Nations, Soilihi Mohamed Soilihi, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today.

Prior to his appointment, he was Director General of the Office of Radio and Television of the Comoros, since 2010. From 2009 to 2010, he was Political Counselor of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Chief of Staff of the Minister of Finance, from 2007 to 2009. A Special Delegate to Moroni City Hall from 2006 to 2007, he also held the position of Secretary General of the Government of the Island of Ngazidja from 2004 to 2006.

Mr. Soilihi worked in education, including at the Skills Assessment Center in Mayotte, France from 2002 to 2004, where he was in charge of evaluation-orientation. Between 1998 and 2002, he was a trainer in intercultural approaches to social institutions and organizations in the Provence Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region, France.

He also held various positions in media, primarily as a correspondent for Radio France International from 1990 to 1996. Concurrently, he served as Director General of Radio Comores from 1992 to 1993 and Press Attaché at the Office of the President of the Republic of the Comoros from 1991 to 1992.

Mr. Soilihi studied Political Science — Communication and Development at the University of Aix-Marseilles, as well as Political Science and International Affairs at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, University of Aix-Marseilles.

Born in Moroni, Comoros on 1 January 1964, he is married and has three children.

Categories: AFRICA

Francisco a los obispos de Malawi: El apostolado de la familia dará beneficios inestimables a la Iglesia y a toda la sociedad

VATICAN, Holy See, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ”Os doy la bienvenida a vosotros que desde ”el cálido corazón de África” llegáis a Roma ”el cálido corazón de la Iglesia” saluda el Papa a los obispos de la Conferencia Episcopal de Malawi en el discurso que les ha entregado esta mañana al final de su quinquenal visita ad Limina. Francisco anota también que la eficacia de sus esfuerzos pastorales y administrativos es fruto de la fe, así como de la unidad y el espíritu fraternal que caracterizan esa conferencia episcopal.

El Santo Padre expresa su aprecio ”por el admirable espíritu de la gente de Malawi, que, aunque se enfrenta con muchos obstáculos graves en términos de desarrollo, progreso económico y nivel de vida, permanece firme en su compromiso con la vida familiar” porque en esa institución -que enseña a las personas el amor, el sacrificio,y la fidelidad – es donde la Iglesia y la sociedad en Malawi encontrarán los recursos necesarios para renovar y construir una cultura de solidaridad. ”Vosotros sabéis muy bien -escribe- los desafíos y el valor de la vida familiar, y, como padres y pastores, estáis llamados a nutrirla, protegerla y fortalecerla en el contexto de la “familia de la fe”, que es la Iglesia…Se podría decir que la aportación más grande que la Iglesia puede dar al futuro de Malawi y, además a su propio desarrollo, es un apostolado de la familia completo y alegre.. Por lo tanto, si hacéis todo lo posible para apoyar, educar y evangelizar a las familias, especialmente aquellas en situación de dificultades materiales, ruptura, violencia o infidelidad, los beneficios para la Iglesia y la sociedad de Malawi serán inestimables”..

Entre los resultados de ese apostolado cabe esperar el aumento de vocaciones al sacerdocio y la vida religiosa para que la Iglesia en ese país, asentada sobre las sólidas bases establecidas por generaciones de misioneros, siga creciendo gracias a la evangelización de los hombres y mujeres nacidos en Malawi. De ahí que el Obispo de Roma exhorte a los prelados locales a estar siempre cerca de sus seminaristas y sacerdotes, amándoles como ”padres” y preocupándose al mismo tiempo de garantizarles una formación completa sea espiritual que intelectual y pastoral.

La tragedia de la limitada esperanza de vida y de la extremada pobreza de gran parte de la población de Malawi es otra de las preocupaciones del Papa.”Pienso en los que sufren de VIH / SIDA, y en particular en los niños huérfanos y en los padres que se quedan sin amor ni apoyo como consecuencia de esta enfermedad”, señala el Pontífice, invitando al mismo tiempo a los obispos a que sigan estando cerca de los que sufren, de los enfermos, y especialmente de los niños. ”Os pido en particular que hagáis presente mi gratitud a los muchos hombres y mujeres que ofrecen la ternura y el amor de Cristo en las instituciones sanitarias católicas. El servicio que la Iglesia ofrece a los enfermos, a través de la pastoral, la oración, las clínicas y los centros de acogida, siempre debe tener su fuente y su modelo en Cristo, que nos amó y se entregó por nosotros. ¿Cómo podemos ser seguidores del Señor si no nos involucramos personalmente en el ministerio a los enfermos, los pobres, los moribundos y los indigentes? De nuestra fe en Cristo, nacida del reconocimiento de nuestra necesidad de quien vino a sanar nuestras heridas, para enriquecernos, para darnos vida, para alimentarnos, brota la preocupación por el desarrollo integral de los más abandonados de la sociedad”.

Categories: AFRICA

FlySafair announces a second base and new routes

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — It’s been nothing but full speed ahead for South Africa’s first true low cost airline, FlySafair (https://www.flysafair.co.za), in recent weeks.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/flysafair.png

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1529

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1530

The first flights launched were in mid-October between Cape Town and Johannesburg from just R499* (including taxes), followed swiftly by the launch of the Cape Town to Port Elizabeth route from R399* last week. The Cape Town to George route follows next week on 13th November with equally tempting fares starting at R399*.

From the 3rd of December, FlySafair will launch their second base at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo airport, allowing passengers to fly from Johannesburg to George and Port Elizabeth, from as little as R499* one way.

“Our intention has always been to grow our schedule of operations and it makes most sense for us to open a second base and connect all of our current destinations, therefore offering flights from Johannesburg as well as from Cape Town. Further, we have had overwhelming feedback from our passengers to introduce these routes, we have listened to their suggestions and we have great pleasure in being able to now offer these routes,” explains Lorna Terblanche, Vice President of Passenger Services for FlySafair.

Although a new entrant into the commercial market, the airline is backed by nearly 50 years of aviation experience from holding company, Safair. Furthermore, FlySafair has established itself as SA’s first true low cost carrier in that they allow passengers to tailor their own tickets.

Based on international best practices, the airline offers passengers a base fare which secures them a seat to their destination, along with two carry on items weighing no more than 7kgs. Any additional checked-in luggage, along with the option to pre-select preferential seats or extra-space seats such as those in the front rows or at emergency exits as well as onboard catering, will be charged for according to passengers’ specific needs.

“Our aim has always been to not only bring affordable fares to the market, but to also allow new flyers to experience the love of flying. With this announcement of a new base and new routes, we believe that we are opening up the opportunity to fly to many more people – just in time for the December holidays,” concludes Terblanche.

For more information on FlySafair or to simply book your ticket, visit www.flysafair.co.za

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

Released by:

Chantal Riley

PR Worx

+2711 896 1818

chantal@prworx.co.za

On behalf of:

Lorna Terblanche

FlySafair

+2711 928 0000

Categories: AFRICA

Fifth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco

MARRAKECH, Morocco, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (#GES2014) (http://www.gesmarrakech2014.org) will take place on November 19 – 21, 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco, the first time in an African nation. The Summit, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week, will be hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco, and held under the High Patronage of his Majesty King Mohammed VI, brings together over 3000 entrepreneurs, Heads of state, government officials, global entrepreneurs, small medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate leaders, and young entrepreneurs.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/ges.png

The theme of this year’s Summit, “Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” will explore the positive impact of technology on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Speakers will discuss:

• Financing new ventures

• Scaling up enterprises and moving to the formal sector

• Turning talent into entrepreneurship

• Engaging in social entrepreneurship

Vice President Joe Biden will lead the United States (U.S) delegation to the Summit in addition to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. Members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative (http://goo.gl/ylZVKD) will be joining Secretary Pritzker, as entrepreneurship ambassadors.

They include:

• Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President, Coursera

• Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO, Chobani

• Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO, LearnVest

Other U.S. speakers include Toni G. Verstandig, Chair Middle East Programs, Aspen Group, Kerry Healey, President of Babson College and John Macomber, Senior Lecturer in Finance, Harvard Business School, Ron Bruder, Founder, Education for Employment, and Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women to Women International.

Moroccan speakers include Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance, Mbarka Bouaida, Delegate Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Moulay Hafid Alami, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the Digital Economy, Nizar Baraka, President, Social, Economic & Environmental Council (CESE).

Moroccan corporate leaders include Mohamed El-Kettani, CEO, Attijariwafa Bank, Othman Benjelloun, President and CEO of BMCE, Abdeslam Ahizoune, CEO of Maroc Telecom, Anas Sefrioui, CEO of Addoha Group, and Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, President, Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM).

Visit the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit’s website (www.gesmarrakech2014.org/en/home). Register for the event here: https://registration.gesmarrakech2014.org/ and for a list of speakers go to: http://www.gesmarrakech2014.org/en/program/speakers.

Twitter: @GESMarrakech14

Facebook: facebook.com/GES2014Marrakech.

Richard Attias & Associates (RA&A), Part of WPP Group, is the Executive Producer of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Press contacts:

Matthew Miller

Richard Attias & Associates

Matthew.Miller@richardattiasassociates.com

+1 917-226-7172 (mobile)

Daniel Rivkin

Rmedia Ventures

daniel@rivkinmedia.com

+1 917-817-6323 (mobile)

Categories: AFRICA