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Libya: Tens of thousands affected by fighting

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Prolonged conflicts in Benghazi and the west of Libya have displaced tens of thousands of people inside the country. The ICRC has distributed emergency medical supplies to more than 20 hospitals and assistance to more than 22,000 displaced people since mid-July, either directly or through the Libyan Red Crescent and other local partners.

Heavy fighting in Benghazi is having a serious impact on hospitals. “Services at the main hospitals have been severely disrupted by the unsettled security conditions, the departure of foreign workers, and the acute shortage of medical supplies,” said Antoine Grand, head of the ICRC delegation in Libya, who is currently based in Tunis. The fighting has prompted tens of thousands of people to flee Benghazi, while many more have been displaced within the city.

Fighting taking place to the south and west of Tripoli, in the western part of the country, and in Sabha and Ubari in the south, is also causing displacement and affecting the response capacities of the main hospitals and other health-care facilities there.

“There are frequent shortages of fuel, power and water supplies in the violence-affected areas; the prices of basic foods have soared, and infrastructure has suffered major damage,” said Mr Grand. In addition, the security situation in some parts of the country has seriously deteriorated, making it extremely difficult for local and international humanitarian organizations to reach the victims.

“We are reminding all parties to the conflict that they must respect health-care workers and facilities, and facilitate their work,” said Mr Grand. The lack of safe access to health care that has resulted from the violence is likely to have significant humanitarian consequences.

The ICRC is providing support for the Libyan Red Crescent, the main humanitarian organization working in the country. Through its extensive network of 35 branches and more than 2,000 active volunteers, the Libyan Red Crescent has been delivering assistance, evacuating the wounded and the dead, and negotiating humanitarian corridors wherever fighting has been taking place.

“Although our international staff were temporarily relocated to Tunis in July owing to the escalation of violence in Tripoli, we continue to respond to needs and to do our best in a very volatile security environment through our local staff and the Libyan Red Crescent,” said Mr Grand. In all, the ICRC has 140 staff based in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata and Sabha.

From mid-July to mid-November, the ICRC:

• provided food rations for more than 13,000 displaced people and other essentials for a further 22,000 that were delivered by the Libyan Red Crescent, and provided aid for 930 migrants at Al-Karareem holding centre in Misrata;

• delivered anaesthetics, wound-dressing materials, surgical drainage materials, plaster casting and suture sets to more than 20 hospitals and other health-care facilities, including Tripoli Medical Centre, Misrata Crisis Unit, Benghazi Medical Centre, Sabha Medical Centre, the hospitals of Mitiga, Zawiya, Garhyan, Zintan, Misrata, Al-Marjs and Al-Jalah, and outpatient care facilities in Al-Ghrefa, Idree, Aradah and Talaqena;

• donated wound-dressing materials to the Libyan Red Crescent for pre-hospital casualty care;

• delivered 6,000 blood bags and the same number of blood-giving sets to the Libyan Red Crescent blood bank in Benghazi;

• delivered 1,200 body bags together with personal protective equipment to 15 Libyan Red Crescent branches;

• organized four-day training courses on dead-body management, restoring contact between family members and other topics in Tunis and Zarzis in which 29 Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, among others, participated;

• maintained regular contact with the main morgues of Tripoli and Benghazi to ensure that mortal remains would be handled in a dignified manner, and made technical recommendations on forensic issues;

• monitored the cases of people needing help, including members of dispersed families, unaccompanied children, families of missing persons, detainees, and stranded migrants;

• provided the Libyan Red Crescent with three ambulances, five trucks, 12 other vehicles and telecommunication equipment to enhance its emergency-response capacity.

Churches seek to strengthen electoral process in Democratic Republic of Congo

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A workshop with the aim of strengthening democratic governance and the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was held Kinshasa from 8 to 10 December by the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in partnership with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches. Participants in the workshop encouraged renewed and significant engagement from local churches in the nation.

The workshop promoted collaboration among churches and ecumenical organizations in the DRC to raise awareness regarding local and municipal elections in 2015 leading to presidential elections in 2016. The participants agreed on a roadmap for the ECC and the WCC member churches in the DRC that will be implemented in the lead-up to the elections.

The workshop comes after a visit from WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the DRC in April. The visit resulted into establishment of an informal ecumenical working group which is carrying forward national consultation and collaboration on the electoral process, management of natural resources, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, human rights and humanitarian initiatives, as well as youth issues.

The workshop in the DRC brought together more than 150 participants, including international participants, local church leaders and over 30 representatives from ecumenical partners and civil society.

“The 2011 post-electoral troubles have been a destabilizing factor for DRC, as well as the wider region,” said Peter Prove, director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. “It is important that the global ecumenical family accompanies member churches in DRC in their peace-building efforts and initiatives related to the electoral process, as an expression of the pilgrimage of justice and peace – a call from the WCC Busan Assembly in 2013,” Prove added.

The workshop participants highlighted that more than 52% of the voting population are women, and nearly 70% are youth. The discussions underlined the importance of focusing on the role of women and youth, both as electors and candidates.

Rev. Milenge Mwenelwata, vice-president of the ECC, said, “The ecumenical family in DRC needs the support and encouragement of the wider ecumenical family as we prepare for elections, and in order to play our role in building peace and promoting justice and human dignity in our country.”

“A peaceful and legitimate electoral process is a prerequisite for ensuring political stability and human rights in our country,” said Rev. Dr Micheline Kamba, WCC Executive and Central Committee member. “It is our vocation, as churches and faith-based organizations, to work for peace and prevent violence by all means. I invite the wider ecumenical family to accompany our churches in DRC as they prepare and engage in elections,” said Kamba.

The WCC was also represented by Semegnish Asfaw Grosjean, WCC programme executive for international affairs, Fr Daniel Buda, WCC programme executive for Faith and Order, and Hendrew Lusey, consultant for the WCC’s Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa. The WCC delegation also was joined by Prof. Christoph Stückelberger from

Embargoes play an important role in disseminating news to the media in Africa

DAKAR, Senegal, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — APO (African Press Organization) (, the sole press release newswire in Africa and the global leader in media relations relating to Africa, today announced that it will offer distribution for embargoed press releases as a complimentary service.

Embargoes play an important role in disseminating news to the media in Africa.

Journalists in Africa are often bombarded with information coming from all types of sources and qualifying them can sometimes be a challenge.

An embargoed news release allows the journalist to prioritise on the news of the day, research and produce a story.

APO is the African leader in news distribution and is viewed by the media as a valuable source for legitimate and accurate information. In fact, APO content is republished on a regular basis by respected global news media.

Journalists, freelancers and bloggers who are registered with APO are eligible to receive advance, embargoed press releases distributed by APO. Eligible individuals are screened and must agree to follow the terms of the APO embargo policy.

“APO has extensive contacts with influential news editors specialised in Africa, allowing targeted and effective news distribution of embargoed material. Embargoed press release distribution in Africa will now be included as a complimentary service in response to client requests,” said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization).

APO is the creator of 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.

APO Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million and guarantees the most efficient media influence in Africa ; in turn, this is how APO’s clients can directly target audiences in all corners of the continent and the world.

APO is NASDAQ GlobeNewswire Authorized Agency for Africa offering unique access to 1.5 Million financial and trade media outlets in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East (

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A averda amplia os seus serviços em Angola, a sua segunda operação em África

LUANDA, Angola, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A averda (, a maior empresa de gestão de resíduos no Médio Oriente e em África, com uma das taxas de crescimento mais rápida, está a fornecer serviços de limpeza urbana em Ingombota, um dos principais distritos urbanos em Luanda, a capital de Angola. O contrato de cinco anos, recentemente adjudicado, contempla a operação da averda numa joint venture, sob a designação Ecoverde.


Ingombota abrange 10 km2 da costa nordeste do país. É o centro político e económico da capital, com mais de 160 000 habitantes. A sua população quase que duplica durante o dia, visto este distrito alojar o Parlamento nacional, os principais bancos, hotéis, o palácio presidencial, três embaixadas europeias, o banco central, três torres e a sede de uma empresa multinacional. A averda limpa 6000 km de ruas no distrito, por mês.

Mohamed Ali Hodeib, Diretor de Operações do Levante e África da averda, afirmou: “Temos o prazer de servir o povo de Luanda. A fase de estabilização da operação, iniciada em abril, encontra-se agora concluída. A averda está totalmente implementada, através do Ecoverde, tendo atingido o objetivo inicial de fazer com que as ruas da cidade chegassem ao nível pretendido de limpeza, em conformidade com as nossas normas internacionais. Estamos orgulhosos por nos associarmos à gestão de resíduos de Luanda, ao seu crescimento económico e aos principais intervenientes na cidade, aos seus habitantes e visitantes. Estamos ansiosos por inspirar uma mudança nas práticas e por aumentar a sensibilização para uma boa gestão de resíduos.”

O contrato constituiu a estreia da averda em Angola e é o seu segundo contrato na região, tendo entrado no mercado marroquino em 2012. A averda iniciou a fase de mobilização em Angola em agosto de 2013, durante a qual foram realizados estudos no campo, por equipas experientes, para conceber soluções específicas e duráveis para os resíduos. O equipamento foi introduzido posteriormente, no mesmo ano, com veículos e contentores melhores e mais novos, dispositivos de limpeza mecânica de caixotes de lixo e veículos pequenos para entrada nas ruas mais estreitas da cidade. Em setembro deste ano, o âmbito dos trabalhos foi alargado, passando a incluir a limpeza juntamente com a recolha de resíduos. A averda introduziu pela primeira vez em Angola um novo e eficiente veículo ecológico para a limpeza mecânica e lavagem automática de contentores de lixo.

A averda emprega 350 funcionários angolanos, incluindo trabalhadores, supervisores e condutores. A averda forneceu formação sobre segurança e sensibilização ambiental à sua força de trabalho angolana, bem como formação técnica sobre o equipamento.

Distribuído pela APO (African Press Organization) em nome da averda International.

Relações Públicas da averda

Londres, Reino Unido

Tel.: +44 207 5817163

Endereço de correio eletrónico:

Acerca da averda:

A averda International ( é o maior fornecedor de soluções ambientais na região do Médio Oriente e Norte de África, sendo especialista na gestão integrada de recursos. A averda está na vanguarda da inovação neste mercado regional, fornecendo soluções sustentáveis e mais de 35 anos de experiência na gestão eficaz de resíduos a clientes do setor público e privado em zonas pedonais, residenciais, comerciais e industriais.

O vasto portefólio de serviços da averda inclui a limpeza de ruas e a recolha, o tratamento, a eliminação e a reciclagem de resíduos. Entre as capacidades da empresa também se encontram o desenvolvimento de soluções para água, águas residuais e resíduos sólidos do setor público, residencial, comercial e industrial, num contexto sustentável que respeita o ambiente natural. A averda também concebe e implementa soluções completas de recuperação de recursos valiosos e recicláveis como o papel, os metais e a água.

Com 10 000 colaboradores a servir milhões de pessoas todos os dias, as operações da averda no Líbano, Arábia Saudita, Emirados Árabes Unidos, Omã, Catar, Reino Unido, República da Irlanda, Marrocos e Jordânia estão totalmente em conformidade com as normas internacionais de controlo de qualidade. A averda tem o apoio da GrowthGate Capital Corporation desde 2008.

Para transferir a aplicação da averda, visite a App Store :

South Sudan: One Year Later, Injustice Prevails / Domestic Trials Not Viable; Independent Hybrid Court, ICC Important Options

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — South Sudan should make an unequivocal commitment to justice for serious crimes committed during the brutal war that began a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should acknowledge that a purely domestic effort will not assure fair, credible trials given major deficiencies within the national courts.

The 38-page report, “Ending the Era of Injustice,” draws from interviews with South Sudanese judges, prosecutors, private lawyers, victims, government officials, nongovernmental groups, UN staff, and foreign diplomats in October 2014 to explain why justice is needed, and makes recommendations to ensure perpetrators are held to account. Lack of justice in South Sudan has emboldened those carrying out abuses, and Human Rights Watch found strong support among activists, lawyers, and victims for prosecuting crimes committed during the current conflict.

“The unaddressed abuses and bloody cycle of ethnic revenge killings in the South Sudan conflict create an urgent need to hold those responsible for atrocities to account,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “But domestic will and capacity to prosecute the cases in South Sudan is not there.”

On December 15, 2013, fighting began in the capital, Juba, between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka tribe, and former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer who is now the head of the opposition forces. The fighting quickly spread, engulfing much of the country. Despite intensive regional and international efforts to promote a negotiated settlement, the conflict continues amid fears that violence and abuse will intensify with the end of the rainy season, which hampered fighting. On December 9, 2014, Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on those responsible for serious human rights abuses and an arms embargo on both parties to help stem further such abuses.

In January, the African Union (AU)’s chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, established a commission of inquiry into the crisis and human rights abuses committed by both sides, the first such investigation by the AU. AU officials say that the commission’s report, which should also make recommendations on accountability and reconciliation, is finalized but it is unclear if or when it will be made public.

“The world has been waiting for the AU inquiry to recommend how South Sudanese may seek justice for the horrific crimes they have experienced,” Keppler said. “The AU should stand by its commitment to end impunity and ensure that the report is strong, public, and insists on credible criminal investigations.”

Timeliness in delivering justice is important and could help minimize anger that appears to be driving further crimes, Human Rights watch said. Concrete steps to prosecute the crimes need not and should not be conditioned on progress in peace negotiations.

Widespread abuses, which should be investigated as war crimes and crimes against humanity, began within hours after the first shots were fired in December 2013 as government soldiers and other forces systematically attacked Nuer civilians in the capital. The abuses included a gruesome massacre of 200 to 400 Nuer men in the Gudele area between December 15 and 18.

Between mid-December 2013 and mid-April 2014, both sides engaged in further attacks and revenge killings on Nuer and Dinka civilians because of their ethnicity, including in further gruesome massacres in towns and villages outside of Juba. Men, women, and children were shot in their homes, churches, and hospitals, and as they fled. There were extraordinary levels of destruction and pillage of civilian property by forces from both sides.

South Sudan’s government has not moved to prosecute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity by its forces. Reports by investigation committees established by South Sudan’s army and separately by the police service soon after the killings in Juba have not been made public. An investigation committee established by Kiir in January 2013 has yet to provide any report or update of its work and refused to cooperate with the AU inquiry. Authorities have also yet to pursue cases regarding a massacre in April 2014 of more than 50 people, mostly Nuer, seeking sanctuary inside the UN compound in the town of Bor. As far as Human Rights Watch has been able to ascertain, Machar’s opposition forces have made no serious efforts to hold abusive forces to account.

Human Rights Watch documented a range of problems in South Sudan’s justice system that would impede prosecutions for serious crimes before domestic courts, including a lack of independence and capacity of prosecutors, and a climate of intimidation and insecurity for judges. South Sudanese law also does not include war crimes and crimes against humanity as offenses, or the concept of command responsibility, which can be important to hold those in leadership positions to account. South Sudanese law furthermore restricts pursuing cases against officials, and includes the death penalty, which Human Rights Watch believes constitutes an inherently cruel punishment.

The possibility of a “hybrid” international-national court to try serious crimes committed in South Sudan has gained a lot of interest in international and domestic policy debates. Some South Sudanese nongovernmental groups are advocating that approach.

Hybrid court arrangements – such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Extraordinary African Chambers – involve varying degrees of international and domestic judges and other staff. Human Rights Watch outlined significant challenges a hybrid court is likely to face to ensure fair, effective trials for crimes committed in South Sudan, especially given the lack of independence of South Sudanese prosecutors and a climate of intimidation of judges.

“Hybrid courts have advantages, such as building domestic capacity, but it remains unclear if the South Sudanese government can muster the will to pursue this option,” Keppler said. “Given the problems with South Sudan’s justice system and overall insecurity, to be effective a hybrid tribunal would need to be separate from the national courts, probably located outside the country, with a heavy contingent of international judges and prosecutors.”

Given its role as a permanent court of last resort when national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is also an important option to consider, although opposition can be expected given political backlash by the AU to the ICC in recent years. South Sudan is not a party to the ICC, so the ICC could only investigate crimes in South Sudan if the government requested the ICC’s involvement or the UN Security Council referred the situation to the court.

South Sudan should also ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to give the ICC jurisdiction for future crimes and reform its laws, including incorporating genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity into domestic law.

Key international partners including the AU, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, UN Security Council, United States, and European Union should help South Sudan ensure that those responsible for crimes are held to account and that an amnesty for serious crimes is not included in any peace agreement.

“Violations of human rights in South Sudan continue, fueled by lack of justice, and South Sudan should reverse this pattern,” Keppler said. “South Sudan could demonstrate it is committed to justice by promptly requesting international assistance from the UN and AU to establish a hybrid court, or requesting the ICC to exercise jurisdiction over the crimes, or both. Meanwhile international and regional partners should press for progress on fair, credible trials.”

“Ending the Era of Injustice” is available at:

“South Sudan’s New War: Abuses by Government and Opposition Forces” is available at:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on South Sudan, please visit:

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2014 Article IV Consultation with South Africa

PRETORIA, South-Africa, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On December, 3, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund concluded the Article IV consultation1 with South Africa.

South Africa has made substantial progress in its first 20 years of democracy, achieving much improved living standards for its citizens. But growth has slowed in recent years, specifically relative to other emerging markets. Although weak trading partners’ growth contributed to the slowdown, increasingly binding structural constraints, such as protracted strikes and electricity constraints, have been important factors. Unemployment remains high at 25.5 percent.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation declined to 5.9 percent in September after staying above the South African Reserve Bank (SARB)’s 3-6 percent band for six months, mainly driven by depreciation. The SARB has raised the repo rate by 75 basis points since January 2014.

South Africa’s twin deficits remain elevated. Despite a 26 percent real effective exchange rate depreciation since 2010, the current account deficit remains high (5.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013), reflecting persistent competitiveness problems, soft terms of trade, supply bottlenecks, and subdued external demand. Notwithstanding expenditure discipline, the general government budget deficit was 4.5 percent of GDP in 2013, and public debt rose to 45 percent of GDP from 27 percent in 2008. In the recently-announced Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, the authorities have announced that they will take measures to improve the public finances.

The Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) concluded that financial sector risks are elevated but manageable. The financial system is large, highly interconnected, dependent on wholesale funding, and credit risk is rising due to sluggish growth and tighter financial conditions. However, capital buffers are relatively high, financial regulation and supervision are strong, and capital controls limit liquidity risks.

The outlook is lackluster with considerable risks. Growth is projected to slow to 1.4 percent in 2014 and rebound only modestly to 2.1 percent in 2015 on improved industrial relations, while private consumption remains depressed under tighter financial conditions. Slowly easing infrastructure constraints and stronger external demand are expected to raise growth to 2.75 percent in 2016–19 but not enough to lower unemployment significantly. Fiscal and current account deficits are expected to fall moderately over the medium term. Inflation is projected to decline in 2015 on account of lower oil and food prices and tighter policies. Structural reforms are essential to generate more growth and jobs and to address the challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.

Risks are tilted to the downside. A sharp surge in global financial market volatility could lead to capital flow reversals and trigger a disorderly adjustment in the current account deficit. Lower global growth and commodity prices, further delays in relieving electricity constraints, and more labor market disruptions are additional key risks.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors commended the authorities for the progress made in improving living standards and for maintaining macroeconomic stability in the last twenty years. However, against the backdrop of a weak external environment, the country is faced with the challenges from elevated external and fiscal deficits, rising public debt, and high unemployment and inequality. Directors agreed that strong and prudent policies and structural reforms are key to strengthening economic resilience, boosting inclusive and sustainable growth, creating jobs, and reducing poverty.

Given the risks facing the outlook and reduced policy space, Directors called for decisive structural reforms to unblock supply-side constraints, lift growth, and rebalance the economy towards exports and investments. They welcomed the ongoing infrastructure projects, especially in power supply, and encouraged greater private sector participation, supported by careful preparation and sound frameworks. Directors commended the government’s enhanced focus on implementing the National Development Plan and promoting SMEs. They recommended that high priority be given to enhancing productivity and competitiveness by accelerating product and labor market reforms, reducing skill mismatches, and normalizing industrial relations.

Directors welcomed the envisaged fiscal consolidation in the 2014 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, and highlighted that containing the wage bill and raising taxes will be essential. They noted that further adjustment may be necessary to stabilize debt over the medium term, and in this context, underscored the importance of focusing on growth-friendly measures, including improvements in spending efficiency. They welcomed plans to increase state-owned enterprises’ efficiency so as to limit contingent liabilities. A few Directors noted that a formal debt anchor could strengthen the fiscal framework.

Directors commended the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) for a finely balanced monetary policy stance. While recent declines in oil prices and the planned fiscal consolidation could allow the SARB to remain accommodative for some time, risks to the inflation outlook need continued careful monitoring. In general, Directors highlighted the importance of effective communication to help guide inflation expectations.

Directors viewed exchange rate flexibility and the favorable currency composition of external debt as effective buffers against volatile capital flows. To boost resilience, they generally encouraged the authorities to explore options to build reserves, while taking into account related costs. Directors noted the opportunities provided by robust growth in the rest of the continent and invited careful analysis of South Africa’s spillovers to the region and potential spillbacks.

Directors noted the findings that the financial sector remains sound but is subject to vulnerabilities. To strengthen the sector’s resilience, they encouraged timely implementation of the FSAP recommendations, in particular enhancing scrutiny of asset quality and liquidity risks, including through enhanced stress tests. Introducing deposit insurance and strengthening regulation of collective investment schemes could reduce liquidity risks and boost market discipline. Directors concurred that South Africa’s deep and highly interconnected financial system requires group-wide supervision and better coordination among regulators. Directors noted that more competition could improve financial access and lower intermediation costs.

IMF Executive Board Completes Second PSI Review for Rwanda and Concludes 2014 Article IV Consultation

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On December 8, 2014 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed the second review of Rwanda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI)1 and also concluded the 2014 Article IV consultation2 with Rwanda.

The PSI for Rwanda was approved on December 2, 2013 (see Press Release No.13/483).

Following the Board discussion, Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

“The Rwandan authorities are to be commended for their strong implementation of the economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument, carried out against a challenging economic environment. Poverty has declined over time, economic growth has recovered since 2013, and inflation remains contained.

“Fiscal policies remain prudent and the objectives of the FY2014/15 budget are within reach. In the medium term, fiscal deficits are projected to decline with limited recourse to domestic financing. Strengthening the domestic revenue base is an important objective, including for reducing aid dependency, and the authorities should vigorously pursue improvements in revenue administration and tax policy improvements in agriculture, mining, and property.

“The central bank’s current monetary policy stance is appropriate in view of rising inflationary pressures and the more flexible monetary policy framework will serve to make monetary policy implementation more effective. However, stepped-up efforts are needed to better promote financial deepening and inclusion, including through implementation of the Financial Sector Development Plan, and to enhance domestic and cross-border financial supervisory and regulatory frameworks.

“The government has taken important steps to strengthen Rwanda’s debt management capacity and project implementation, including establishment of a Debt Management Unit. The available room to fund new infrastructure projects and maintain a low risk of debt distress is limited, and sensitive to changing economic circumstances. This requires consistent and prudent debt management, through exploring all available concessional financing options, private sector involvement and judicious use of non-concessional borrowing.

“Removal of remaining structural impediments to private sector investment will help foster greater regional integration and export diversification. Efforts are needed to strengthen the business environment, including by lowering business costs and reducing remaining trade barriers”.

The Executive Board also completed the 2014 Article IV Consultation with Rwanda.

Rwanda’s economic performance since the turn of the century has been remarkable. Strong policies have played a key role in maintaining Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth at 7.8 percent on average since 2000, with significant poverty reduction. The economy is recovering from the disruptions induced by aid suspension through mid-2013, with growth bouncing back in the first half of 2014 and inflation well contained.

The fiscal deficit for the fiscal year 2014/15 continues to be in line with available resources. Tax revenue is expected to increase by 1 percent of GDP this fiscal year, bringing it to almost 16 percent of GDP. Continued efforts to mobilize more domestic revenue should allow Rwanda to reduce its reliance on donor resources and finance its ambitious development agenda.

The monetary stance has remained unchanged since mid-2014 and is consistent with the projected pick-up in inflation and improved growth outlook. The National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) has implemented a series of measures aimed at improving the transmission mechanism of monetary policy and allowed greater exchange rate flexibility to maintain reserves at adequate levels.

Growth in 2014 is expected to be about 6 percent, rising to the longer-term growth rate of 7.5 percent in the medium term. This reflects improved implementation of government projects and a rebound in agriculture because of favorable climatic conditions early in the year. Prospects in construction and real estate are also favorable. Inflation is projected at about 3 percent by end year, converging to the authorities’ target of 5 percent in the medium term.

In terms of risks, weather conditions and delayed project implementation would hinder growth prospects, and a protracted period of slower growth in advanced economies or a decline in commodity prices – minerals and traditional exports – would adversely affect exports.

Executive Board Assessment3

Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They welcomed Rwanda’s continued strong performance under the PSI-supported program, which has led to progress towards macroeconomic stability; robust, sustained and inclusive growth; improved gender equity; and poverty reduction. Despite strong program performance and the favorable economic outlook, Directors noted the country’s vulnerability to external shocks and high aid dependency, and encouraged the authorities to sustain the reform momentum. They supported the creation of an enabling environment for successful economic transformation to a more diversified, private-sector-led growth strategy, through macroeconomic prudence and productivity and competitiveness-enhancing structural reforms.

Directors called for continued efforts to strengthen fiscal sustainability through enhanced revenue mobilization and reduced foreign aid dependency. They recommended improvements in tax administration and broadening the tax base with Fund technical assistance, including through tax policy measures in agriculture, mining and property. On the expenditure side, Directors welcomed the identification of specific contingent cuts for FY2014/15, which safeguard priority social spending, in the event of revenue shortfalls. They also encouraged ongoing efforts to strengthen public financial management.

Directors considered the current monetary policy stance appropriate in view of rising inflationary pressures. However, they encouraged the authorities to improve the effectiveness of the monetary transmission mechanism, through the development of deeper financial markets and new monetary instruments. Directors called for the implementation of the Financial Sector Development Plan, to further promote financial deepening and inclusion. They advised strengthening both domestic and cross-border financial supervisory and regulatory frameworks, and improving the AML/CFT regime.

Directors agreed that Rwanda’s real exchange rate remains broadly in line with economic fundamentals, and underscored the need to maintain exchange rate flexibility to reduce external imbalances and preserve foreign exchange buffers.

Directors welcomed the establishment of the new Debt Management Unit, and supported the authorities’ plans to develop the country’s project implementation capacity, guided by a well-prioritized and appropriately phased public investment plan. They noted the authorities’ commitment to fully explore concessional financing options and private sector participation, and called for careful management of non-concessional borrowing to mitigate rollover risks.

Directors advised the removal of remaining structural impediments to private sector investment, and encouraged greater regional integration and export diversification. They recommended improving the business environment, including by lowering business costs and reducing remaining trade barriers.

IMF Executive Board Completes Third PSI Review for Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund today completed the third review of Uganda’s economic performance under the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).1 The Board’s decision was taken on a lapse of time basis.2

The PSI for Uganda was approved by the Executive Board on June 28, 2013 (see Press Release No: 13/239).

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was lower than expected at the time of the second PSI review in fiscal year (FY) 2013/14, reflecting under-execution of externally-financed public investment and adverse impact on exports of slower growth in main trading partners. Inflation dropped to 1.8 percent in October from 5.0 percent in June 2014 owing to a sharp decline in food prices and slower economic activity, and the international reserve coverage increased to a high level of 4¾ months of imports. Growth is projected to increase in FY2014/15, supported by scaled-up public investment and a recovery in private demand as households and businesses start accessing bank credit.

Performance under the PSI-supported program remains satisfactory. In particular, the end-June targets for inflation and international reserves were met, the ceiling on government’s net domestic financing was observed, and the stock of government arrears was significantly reduced. However, the indicative target on tax revenue was missed reflecting lower growth and shortfalls in efficiency gains.

Uganda’s infrastructure investment needs remain considerable. The authorities plan to boost these investments amid stepped up efforts toward regional integration, the coming on stream of oil production, and actions to improve the business environment. The authorities have committed to base the revamped infrastructure investment program on a well-planned rollout strategy, which will include project selection on the basis of strong feasibility studies; and sequencing that takes into account the impact on debt sustainability and the absorption and implementation capacities of the economy. The plan to upgrade the capacity to appraise, analyze and implement investment projects is welcomed.

On the fiscal front, the overall deficit excluding the recapitalization of Bank of Uganda (BoU) increased from 3.4 to 4.1 percent of GDP in FY2013/14. Challenges in tax compliance resulted in lower-than-expected revenue. However, the recent elimination of many tax exemptions, if accompanied by strict enforcement by the Uganda Revenue Authority and enhanced compliance from taxpayers, would result in a welcome enhancement of tax revenues. Strict adherence to the approved budget and improvements in policy coordination would complement these efforts.

With regard to monetary policy, the BoU’s prudent stance has brought inflation to a four-year low, setting the conditions for some additional monetary easing provided that the inflation expectations are anchored and that fiscal risks are contained. Strong banking supervision and actions to remove banks’ structural rigidities and encourage financial deepening is expected to continue.

Efforts aimed at achieving successful East African Community economic integration, transparent and efficient management of the upcoming oil proceeds, appropriate implementation of the upcoming infrastructure projects, and further gains in public financial management are set to support the authorities’ medium-term objective of attaining inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

1 The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see Details on Uganda’s current PSI are available at

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

Security Council Press Statement on Somalia

NEW YORK, December 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The members of the Security Council have taken note of Saturday’s parliamentary vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, and recent political instability in the country.

The members of the Security Council recalled their visit to Somalia, and that of the Secretary-General, during which both underlined the vital importance of a united political leadership in Somalia. The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the recent political instability in Somalia, and its impact on peace and stability.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the resolution of the current political crisis through the proper Parliamentary channels. They commended the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia for his acceptance of the result, and recognised the positive contribution he and his government had made to peace, security and development in Somalia.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for fast implementation of ‘Vision 2016′. In that context they underlined the importance of the President swiftly appointing a new Prime Minister, and the subsequent rapid establishment of an inclusive and representative government. The members of the Security Council stressed that swift and sustained restoration of political stability is vital, at a time when operations against Al Shabaab continue, and when political progress, in line with ‘Vision 2016′, must accelerate.

The members of the Security Council underlined their concern that further political instability in Somalia could jeopardise progress made so far towards peace and security. The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of the new political leadership in Somalia focusing on priority areas, including resuming the implementation and review of the Provisional Constitution and the passage of key legislation to establish electoral institutions. In this context they also emphasised the importance of Somalia’s leaders, including the new government, developing effective mechanisms to prevent prolonged political crises in the future.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to both the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Kay and UNSOM, as well as to the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission Maman Sidikou and AMISOM as they continue to deliver their respective mandates.

The members of the Security Council underlined their resolute support for the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. The members of the Security Council recalled their significant support to the people and Federal Government of Somalia, including through the UN Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) and through the UN’s support to AMISOM.