UN torture prevention body’s country visits for 2016 – agenda includes Tunisia, Ukraine, Mexico and Niger

Tunisia, Ukraine, Mexico and Niger are among the countries the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) plans to visit in 2016.

The SPT’s role is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees, and it has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

During the first half of next year, the SPT will visit Chile, Cyprus, Romania, Tunisia and Ukraine, it has been confirmed, with the exact dates to be finalised.

In addition, the SPT has announced that it will visit Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique and Niger, with this work beginning in the second half of 2016.

Under the SPT’s mandate, members may make unannounced visits to places where people are deprived of their liberty, including prisons, police stations and psychiatric hospitals. The SPT also works with national governments and provides advice and assistance to national independent monitoring bodies known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM).

“The next twelve months or so will see our most extensive programme of visits to date – a direct result of the increasing number of countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol,” said Malcolm Evans, Chairperson of the SPT.

“While more ratifications are welcome, the SPT needs to make the most effective use of the time we have for each visit. We will be addressing a broad range of issues over the next year, but also aiming to respond to the most pressing concerns related to torture prevention in each particular State and helping the work of national monitoring bodies,” he added.

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

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Source:: UN torture prevention body’s country visits for 2016 – agenda includes Tunisia, Ukraine, Mexico and Niger

Categories: AFRICA

Continental Meeting on the Review and Consideration of the Pan African Investment Code (PAIC) Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

What: Continental Meeting on the Review and Consideration of the Pan African Investment Code (PAIC).

Who: Economic Integration and Regional Division, African Union Commission

When: 30th November – 2nd December 2015 from 9.00 A.M (TBC)

Where: Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.

Objectives:

The primary objective of the study is to create a conducive environment to attract greater flows of investments into Africa and facilitate intra-African cross-border investments which are critical to the success of economic integration in the continent. It takes cognizance of the critical role that investment plays to enable the attainment of high levels of economic growth, wealth creation, poverty alleviation as well as enhancing the integration agenda.

The specific objective of the study is to elaborate a Pan-African Investment Code (PAIC) model based on international best practices in order to establish the appropriate business climate which would stimulate more investments at the national, regional and continental levels, and develop a roadmap and strategy on how AU MS can adopt this model to suit their respective local situations.

Expected Outcomes:

The Review and Consideration of the Pan African Investment Code, the final version of the PAIC will be submitted to the Special Ministerial Technical Committee on Economy, Finance and Integration Matters in March 2016 for consideration and adoption before its submission to the AU Heads of State and Government for its final adoption and subsequent implementation

Participants: The meeting will be attended by experts from AU member States and the Regional Economic Communities.

Background: The Commission of the African Union (AUC) was mandated during the third Conference of African Ministers in charge of Integration (COMAI III) held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 22-23 May 2008, “to develop a comprehensive investment Code for Africa with a view to promoting private sector participation”. The AUC was also requested by the Ninth Meeting of AU-RECs-ECA-AfDB Coordination Committee, held on 25 January 2012, in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia “to carry out a study with a view to establishing a Pan-African Investment Code

Journalists are invited to cover the meeting on the 30th November – 2ND December 2015, 9:00AM at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.

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

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Source:: Continental Meeting on the Review and Consideration of the Pan African Investment Code (PAIC) Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda

Categories: AFRICA

Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Mali

The Secretary-General condemns today’s attack by means of an explosive device against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) travelling on the Goundam-Timbuktu axis in the Timbuktu region. The attack resulted in the death of one civilian staff member.

The Secretary-General wishes to reaffirm that such attacks will not alter the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people and the peace process, including through its assistance to the ongoing implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. MINUSMA continues to strengthen measures aimed at countering explosive threats in Mali for the protection of United Nations personnel and Malian people alike.

The Secretary-General commends the brave men and women serving in MINUSMA for their efforts to bring lasting peace to Mali under such difficult conditions. He wishes to express his sincere condolences to the family of the victim.

New York, 24 November 2015

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

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Mali

Categories: AFRICA

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Suicide Bombing Attack in North Sinai

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack today in North Sinai’s al-Arish City, Egypt, which reportedly killed a number of Government officials, security personnel and civilians. He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Egypt, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

The Secretary-General reiterates his strong belief in the need for a holistic approach to preventing and countering the scourge of terrorism, stressing due regard for international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

New York, 24 November 2015

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

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Suicide Bombing Attack in North Sinai

Categories: AFRICA

Note to correspondents In response to questions regarding an agreement signed by Libyan tribes

In response to questions about the agreement for Libya, the Spokesman has the following to say:

The agreement brokered by Qatar is an important development and we hope it will indeed end the inter-communal violence in the south.

The Secretary-General welcomes all initiatives that complement the UN Support Mission in Libya’s (UNSMIL’s) work and aim to bring about an end to the conflict in Libya.

The south of Libya has seen a lot of conflict over the past years, particularly around Ubari, and the representatives involved in these talks deserve to be commended for their leadership. Similarly, Qatar is to be commended for its facilitation.

All such local initiatives aimed at ceasefires and reconciliation will need to be complemented by a nationwide political agreement in order to minimize potential conflict going forward. The Secretary-General encourages Qatar to again exert its constructive influence to help bring about a swift signing of the nationwide political agreement in its present form.

The Secretary-General therefore urges Libyan leaders once again to endorse the proposed political agreement. A unified, single Government of National Accord that can begin to address the country’s challenges is the best way to build on these local and very important reconciliation initiatives.

New York, 24 November 2015

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

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Source:: Note to correspondents In response to questions regarding an agreement signed by Libyan tribes

Categories: AFRICA

The African Union Border Program holds its 2nd Coordination Meeting with RECs in Lusaka, Zambia

The African Union Border Program (AUBP) convened a two-day coordination meeting with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) from 24 to 25 November 2015, at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia. The meeting is a follow-up to the 1st Coordination Meeting held in October 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria. Both meetings aim to adopt an inclusive approach to Border Management by creating a platform for the RECs to interact among themselves and update the AUBP on their border management initiatives for the implementation of the Program.

The meeting highlighted the importance of the RECs in the implementation of the AUBP in accelerating regional and continental integration and the need for a common approach to border management at all levels.

The meeting provided an opportunity to review and update the AUBP-RECs Joint Roadmap for Border Management adopted in Abuja in 2013, and came up with a draft Report on the status of borders on the continent and the different initiatives on cross- border cooperation to be presented at the ministerial conference in 2016.

The meeting was organised with the support of the GIZ/AUBP.

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

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Source:: The African Union Border Program holds its 2nd Coordination Meeting with RECs in Lusaka, Zambia

Categories: AFRICA

Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

As part of the African Union (AU) efforts to enhance partnership between the AU and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an AU delegation led by the Commissioner for peace and security, Amb. Smail Chergui, met today, in Doha, with Qatari officials, including Prince Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Saud Al Thani and Mr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. The AU delegation included former President Pierre Buyoya, AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel and Head of the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzaher, Head of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the League of Arab States.

The consultations with the Qatari authorities focused on various peace and security issues of common interest, including the Darfur region of Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Mali, as well as on the threat posed by the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, against the backdrop of renewed terrorist attacks both in Africa and outside the Continent. The two parties exchanged views on how best to address the challenges at hand, including enhanced support to the AU and its Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution towards the implementation of the African Peace and Security Agenda. In this respect, steps will be taken to formalize the partnership between the AU and the State of Qatar, notably through the conclusion, as soon as possible, of a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of peace and security.

Commissioner Chergui seized the opportunity of the meetings with the Qatari officials to reiterate the AU’s appreciation of Qatar’s invaluable support to the search for peace in the Darfur region of Sudan, including financial contribution to help address the plight of the affected populations and facilitate rehabilitation, early recovery and development. These efforts and those of the AU, through the High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), are mutually-supportive and aim at assisting the Sudan overcome the challenges confronting it.

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

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Source:: Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

Categories: AFRICA

Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

As part of the African Union (AU) efforts to enhance partnership between the AU and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an AU delegation led by the Commissioner for peace and security, Amb. Smail Chergui, met today, in Doha, with Qatari officials, including Prince Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Saud Al Thani and Mr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. The AU delegation included former President Pierre Buyoya, AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel and Head of the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzaher, Head of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the League of Arab States.

The consultations with the Qatari authorities focused on various peace and security issues of common interest, including the Darfur region of Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Mali, as well as on the threat posed by the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, against the backdrop of renewed terrorist attacks both in Africa and outside the Continent. The two parties exchanged views on how best to address the challenges at hand, including enhanced support to the AU and its Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution towards the implementation of the African Peace and Security Agenda. In this respect, steps will be taken to formalize the partnership between the AU and the State of Qatar, notably through the conclusion, as soon as possible, of a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of peace and security.

Commissioner Chergui seized the opportunity of the meetings with the Qatari officials to reiterate the AU’s appreciation of Qatar’s invaluable support to the search for peace in the Darfur region of Sudan, including financial contribution to help address the plight of the affected populations and facilitate rehabilitation, early recovery and development. These efforts and those of the AU, through the High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), are mutually-supportive and aim at assisting the Sudan overcome the challenges confronting it.

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

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Source:: Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

Categories: AFRICA

Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

As part of the African Union (AU) efforts to enhance partnership between the AU and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an AU delegation led by the Commissioner for peace and security, Amb. Smail Chergui, met today, in Doha, with Qatari officials, including Prince Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Saud Al Thani and Mr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. The AU delegation included former President Pierre Buyoya, AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel and Head of the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzaher, Head of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the League of Arab States.

The consultations with the Qatari authorities focused on various peace and security issues of common interest, including the Darfur region of Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Mali, as well as on the threat posed by the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, against the backdrop of renewed terrorist attacks both in Africa and outside the Continent. The two parties exchanged views on how best to address the challenges at hand, including enhanced support to the AU and its Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution towards the implementation of the African Peace and Security Agenda. In this respect, steps will be taken to formalize the partnership between the AU and the State of Qatar, notably through the conclusion, as soon as possible, of a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of peace and security.

Commissioner Chergui seized the opportunity of the meetings with the Qatari officials to reiterate the AU’s appreciation of Qatar’s invaluable support to the search for peace in the Darfur region of Sudan, including financial contribution to help address the plight of the affected populations and facilitate rehabilitation, early recovery and development. These efforts and those of the AU, through the High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), are mutually-supportive and aim at assisting the Sudan overcome the challenges confronting it.

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

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Source:: Consultations between the African Union and the State of Qatar on Peace and Security issues

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with Cameroon

On November 18, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Cameroon1.

The economy has shown resilience in the face of the twin shocks of the oil price slump and heightened security threats, with the robust growth of 2014 continuing into 2015. Growth is broad-based and projected to reach 5.9 percent in 2015, buoyed by increased oil production and the performance of sectors benefiting from the ongoing public investment boom. Annual inflation is projected at 2.8 percent and has not been significantly affected by the 15 percent increase in administered fuel prices on July 1, 2014. Total revenue is projected to increase in 2015, owing to a strong performance in non-oil revenue. However, the fiscal deficit is expected to widen to 5.4 percent of GDP, as revenue mobilization efforts are hampered by the oil price decrease and capital expenditure increases further. The reliance on foreign financing for investment expenditure, including on non-concessional terms, has resulted in a sharp rise (from a low base) in external public debt, which represented 17.8 percent of GDP at end-2014. The current account deficit, meanwhile, is projected to increase to 5.1 percent of GDP, reflecting lower prices for exports and continued strong imports, driven by the growth in investment.

Growth is projected to moderate to 5.2 percent in 2016, as oil production stabilizes. Inflation is projected to remain low, at 2.2 percent, in line with moderate prices trends for key commodity imports and low euro area inflation. The fiscal deficit is projected to rise to 7.2 percent of GDP, reflecting continued strong public investment and increased expenditures to counter security threats. The external current account deficit is projected to rise to 5.3 percent of GDP, as continued strong imports and the terms-of-trade shock of 2015 continue to have an impact. The financial sector remains relatively sound and has excess liquidity, although this has declined since the onset of the oil price shock and the investment boom. At the same time, non-performing loans in the banking sector increased from 10.2 percent in June 2014 to 13.1 percent a year later, with micro-finance institutions showing similar trends. Bank supervision at national and regional levels has improved. The regional supervisor (COBAC) remains vigilant to potential stresses to the financial system arising from protracted low oil prices and possible regional spillovers.

The medium-term outlook has somewhat deteriorated since the last Article IV consultation, reflecting weaker prospects for oil and other exports, in addition to the security threats. Lower oil revenues and the costs of countering the security threats are expected to reduce fiscal space going forward. Against this background, the overall fiscal deficit is projected to remain above 5 percent of GDP until 2018, after which the public investment program returns to more normal levels and the fiscal balance is projected to improve. The external current account deficit is projected to rise to 5.3 percent of GDP, as continued strong imports and the terms-of-trade shock of 2015 continue to have an impact.

Downside risks to the outlook are primarily on the external side, including a deepening of the oil price slump and an extension of security threats. At the same time, domestic risks, such as contingent liabilities from state-owned enterprises, could have an adverse impact on public finances.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They welcomed the notable resilience and continued robust growth of Cameroon’s economy so far in the face of sharply falling international oil prices and heightened regional security threats. While acknowledging the need to bridge infrastructure gaps, Directors nevertheless noted that fiscal and external vulnerabilities are rising on the back of the decline in oil revenue and an ambitious public investment program. Directors stressed that sound fiscal and debt management policies and more ambitious structural reforms are critical to preserve macroeconomic stability, boost private sector investment, and promote stronger, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

Directors stressed the importance of improving fiscal discipline. They encouraged the authorities to adopt a prudent budget based on a realistic oil price assumption, and to develop a credible medium-term consolidation strategy going forward. They welcomed recent tax revenue mobilization efforts and recommended stronger efforts to enhance customs revenue collection. Directors underscored the need for similar efforts on the expenditure side by strengthening public financial management. They called for action to eliminate arrears and improve oversight of contingent liabilities from state-owned enterprises.

Directors emphasized the importance of rationalizing the parallel public investment programs and to bring them fully into the budget. They also encouraged the authorities to take advantage of the current low oil prices to eliminate fuel subsidies while developing a social safety net to protect the poor. Adopting a medium-term fiscal anchor would help mitigate the impact of oil-price volatility and exert better control over public spending.

Directors emphasized the importance of preserving debt sustainability. They encouraged the authorities to pursue a prudent debt management strategy giving more priority to concessional borrowing and financing through regional markets. They called for a careful assessment and prioritization of investment projects on the basis of their potential impact on growth and poverty reduction and taking into account administrative and implementation capacity.

Directors noted that the financial sector is relatively stable. They encouraged continued close collaboration with the regional oversight body to enhance financial sector surveillance, including of micro-financial institutions and the new bank for small and medium-size enterprises. Directors called for vigilance with regard to rising nonperforming loans.

Directors emphasized that ambitious structural reforms aimed at boosting private sector activity and economic diversification by creating a business-friendly environment, and easier access to credit, are needed to lift growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner. They encouraged the authorities to reinvigorate their efforts to promote regional integration. Directors also called for further progress in improving the quality and timeliness of data and statistics.

It is expected that the next Article IV consultation with Cameroon will be held on the standard 12-month cycle.

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

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Source:: IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with Cameroon

Categories: AFRICA

Equatorial Guinea’s National Gas Company Opens Negotiations for LPG Purchase

  • SONAGAS to market its share of LPG production to international buyers
  • Negotiations with offtakers ongoing, SONAGAS to determine best bidder
  • SONAGAS is 20 percent shareholder in LPG operations at Punta Europa

The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea has announced that national gas company SONAGAS (http://SONAGAS-ge.com) will begin marketing the State’s share of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced at the Alba Plant, on Bioko Island. SONAGAS has now opened negotiations with offtakers and will begin marketing its LPG production stake to international buyers from January 1, 2016.

SONAGAS is a 20 percent shareholder, alongside Marathon Oil (40 percent) and Noble Energy (40 percent), in LPG production at the Alba Plant, situated at the Punta Europa gas complex. The Alba Plant partners, SONAGAS and the Government of Equatorial Guinea have agreed that SONAGAS will market its 20 percent share of LPG production on behalf of the State.

The Government believes this is a major step for local content in Equatorial Guinea. H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, stated: “SONAGAS marketing its share of LPG fulfills one of the major objectives envisaged by the State in creating the company a decade ago – that of a national gas company with capacity across the spectrum of gas activities. SONAGAS is evolving to take on more of the gas business, not only as a shareholder at Punta Europa, but throughout the entire value chain.”

The LPG production plant began operating in 1991 and was modernized in 2003-2005. The plant produces 8,000 barrels per day of butane, 14,000 barrels per day of propane and 6,000 barrels per day of condensed gas.

Sociedad Nacional de Gas G.E., known as SONAGAS, was set up in 2005 to develop gas projects on behalf of the Government of Equatorial Guinea and to maximize the value of natural gas to the country. The company is owned fully by the Government. It acts as a promoter of natural gas sector activities in Equatorial Guinea and is the state’s representative and stakeholder in national projects.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy Equatorial Guinea.

Contact:
Leoncio Amada Nze Nlang
Director General de Relaciones con Empresas Estatales y Activos
Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy | Republic of Equatorial Guinea
lamada@mmie.gob.gq | +240 350 091 500

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Source:: Equatorial Guinea’s National Gas Company Opens Negotiations for LPG Purchase

Categories: AFRICA

Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist attack in Tunisia

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack against the Tunisian Presidential Guard bus in Tunis, Tunisia, on 24 November 2015, resulting in the death of at least 12 people.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous act and to the Government of Tunisia.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of this reprehensible act of terrorism to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Tunisian authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council stressed that no terrorist attack can reverse the path of Tunisia towards democracy and its efforts towards economic recovery and development.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.

24 November 2015

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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Source:: Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist attack in Tunisia

Categories: AFRICA