Sep 192014
 

NEW YORK, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The new Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 4 September 2014.

Since Sept…

Sep 192014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, delivered closing remarks at the first Canada-Africa Business Summit, hosted by the Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica).

“Africa’s development is not only an important economic growth story, it is also a development story.” said Minister Paradis. “It’s about jobs, education, access to training and health care services. It’s about sustainable growth and wealth distribution. As investors, Canadian businesses are models of best practice. They use innovative approaches, financial instruments and technologies to build local capacity and create benefits for communities. Their presence is positive for the countries in which they operate, and perhaps even more importantly, for those who live there.”

Current rates of economic growth across Africa have the potential to bring sustainable poverty reduction across the continent. In his remarks, Minister Paradis announced that Canada is providing funding to the 13th replenishment of the African Development Fund to help Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable countries receive grants and low-interest loans. Canada is committed to supporting development in sub-Saharan Africa, and will continue to play a leadership role in maternal, newborn and child health and in supporting sustainable economic growth.

“African states have made their development needs and priorities clear,” added the Minister. “Canada, and Canadian businesses, have the capital, technology, and entrepreneurial expertise to help them implement their vision. If we are to break down those last, persistent barriers to eliminating global poverty, Canada needs to diversify its development programming. We need innovative funding mechanisms that support private-sector-led growth that lead to sustainable solutions and that create jobs and wealth on both sides of the world.”

While in Toronto the Minister also met with Mr. Tolesa Shagui, Minister of the Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia, where they discussed increased cooperation and results. Together the Ministers announced an initiative to strengthen education for mining in Ethiopia, by providing technical vocational training for the community-based workforce and by preparing graduates—both men and women—for employment in the extractive sector. This initiative will increase access to cutting-edge fields such as geology and mining engineering.

Quick Facts

• The Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote trade and economic development between Canada and Africa.

• Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan are development countries of focus under Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda.

• There are 12 sub-Saharan African countries listed as priority markets under our Global Markets Action Plan.

• Exports of oil and minerals from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America in 2012 were worth more than US$1.35 trillion—more than 15 times the amount of official development assistance provided to these same regions in that year.

Sep 192014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today called on Canadian businesses to seize the opportunities that more trade and investment with emerging markets in Africa offers. In his address to Canadian and African businesses, non-governmental organizations and African government representatives during the Canada-Africa Business Summit in Toronto, Minister Fast pointed to the long-standing trade, investment, development, education and cultural ties between Canada and African countries that continue to foster economic success.

Canada’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development is an important element of our engagement with Africa. This includes supporting the Canadian extractive sector in its responsible and transparent operations in Africa and working with host countries to develop capacities to manage their natural resources.

During his trade mission to Africa in June, Minister Fast announced that Export Development Canada is expanding its presence at the Canadian embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing on-the-ground support in southern Africa and assisting Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in boosting their exports.

Under the Global Markets Action Plan, the Government of Canada is committed to providing the tools to help businesses succeed, including free trade agreements, foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) and air transport agreements. Canadian businesses can also count on the support of the Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, with trade commissioners serving Canadian business needs in 16 African countries.

Quick Facts

• The International Monetary Fund expects the sub-Saharan economy to grow by 5.4 percent in 2014 and by 5.5 percent in 2015.

• Canada’s bilateral trade with continental Africa was $13.3 billion in 2013.

• As part of its plan to promote and protect Canadian investments in sub-Saharan Africa, Canada has FIPAs in force with Benin and Tanzania; has signed agreements with Cameroon and Nigeria; and has concluded negotiations with Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Zambia. FIPA negotiations are under way with Ghana and Kenya.

• Minister Fast has led three trade missions to Africa over the last three years, visiting eight countries.

Quote

“Increased trade and investment is transforming countless lives and communities across Africa, just as it is creating jobs and generating economic growth in Canada and African countries alike. We are committed to opening new markets for our exporters and ensuring that Canadian companies, especially SMEs, take advantage of the opportunities our ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan creates for them. Our FIPAs and sector-focused trade missions, along with help from our trade commissioners and close cooperation with Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, are part of the many ways we are supporting Canadian SMEs as they grow, expand and succeed around the world.”

Sep 182014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister Fast with Louis-Paul Motazé, Secretary General, Office of the Prime Minister of Cameroon

Once in force, the Canada-Cameroon FIPA will offer greater protection for Canadian companies operating there

September 18, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, meets Louis-Paul Motazé, Secretary General, Office of the Prime Minister of Cameroon, on the margins of the Canada-Africa Business Summit, where Minister Fast delivered a keynote address. The two ministers discussed growing investment ties between the two countries and the progress on their respective ratification processes to bring into force the Canada-Cameroon Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). When in force, the FIPA will promote two-way investment and offer greater protection to Canadian companies operating in Cameroon through reciprocal, legally binding provisions.

Canadian companies are already active in Cameroon. In 2012, Canadian mining assets in Cameroon were valued at $61.3 million. In its recently launched Global Markets Action Plan, Canada identified Cameroon as an emerging market with specific opportunities for Canadian businesses in sectors such as infrastructure and education, as well as mining, and oil and gas. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Cameroon was valued at nearly $53.5 million in 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the previous year.

As part of its plan to promote and protect Canadian investments abroad, Canada concluded, signed or brought into force FIPAs with 10 countries in 2013—a record for a single year. Seven of these were with African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. Canada has FIPAs in force with Benin, Egypt and Tanzania, and FIPA negotiations are under way with Ghana, Kenya and Tunisia. Canada currently has 27 FIPAs in force around the world.

For further information, please see Canada-Cameroon FIPA.

Sep 182014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A group of United Nations human rights experts* today urged the Government of Ethiopia to stop misusing anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedoms of expression and association in the country, amid reports that people continue to be detained arbitrarily.

The experts’ call comes on the eve of the consideration by Ethiopia of a series of recommendations made earlier this year by members of the Human Rights Council in a process known as the Universal Periodic Review and which applies equally to all 193 UN Members States. These recommendations are aimed at improving the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, including in the context of counter-terrorism measures.

“Two years after we first raised the alarm, we are still receiving numerous reports on how the anti-terrorism law is being used to target journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and opposition politicians in Ethiopia,” the experts said. “Torture and inhuman treatment in detention are gross violations of fundamental human rights.”

“Confronting terrorism is important, but it has to be done in adherence to international human rights to be effective,” the independent experts stressed. “Anti-terrorism provisions need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law, and they must not be abused.”

The experts have repeatedly highlighted issues such as unfair trials, with defendants often having no access to a lawyer. “The right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of association continue to be violated by the application of the anti-terrorism law,” they warned.

“We call upon the Government of Ethiopia to free all persons detained arbitrarily under the pretext of countering terrorism,” the experts said. “Let journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and religious leaders carry out their legitimate work without fear of intimidation and incarceration.”

The human rights experts reiterated their call on the Ethiopian authorities to respect individuals’ fundamental rights and to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.

“We also urge the Government of Ethiopia to respond positively to the outstanding request to visit by the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on the situation of human rights defenders,” they concluded.