IOM Supports Reopening of Schools in Bangui, Central African Republic

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following the outbreak of large-scale violence in early 2013, most schools throughout the Central African Republic (CAR) were closed. They have remained closed now for well over a year, but the Ministry of Education and the UNICEF-led education cluster plan to gradually reopen them across the country starting next month.

IOM is actively supporting the return to school project through activities funded by the European Union (EU) as part of the project entitled: “Community stabilization and early recovery for at-risk communities in Bangui”. This project supports activities including cash-for-work schemes targeting the most vulnerable people across the capital.

IOM this week established work teams in the 1st and 2nd districts to clean classrooms and school yards of debris and overgrowth. The teams are also doing small-scale repairs, including fixing front gates, doors, roofs and guttering as needed and in coordination with the education-cluster actors.

The work teams consist of 50 people for each school, recruited in close coordination with local authorities. They include vulnerable people from each district with a special focus on people who either graduated or left the schools being reopened. Team members will work in 10-day rotations earning roughly USD 50 per rotation.

While the work will start in the 1st and 2nd districts, it will gradually expand to all schools identified by the Ministry of Education as suitable and safe for reopening.

“I used to come to this school until it was closed in February 2012. Now I am glad to see that classes are scheduled to restart,” said Beatrice, 27, a mother of three, who is helping to prepare the Ecole Centre Fille in Bangui’s 1st district for the return of students.

Since its inception in March 2014, IOM’s EU-funded community stabilization project has supported over 6,200 beneficiaries through its cash-for-work project activities. Cash-for-work rotations support community-based infrastructure rehabilitation projects identified by communities and local or national administration. To date, cash-for-work teams have facilitated the cleaning and closure of several displacement sites, hospitals, markets, canals and more than 14km of rain gutters in the 3rd and 5th districts.

The initiative to reopen the schools follows three weeks of increased tension in Bangui, which has displaced some 4,000 people. Due to the volatile situation, schools will only be reopened based on individual evaluations of each school and the local security situation. All of IOM’s activities are being closely coordinated with the local authorities, the security sector and the UNICEF-led education cluster.

Categories: AFRICA

Alcatel-Lucent and MTN Nigeria to boost connectivity in Africa’s most populous nation with ultra-broadband 100G fiber-optic data network

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) (http://www.alcatel-lucent.com) is opening up Africa’s most populous nation to the benefits of ultra-broadband connectivity by launching a superfast, 100 gigabit-per-second fiber-optic network with MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of Dubai-based MTN Group and the leading service provider in Africa.

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

MTN Nigeria, which covers more than almost 90 percent of Nigeria’s land mass, will deploy a 100G network that re-uses existing 10G optical assets thereby preserving MTN past investments while ensuring future proof and state of art solution.

Nigeria’s growing economy is fueling a proliferation of mobile subscribers, which number about 275 to every one landline in the country. As a result, Nigeria has a significant need for reliable, mobile broadband access to support growing demand for bandwidth hungry services such as streaming video plus the ever-increasing need from enterprises for storage and data center connections. The new network also gives MTN the capacity and flexibility to offer wholesale services to other service providers in the region.

Key Facts:

• MTN Nigeria is the biggest mobile operator in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and West Africa region with more than 58 million subscribers and also is the largest subsidiary in the MTN Group – a multinational telecommunications group offering world-class cellular network access and business solutions to more than 210 million subscribers in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

• MTN Nigeria’s network covers 88.8 percent of the country’s land mass giving 86.2 percent of the population access to mobile services.

• Alcatel-Lucent is supporting MTN Nigeria’s rapid growth in mobile subscribers by building a 100G DWDM/OTN network using Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) platform, a family of equipment that has been designed according to the latest international SD-FEC zero touch photonics and coherent technology.

Alcatel-Lucent Agile Optical Networking combines WDM, OTN, and GMPLS/ASON control plane intelligence to assure scalable, versatile, reliable and efficient transport at 100G and beyond.Quotes:

Lynda Saint-Nwafor, CTO of MTN Nigeria said: “MTN realized we needed to upgrade our network to meet customer expectations for ultra-broadband connectivity and high reliability within Nigeria’s very competitive marketplace. We wanted a state of the art solution that met three main criteria: increased network reliability, a high degree of scalability to prepare the network for 400G and beyond, and preservation of our existing 10G investment. Alcatel-Lucent’s demonstrations showed that they could meet all of our criteria and we look forward to deploying the network overlay in 2014.”

Hatim Zougari, Country Senior Officer of Alcatel-Lucent in Nigeria, said: “We knew that MTN’s top priority was to provide reliability to their customers but they also wanted to offer ultra-broadband and they wanted to retain usefulness of as much of their legacy network as possible. We were able to show that we can give them a cost-effective solution that accomplishes all of their goals in a way that no one else could.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent.

MTN Press contact:

Fundo Aina, PR and Protocol Manager

M: +234 8032004168

Email : funsoa@mtnnigeria.net

ALCATEL-LUCENT PRESS CONTACTS

SIMON POULTER simon.poulter@alcatel-lucent.com T : +33 (0)1 40 76 50 84

SHERINE AZIEZ sherine.aziez@alcatel-lucent.com T : +213 770 968 348

ALCATEL-LUCENT INVESTOR RELATIONS

MARISA BALDO marisa.baldo@alcatel-lucent.com T : + 33 (0) 1 4076 1120

JACQUES-OLIVIER VALLET jacques-olivier.vallet@alcatel-lucent.com T : +33 (0)1 40 76 12 49

TOM BEVILACQUA thomas.bevilacqua@alcatel-lucent.com T : + 1 908-582-7998

Additional Resources:

• 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS): http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/products/1830-photonic-service-switch

• 1830 PSS Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alcatel-lucent/sets/72157633002583988/with/8560053764/

About MTN Nigeria:

MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group, Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications company. On May 16, 2001, MTN became the first GSM network to make a call following the globally lauded Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission earlier in the year. Thereafter the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. MTN paid $285m for one of four GSM licenses in Nigeria in January 2001. To date, in excess of US$12 billion has been invested building mobile telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria. Since launch in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across Nigeria. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spanning the 36 states of the Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Many of these villages and communities are being connected to the world of telecommunications for the first time ever. The company’s digital microwave transmission backbone, the 3,400 Kilometre Y’elloBahn was commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo in January 2003 and is reputed to be the most extensive digital microwave transmission infrastructure in all of Africa. The Y’elloBahn has significantly helped to enhance call quality on MTN network.

With over 58 million subscribers, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTNN) provides cellular network access and ICT solutions to millions of Nigerians, connecting whole communities with each other and with the rest of the world. It is also the largest subsidiary in the MTN Group – a multinational telecommunications group offering world-class cellular network access and business solutions to over 210 million subscribers in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. For more information please visit: http://www.mtnonline.com/

ABOUT ALCATEL-LUCENT (EURONEXT PARIS AND NYSE: ALU) (HTTP://WWW.ALCATEL-LUCENT.COM):

We are at the forefront of global communications, providing products and innovations in IP and cloud networking, as well as ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access to service providers and their customers, and to enterprises and institutions throughout the world. Underpinning us in driving the industrial transformation from voice telephony to high-speed digital delivery of data, video and information is Bell Labs, an integral part of the Group and one of the world’s foremost technology research institutes, responsible for countless breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Our innovations have resulted in our Group being recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 Global Innovator, as well as being named by MIT Technology Review as amongst 2012’s Top 50 “World’s Most Innovative Companies”. We have also been recognized for innovation in sustainability, being named Industry Group Leader in the Technology Hardware & Equipment sector in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review, for making global communications more sustainable, affordable and accessible, all in pursuit of the Group’s mission to realize the potential of a connected world.

With revenues of Euro 14.4 billion in 2013, Alcatel-Lucent is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges (Euronext and NYSE: ALU). The company is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow the Company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

Categories: AFRICA

Secretary-General Applauds Tunisia’s Elections as ‘Crucial Step’, ‘Decisive Milestone’ in Transition to Democracy

NEW YORK, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General congratulates the Tunisian people on the occasion of the country’s legislative elections on 26 October. As the Secretary-General noted during his recent visit to Tunisia, these elections are a crucial step for the country’s future and mark a decisive milestone in the transition to democracy. Just as this moment comes with a great deal of hope, there remain crucial tasks ahead for the next Government. He reiterates that the United Nations stands ready to support Tunisia in this respect.

The Secretary-General also congratulates the Tunisian electoral authorities for their efforts in organizing the polling and their continued work on the presidential elections next month.

Categories: AFRICA

Statement of the African Union Commission Chairperson, HE Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to the Meeting on Ebola with the UN Secretary General, World Bank President, delegations from the AfDB and EU Commission

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Tuesday 28 October 2014, Small Conference Room 3

AU Conference Centre

Excellency, the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon

Excellency, President of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim

Representatives from the EU Commission, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the UN Family

AUC Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha and fellow Commissioners

AU Directors

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are meeting here at a time when our sisters and brothers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are facing grave challenges, as they fight and battle the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which over the last few months so abruptly halted their path towards development and reconstruction.

The disease, which is not new to the world, and its manifestations in these countries, has caught us by surprise. With the wisdom of hindsight, our responses at all levels – continental, global and national – were slow, and often knee jerk reactions that did not always help the situation.

A few months into this crisis, and based on the experience gained, we know much more and are confident that we must, that we can and that we will, defeat this disease.

We just returned from a visit to Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, along with my brothers Carlos Lopes from the UNECA and Donald Kaberuka from the ADB. During this visit, we met the Presidents, Cabinet Ministers and National Ebola response teams, and in Sierra Leone, with their Parliament.

Wherever we went, we were humbled by the efforts, the determination, the courage and the resilience of the peoples and governments of these countries. They informed us of the multi-sectoral plans they are implementing, with the support of the international community, on treatment, contact tracing, public health education and managing the burial of loved ones.

At the same time, they were very frank about the huge gaps and challenges they face, and therefore on the need for the African Union and the international community to do more, and do it faster.

But we also learnt that Ebola can be prevented, that you can recover from Ebola and that all of us can contribute to the fight against Ebola. We should not give in to the impression of panic that it cannot be prevented or that once you are infected, that it is a death sentence; we can stop transmission and with early treatment, many can survive and have.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Since the first African Ministers of Health meeting in April 2014, which resulted in Member states that previously dealt with the Ebola Virus Disease, sending experts to the countries concerned, the AU’s focus remains on the mobilization of health workers and experts to aid the affected countries.

Africa, right from its days of fighting colonialisation, have relied on solidarity, believing that one country can’t be free, if all Africa is not free. We therefore call on this African solidarity, that no country will be free and healthy, if one country still faces Ebola.

The Peace and Security Council decided in August to send a humanitarian mission to the affected countries. The African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) was launched, and the first teams of volunteer health workers sent to Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a further team to Guinea by the end of this month.

Based on this initial deployment, it was clear that we need much greater numbers of health workers, and we appealed to the Heads of State and Government to volunteer more.

We are greatly encouraged by the response of over 1000 health workers pledged to date: from ECOWAS, the East African Community, the DRC, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and others. This is in addition to the in-kind and financial support already provided and pledged by Member states to the governments of the three countries.

We call on other Member Stats that have not yet responded, to do so in the spirit of solidarity. Every African country must send health workers, no matter how small the number, because in the spirit of solidarity it gives strength to our brothers and sisters in the three countries, that we are with them in this fight.

We now have to work with the governments concerned and with our African and international partners to ensure that we raise the resources to ensure the effective deployment of these health workers as soon as possible in the three countries. I am glad that we had the discussions with the UNSG and the President of the World Bank this morning on this matter.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are also mobilizing other sectors of the African communities, such as the African business sector; we are talking to the Confederation of African Football and the cultural sector, to do their bit to contribute towards this joint effort of solidarity. We will be meeting African business on 8 November 2014 in Addis Ababa. We believe that the mobilisation of all sectors of African society for this solidarity efforts are critical, we cannot only rely on our governments.

Since the Emergency Executive Council of the AU of early September 2014, we worked tirelessly to break the isolation of the countries, so that we have flights resuming to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, with effective screening procedures. We already discussed this matter with Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS, and with Cote d’Ivore, who has already resumed flights to Guinea and soon to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

As we said at the occasion of the session of the Council: we must not create more adverse conditions for the countries affected than what the disease is already wreaking on them. We will therefore continue work in this regard, including with shipping companies and countries who are refusing docking for ships that have been to the three countries, often to drop much needed supplies and goods.

Finally, working with our African strategic partner institutions, the UNECA and the ADB, we are also looking beyond the Ebola crisis, to ensure that there are plans in place to enable the countries to swiftly recover, and to once more get back on track on the road to ensure development for their people, integration with the continent and shared prosperity for all.

Let me conclude by thanking our partners who are here today at the AU Headquarters, the UN Secretary General, the World Bank President, and representatives from the EU Commission, the ADB and the Islamic Development Bank.

I thank you

Categories: AFRICA

South Sudan / Launching of Children not Soldiers Campaign

JUBA, South Sudan, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government of South Sudan, UNMISS Child Protection Unit and UNICEF are launching #CHILDRENNOTSOLDIER Campaign in South Sudan at Dr. Garang Mausoleum.

Background: The campaign is part of the Global Campaign #CHILDRENnotsoldiers which aims to end the recruitment and use of children by 2016. The event marks the country’s renewed commitment to end the recruitment and use of children by its army.

8:00am – 8:30am: Arrival of Invited Guests – Ministry of Defence (MOD), Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare (MGCSW), UNMISS

8:30am – 9:00am: Parade – SPLA

There will be remarks and presentations for launching #CHILDRENNOTSOLDIER Campaign.

Confirmed speakers include the Minister of Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk and the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan Jonathan Veitch.

The programme will end at 12 noon followed by lunch.

Categories: AFRICA

Ethiopian court sentences journalist to three years

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn to three years’ imprisonment on charges of defamation and incitement that date back to 2012. A court in Addis Ababa, the capital, convicted Temesgen on October 13 in connection with opinion pieces published in the now-defunct Feteh news magazine, according to news reports. He was arrested the same day. Authorities have routinely targeted Temesghen for his writing. Temesghen’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the ruling, according to local journalists.

“With each journalist sentenced to prison, Ethiopia takes another step further from freedom of the press and democratic society,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to overturn Temesghen’s conviction on appeal and release him and all other journalists jailed for doing their jobs.”

A state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers has taken place in Ethiopia this year, prompting several Ethiopian journalists to flee into exile, according to CPJ research. With at least 17 journalists in jail, Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, second only to its neighbor Eritrea, CPJ research shows.

Categories: AFRICA