Drought continues to devastate communities in Puntland and Somaliland despite rains

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Peter de Clercq, has witnessed firsthand the impact of the devastating drought in parts of Puntland and Somaliland during his recent visits and has called for urgent action to avert a deterioration of the situation.

The drought has impacted lives and livelihoods, compounding an already challenging humanitarian situation. In some areas, 60-80 per cent of herds have been lost, with devastating impact on families who depend on livestock for income, food and status. “I am deeply concerned about the devastating effects of the persisting drought on the communities in Puntland and Somaliland. I have called for urgent action to avert a rapid deterioration of the situation. If we can vaccinate livestock and provide cash and inputs to agro-pastoralists now, we can mitigate the impact of the current drought,” said Peter de Clercq.

The situation remains of serious concern in spite of the rains with nearly 385,000 people in Puntland and Somaliland facing acute food insecurity while an estimated 1.3 million people are at risk of slipping into acute food insecurity if they do not receive assistance. Overall, nearly 1.7 million or 37 per cent of the 4.6 million people in Puntland and Somaliland need some form of humanitarian assistance.

Even though the Gu rains have brought an end to the drought in some areas and opportunities for recovery among affected communities, the crisis remains of serious concern given the cumulative impact of up to four failed rainy seasons in some areas. If the rains stop earlier than end-May/early-June, the situation could deteriorate rapidly and deeply. Livestock continue to die due to the drought and the rains.

Critical life-saving assistance has continued since October. Partners are scaling up with more resources starting to come since March when the Humanitarian Coordinator launched the Call for Aid requesting $105 million to boost the drought response. Priority is given to putting cash in people’s pockets to save lives and enable recovery of livelihoods for both pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Assistance to pastoralists also includes a broad spectrum of animal health support, such as vaccinations and possible restocking in the future. Agro-pastoralists are also supported with seeds and tractor hours.

During his visit, the Humanitarian Coordinator met with representatives of the government, donors, humanitarian partners and affected communities to assess the impact the current drought and ongoing response by partners. The visits are also part of an initiative to find solutions for the 1.1 million Somalis in protracted displacement across the country.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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The 595th meeting of the AUPSC on the Report of the African Commission on Human andPeoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on its fact-finding mission to Burundi –

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 595th meeting, held on 28 April 2016, adopted the following decision on the Report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on its fact-finding mission to Burundi:

Council,

1. Takes note of the report of the ACHPR on its fact-finding mission to Burundi undertaken from 7 to 13 December 2015, pursuant to paragraph 12 (iv) of communiqué PSC/PR/ COMM.(DLVII), adopted at its 551st meeting held on 17 October 2015, in which Council agreed on the launching of an in-depth investigation on the violations of human rights and other abuses against civilian populations in Burundi, for the purposes of enabling Council to take additional measures. In this regard, Council requested the ACHPR to urgently take the required steps to carry out this investigation and to submit to it a report within a maximum period of forty five (45) days. Council also takes note of the presentation of the Report by the Representative of the ACHPR and the statement made by the Representative of Burundi;

2. Recalls its previous communiqués and press statements on the situation in Burundi, in particular the Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.2(DXV) adopted at its 515th meeting held on 13 June 2015, Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DXXIII) adopted at its 523rd meeting held on 9 July 2015, Communiqué PSC/BR/PR.(DXXXI) adopted at its 531st meeting held on 6 August 2015, the Communiqué on the situation in Burundi adopted at its 551st meeting held on 17 October 2015, Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLVII) adopted at its 557th meeting held on 13 November 2015, Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLXV) adopted at its 565th meeting held on 17 December 2015, Communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.3(DLXXI) adopted at its 571st meeting held on 29 January 2016, by the Heads of State and Government, and Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLXXXI) adopted at its 581st meeting held on 9 March 2016;

3. Reaffirms that the August 2000 Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation and the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi remain the foundation and cornerstone of peace, security and stability in Burundi;

4. Underscores the imperative of a consensual approach among the Burundian stakeholders, if ever there would be need to address issues of contention relating to the Constitution of Burundi and the Arusha Agreement;

5. Reiterates its deep concern about the persistent instability in Burundi, characterized by continued assassinations of military officers and civilians. Council reiterates the AU’s strong condemnation of all acts of violence, irrespective of the perpetrators, and human rights violations, as documented in the Report submitted by the ACHPR. However, Council notes that most of the contents of the Report have been overtaken by many national, regional, continental and international efforts aimed at the promotion of peace, security and stability in Burundi;

6. Notes the recommendations in the report of the ACHPR’s fact-finding mission to Burundi and requests the African Union Commission to regularly update Council on the evolution of the situation in the country, to enable Council to take appropriate decisions;

7. Calls for the urgent resumption of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue and stresses the need for the East African Community (EAC) mediation to take into account the recommendations in the ACHPR’s Report within the context of the Dialogue. Council urges the Government of Burundi and all the concerned stakeholders to lend their full support to EAC Mediation;

8. Underscores the need for the full deployment of the AU human rights observers, military experts and police officers in line with the relevant decisions of Council, to monitor and report on the human rights and security situation in Burundi;

9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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

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The 595th meeting of the AUPSC on the situation in Somalia and the African UnionMission in Somalia (AMISOM)

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 595th meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 28 April 2016, adopted the following decision on the situation in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM):

Council,

1. Takes note of the briefing provided by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, on the situation in Somalia. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, and by Ethiopia in its capacity as the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as by that of the United Nations;

2. Welcomes the progress being made by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) towards the realization of Vision 2016 and encourages the FGS to intensify efforts aimed at resolving the outstanding issues relating to the electoral model. In this regard, Council further encourages the Somali stakeholders to forge ahead towards the parliamentary and presidential elections in an inclusive manner. Accordingly, Council commends the Somali leadership for reserving 30% of the seats in Parliament for women, thus enhancing the involvement of women in decision-making in furtherance of peace in the country;

3. Reaffirms AU’s full support to the FGS and reiterates its commitment to continue assisting the FGS in its preparation for elections. Council therefore urges the AU Commission to deploy an electoral observation mission, in order to ensure follow-up and organisation of free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Somalia by August 2016;

4. Pays tribute to all the AMISOM personnel, as well as to the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), namely Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, for their continued commitment and the sacrifices made thus far. Council re-affirms its resolve to continue supporting AMISOM uniform and civilian personnel to uphold the highest standard of conduct and discipline in the discharge of their mandate and stresses that, in cases of actual or alleged violations, appropriate measures shall be taken in line with the AU Zero Tolerance Policy against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and other forms of misconduct;

5. Welcomes the gains made in the consolidation and expansion operations across Somalia through joint operations conducted by AMISOM and Somalia National Army (SNA), and notes with concern that Al Shaabab still retains the capability to conduct asymmetrical operations in Somalia, and continue to be a threat to peace, security and stability in the region. In this respect, Council reiterates its call for the provision and deployment of force enablers and multipliers to bolster AMISOM’s capacity to contain Al Shabaab and ensure effective security for the forthcoming elections;

6. Recalls the declaration adopted by the AMISOM T/PCCs Summit held in February 2016, in Djibouti, with regard to enhancing AMISOM operations;

7. Further recalls the pledges made by Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to deploy air assets for AMISOM operations, and notes with satisfaction the progress made in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Kenya in the deployment of the air assets. In this respect, Council requests the Commission to expedite consultations with Uganda concerning the latter’s pledged air assets. Council also expresses concern about the delay in processing the Letters of Assist (LOAs) required to pave way for the acquisition and deployment of the earmarked air assets for AMISOM operations. Council requests the UN Office Support for AMISOM (UNSOA) to expedite the conclusion of negotiations for the LOAs with the Commission and Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda;

8. Reiterates the primary responsibility of the Somalia National Security Force (SNSF) for eventually taking over security functions in Somalia. In this respect, Council appreciates the ongoing joint operations between AMISOM and SNA, and the training of the SNA by the various actors, all aimed at building the capacity of SNA. Council, however, calls for coordination of these efforts with the leadership of the Commission;

9. Supports the call for multi-sectoral approach in supporting the Somali electoral process and calls for better coordination, as well as more international financial and technical support towards the process;

10. Decides to renew the mandate of AMISOM until 30 May 2017, bearing in mind paragraph 27 of communiqué (PSC/PR/COMM.1(DLXII)) adopted at its 562nd meeting held on 10 December 2015, as well as the decision of the UN Security Council, as contained in paragraph 3 of resolution 2232(2015) of 28 July 2015, to authorize the Member States of the AU to maintain the deployment of AMISOM until 30 May 2016, for a maximum level of 22,126 uniformed personnel, and as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM. In this respect, Council directs the Commission to take all necessary measures for the enhancement of AMISOM’s operational effectiveness, including through the review of the Mission’s Concept of Operations, to better align it with the security environment, as well as with the necessity for renewed offensive operations against Al Shabaab in Somalia;

11. Regrets once again the decision by the European Union (EU) to cut the AMISOM Troop allowances by 20%. In this respect, Council appeals to the EU to reconsider this decision, taking into account the critical phase in AMISOM operations, within the context of the upcoming elections in Somalia;

12. Looks forward to the holding of the next meeting of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) planned for 9 May 2016 in Addis Ababa, in order to resolve all outstanding operational issues, including Command and Control, as well as the appointment of the AMISOM Force Commander;

13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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

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U.S. Embassy Health Fair collects 53 units for National Blood Bank

The U.S. Embassy hosted its 8th Annual Health Fair for employees and their families on May 5 under the theme “Good Health Adds Life to Years.” The Embassy’s health unit welcomed health care providers from hospitals and clinics to the premises to offer screenings and health education. More than 360 employees and their spouses took advantage of services to prevent and diagnose health concerns such as hypertension, cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as eye and dental exams.

As part of the Fair, employees were also given the opportunity to donate blood to the National Blood Bank. Fifty-three life-saving units were collected over the course of the day.

“The U.S. Embassy is directly and indirectly responsible for the health and well-being of more than 1,000 employees and their families,” said the Embassy’s regional medical officer, Dr. Kelly Briden. “As an embassy, we’re working closely with the government of Ghana to improve health services and systems across the country. We’re just as committed to ensuring the health of our own staff. We all want to live long lives; attending to our medical needs helps to ensure long, healthy and productive lives.”

Participating health care providers included:

Lister Hospital
Nyaho Medical Center
Robert and Sons Optical
National Blood Bank
Korle Bu – CTU
Pfizer Global Pharmaceutical
C&J Medicare Hospital
Health Link
Reach for Recovery
The Brain Clinic Ltd
Akai House Clinic
Amasha Partners
Charisma Dental
Holy Trinity Medical Center/ Spa
MDS Lancet Lab.
PLWHA

The U.S. Embassy Health Fair is organized annually to promote good health, offer health education, screen for disease, and offer preventive measures for diseases affecting the population.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.

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The 594th meeting of the AUPSC on the situation in Darfur and activities of UNAMID, as well as on Sudan and Ethiopia –

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 594th meeting, held on 27 April 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, received a briefing from Dr. Martin Ihoegian Uhomoibhi, the Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator (JSR/JCM) and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on the situation in Darfur and activities of UNAMID, as well as the statements made by the representatives of The Sudan and Ethiopia, in its capacity as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Council expressed its appreciation for the improved cooperation between the UNAMID leadership and the Government of Sudan, and further commended UNAMID for working hard to help address the situation in Darfur in a very challenging environment.

Council commended Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) of UNAMID for the efforts towards the peace and stability in Darfur. Council reiterated its strong condemnation of all hostile actions and attacks against UNAMID personnel and assets, as well as against humanitarian organizations and their staff, and urged the Government of Sudan to do all that is necessary to arrest and bring to book the perpetrators of such criminal acts and for the establishment of a dedicated Commission of Inquiry.

Council commended the commitment displayed by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan and South Sudan towards addressing the multiple challenges facing Sudan, including in the Darfur region. Council recalled the statement by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, of 23 March 2016, which welcomed the signing of the Roadmap Agreement by the Government of Sudan. Council also welcomed the Agreement and commended the Government of Sudan for signing it. Council strongly urged all the Sudan opposition parties, as well as armed movements, to sign the Agreement in order to give impetus to the search for a lasting and peaceful solution to the Sudan problems, including Darfur.

In view of the continued validity of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), Council reaffirmed the utility of the Document and urged for its continued implementation. In this regard, Council welcomed the holding of the referendum in Darfur, which was observed by the AU and the League of Arab States, from 11 to 13 April 2016, to determine the administrative status of the region and its results announced by the Referendum Commission on April 24, 2016.

Council reiterated deep concern on the prevailing humanitarian situation in Darfur over restrictions of movement and denials of access and clearances that continue to be imposed on UNAMID and humanitarian actors, thus hindering their capacity to undertake critical missions, including to areas of active fighting or inter-communal violence. In this regard, Council appealed to the Government of Sudan and other stakeholders to undertake all necessary efforts to address the situation by providing access and support to UNAMID and the humanitarian agencies in the interest of protecting civilians, especially the most vulnerable, including the internally displaced persons.

Recalling its previous communiqués, particularly PSC/PR/COMM.(DXVI) and PSC/PR/COMM.1(DXXIX) held on 22 June 2015 and 31 July 2015, respectively, with regard to the ongoing discussions on the exit strategy of the UNAMID, Council welcomed the resumption of the meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) comprising the AU, the UN and the Government of Sudan, on 18 April 2016 and further encouraged the JWG to elaborate an exit strategy based on the PSC and UN Security Council benchmarks pursuant to Council’s communiqué of 22 June 2015 and UNSC resolution 2228 (2015).

Council expressed deep concern over the proliferation of illegal arms in Darfur and the presence of various criminal and militia groups. Council welcomed the ongoing efforts of the Government of Sudan to collect illegally held weapons in Darfur and called on Sudanese stakeholders to fully cooperate and support this exercise. Council further called on the international partners to also support this disarmament process.

Council, once again, emphasized its call to the parties to the Darfur conflict that the pursuit of political objectives through military means can only prolong the suffering of the people of Darfur and, therefore, underscored the imperative of a political solution as the only viable and sustainable option for all parties.

Council agreed to continue reviewing the situation in Darfur and UNAMID activities pursuant to Council’s communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DXVI) of 22 June 2015.

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

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The 593rd meeting of the AUPSC on the Commission’s efforts on post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) in Africa

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 593rd meeting, held on 26 April 2016, adopted the following decision on the Commission’s efforts on post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) in Africa:

1. Takes note of the Second Progress Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the African Union’s Efforts on Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa submitted to Council pursuant Assembly Decision [Assembly/AU/Dec.408 (XVIII)], adopted at its 18th Ordinary Session held in Addis Ababa, on 30 and 31January 2012, which stressed the need for renewed efforts towards PCRD in order to consolidate peace wherever it has been achieved on the continent. Council also takes note of the statement made by the Commission and by the representative of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA);

2. Recalls all its previous decisions on PCRD, in particular communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM(CCCLII)] adopted at its 352nd meeting held on 13 January 2013 and Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR(DXXVIII)], adopted at its 528th meeting held on 30 July 2015;

3. Commends the Commission for the PCRD efforts it continues to deploy in support of Member States emerging from violent conflicts and crises with a view to preventing relapses, as well as promoting recovery and building resilience;

4. Stresses the importance of reactivating the PSC Sub-Committee on PCRD, with a view to providing the necessary political leadership and oversight on the implementation of PCRD activities throughout the continent. In this context, Council emphasizes the need to develop formal linkages between the PSC Sub-Committee on PCRD and the UN Peace Building Commission, to enhance coordination and synergy between African and UN-led PCRD efforts;

5. Reiterates the need for the Commission to scale up its engagement with the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs) with a view to developing appropriate PCRD programmes and implementation mechanisms, as well as supporting post-conflict Member States in establishing their own appropriate national follow-up mechanisms;

6. Emphasizes the importance of addressing all PCRD issues in a holistic manner, including those relating to trauma and other psycho-social needs of victims of violent conflicts particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups;

7. Notes with concern the resource constraints being faced by the Commission in discharging its mandate in the area of PCRD. In this regard, Council underscores the need for a percentage of the AU Peace Fund to be dedicated to support PCRD activities on the continent and reaffirms the need to mobilize additional resources, from within the continent, in support of the African Solidarity Initiative (ASI);

8. Notes with deep concern that the pledges made during the ASI Pledging Conference, held in Addis Ababa, on 1 February 2014, have not yet been honoured. In this respect, Council urges the Commission to take necessary follow-up steps with a view to ensuring that the pledges are redeemed;

9. Requests the Commission to ensure that it addresses PCRD issues in a holistic manner in order to achieve sustainable solutions to challenges faced by post-conflict communities. In this context, Council looks forward to the operationalization within the Commission of an Interdepartmental Task Force on PCRD;

10. Also looks forward to the outcome of the ongoing bi-lateral consultations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Uganda regarding the establishment of the AU PCRD Centre;

11. Reiterates its request to the Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the AU PCRD architecture and submit a report to Council in October 2016, including on steps taken by the Commission in implementing Council’s decisions on PCRD;

12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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

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Handing Over Ceremony Oasis Logistics Youth Group US$ 119,811 16th May 2016 (approx. Kshs 11 Million) Nandi county

The Government of Japan has been providing funds to local non-profit organizations through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) since 1989. Official handing over of the following project funded by GGP will be held on 16th May, 2016.

Project :

The Project for the Improvement of Educational Environment

for Primary Schools within the Tea Farm Areas of Nandi County

Grantee:

Oasis Logistics Youth Group

Grant Amount:

US$ 119,811  (approx. Kshs 11 Million)

Event:

Handing Over Ceremony

Date:

16th May, 2016

Time:

10:00am-10:45am :Kipsiorori Primary School

11:00am-14:00pm :Kapchemosin Primary School

Venue:

Project Site : Kipsiorori and Kapchemosin Primary School

Kapcheno and Kipsiorori Villages, Kamarichi Division,

Nandi South District, Nandi County

Key Personalities:

H.E. Dr. Cleophas Kiprop LAGAT- Governor of Nandi County

Mr. Mikio MORI – Charge d’ Affaires ad interim of Japanese Embassy

in the Republic of Kenya

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of Japan in Kenya.

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Source:: Handing Over Ceremony Oasis Logistics Youth Group US$ 119,811 16th May 2016 (approx. Kshs 11 Million) Nandi county

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New Ethiopian Ambassador to Seychelles accredited

The new ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Seychelles, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Dina Mufti Sid presented his credentials to President James Michel, at State House this morning.

The President congratulated Ambassador Sid on his accreditation and they discussed a wide range of issues with a view to strengthen relations between the two countries, including the fight against piracy, peace and security in the Horn of Africa, as well as trade and tourism.

Ambassador Dina Mufti Sid said that there is great potential to develop tourism and trade between Ethiopia and Seychelles.

“There is a very good relationship between our two countries, but we have to step it up…. We will be looking at expanding the cooperation in the areas of trade and investment” he said.

Ambassador Dina Mufti Sid is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Seychelles and Ethiopia established diplomatic relations on 14th April 1982.

Also, present during the meeting were the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan and the President’s Diplomatic Adviser, Ambassador Callixte d’Offay.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with civil society organizations in Madagascar

The Secretary-General met yesterday with representatives of several Malagasy civil society organizations active in various areas, including human rights, youth and women empowerment.

The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of the partnership between the United Nations and civil society organizations, noting that they were the voice of the people.

The Secretary-General expressed concern over the human rights situation in Madagascar and encouraged the Malagasy civil society organizations to continue its advocacy for the establishment the High Court of Justice and the operationalization of the National Human Rights Commission.

The Secretary-General also encouraged the organizations to work toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He reiterated his full support to Malagasy civil society organizations and expressed his appreciation for their work.

Antananarivo, 11 May 2016

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

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The IMF Regional Technical Assistance Center for West Africa Holds its Steering Committee Meeting

The IMF Regional Technical Assistance Center for West Africa (AFRITAC West) held the 26th session of its Steering Committee in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, on May 4-5, 2016. During the meetings, the Committee endorsed the Center’s activities and financial reports for the fiscal year that ended in April 2016, adopted the program and the budget for the coming fiscal year, and endorsed the Strategy Note for the Center’s next 5-year cycle that will begin in May 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives of nine member countries, the Central Bank of West African States, observers (Pole de Dakar, AFRISTAT, the Commission of West African States), development partners’ representatives (European Union, France, Canada, African Development Bank, Switzerland, German Cooperation, and the European Investment Bank), and IMF staff.

In their opening addresses, Mr. Doumbia Vakaramoko, Advisor to the Minister in charge of Economy and Finance of Côte d’Ivoire, representing the Minister; and Mr. Moumounou Gnankambary, Advisor to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Development of Burkina Faso, lauded the Center’s efforts to build institutional and human capacity and expressed satisfaction with the implementation of reforms supported by the Center.

The Steering Committee noted that good results were achieved during the last fiscal year. The Committee was pleased with the Center’s quality of work and the efficiency of its activities, including technical assistance activities off-site (in Abidjan) when missions had to be suspended for exogenous reasons (e.g. security concerns). The Committee welcomed the increase in training activities which is an important component of capacity development for the region. It expressed satisfaction with the planned increase in activities in the coming fiscal year and urged country representatives to enhance the monitoring of progress in the implementation of technical assistance recommendations. The Committee also called on the Center to continue involving these representatives in all activities and interactions with member countries, and approved the provision of technical assistance to the Regional Counsel for Public Savings and Financial Markets. Finally, the Committee encouraged the Center to continue coordinating activities with other TA providers to enhance synergies in capacity development efforts.

The Committee approved the priorities set for the Center’s activities in the next phase (2017-22) and agreed with the steps outlined for the preparation of the corresponding program document. It was noted that the Committee will be consulted throughout this process.

The Steering Committee thanked Côte d’Ivoire authorities for their warm welcome and for the logistical arrangements made for country representatives during their stay.

It was decided that the next meeting of the Steering Committee would take place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in March 2017.

Background

AFRITAC West (AFW) is one of the five IMF regional technical assistance Centers is Sub-Saharan Africa. The AFRITAC initiative started in 2002 at the request of African policymakers who were meeting as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). They had turned to the IMF for assistance in strengthening their governments’ institutional and human capacity to develop and implement economic policies supportive of economic growth and poverty reduction. AFRITAC West was set up in 2003. It was relocated temporarily to Bamako, Mali in light of the political situation in Côte d’Ivoire. Once the Ivoirian political situation normalized, AFW returned to Abidjan in 2012, two years before the target date, due to the deterioration of the political situation in Mali.

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

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UNAMID condemns attacks in Sortony, calls for maximum restraint

The AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) condemns yesterday’s attack on a part of the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) Gathering Site in Sortony, North Darfur, where unidentified armed men on gun-mounted vehicles opened fire, killing two children and wounding several others, including a UNAMID peacekeeper. On account of their robust response, the Mission’s peacekeepers apprehended two of the alleged perpetrators of the attack and are in the process of handing them over to Government of Sudan authorities in Kabkabiya.

Earlier, on the same day, a shootout had occurred in the market area, some 300 meters from the Gathering Site, where three persons were killed and four injured. The wounded are receiving treatment at the UNAMID clinic in Sortony.

The Mission is currently verifying the exact number of those affected by these two incidents.

Tensions in Sortony have been escalating since 2 May when nomadic herders accused members of the displaced community of stealing their livestock and demanded the return of their cattle. Subsequently, they established an intermittent blockade on the Kabkabiya-Sortony road, an essential route for the provision of water and humanitarian aid.

Furthermore, on 7 May, a group of unidentified men aboard a gun-mounted vehicle moving toward the area inhabited by IDPs near the Mission’s team site withdrew upon being stopped and questioned by UNAMID troops on patrol.

UNAMID calls on all parties to the conflict in Sortony to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from further acts of violence and resolve their issues through dialogue and mediation. The Mission continues to reinforce its daily patrols to strengthen its protection of civilians mandate to its fullest capacity and stands ready to assist the state authorities in all efforts to restore normalcy.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

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Sage Foundation supports Kenya’s Compassionate Hands for the Disabled

Sage Foundation (http://www.Sage.com/company/sage_foundation) has partnered with Compassionate Hands for the Disabled (http://www.chdfKenya.org), a Kenyan non-profit organisation that looks after more than 80 special needs children from the impoverished Korogocho district in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sage volunteers (http://www.Sage.com/za) are helping to refurbish the organisation’s community hospital — a process that involves painting and redecorating, and providing much needed equipment such as lockable cupboards and medical waste bins. The South African Woman’s Association in Kenya (https://www.facebook.com/sawakenya) will help manage the relationship between Sage and Compassionate Hands.

Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, launched its global Foundation to transform lives by investing time, money, expertise and technology in local communities around the world,

This is achieved through the unique 2+2+2 model. This approach means that Sage is committed to giving 2% of employee time (5 days paid volunteering per year), 2% of free cash flow and 2 donated software licences to eligible registered charities, social enterprises and non-profit organisations.

Compassionate Hands for the Disabled was founded in 2008 and today looks after kids with special needs that range from mental to physical disabilities. The children were all abandoned by their families and depend on the centre for food, shelter and medication. The NPO also seeks to create community awareness on issues affecting people with disabilities.

Anne Njeri founded Compassionate Hands to give something back to her community. She is a disabled person born into a disadvantaged home who benefitted from a compassionate hand up early in her life. She has dedicated her adult life to helping children who come from a similar background.

Ivan Epstein (https://twitter.com/IvanEpstein), President for Sage International and Chairman of Sage Foundation, said: “We are active in supporting our local communities — not only financially but through the participation of colleagues who are empowered to give to the causes that matter to them. We believe in a socially-responsible world and in playing a positive role in societies. Compassionate Hands for the Disabled is a great organisation that is making a big difference for so many children, and we are proud to support it.”

“Compassionate Hands helps children who have no-one else to turn to in a country where disability carries a stigma in many people’s eyes. From Anne’s story, we see that one person can make a massive difference; from her example, we are inspired to help change as many lives as we can with the Foundation’s resources.”

“We are proud to work with Sage Foundation and its volunteers on this initiative, which will help us deliver better medical care to our children and even to other members of the community,” added Anne Njeri, Founder at Compassionate Hands for the Disabled. “The help of partners like Sage Foundation is essential for our organisation as we strive to help disabled people to overcome their physical limitations and empower them economically and socially.”

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

Sage Press contacts:

Idea Engineers: PR agency for Sage
Del-Mari Roberts
Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)72 5958 053
delmari@ideaengineers.co.za

Sage Foundation Manager, Africa
Joanne van der Walt
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 086 0073
Joanne.VanDerWalt@sage.com

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Source:: Sage Foundation supports Kenya’s Compassionate Hands for the Disabled

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