France Backs IOM Psychosocial Support for Internally Displaced in North East Nigeria

The French Embassy in Nigeria and IOM Nigeria have signed an agreement for a nine-month project aimed at providing psychosocial support to conflict-affected people in the North East of the country. The project will target the two states most affected by displacement – Adamawa and Borno.
The project is designed to strengthen existing IOM psychosocial response and assistance to people affected by the humanitarian crisis that has developed in Nigeria due to the Boko Haram insurgency, especially the North East.

It also is aimed at preventing sexual and gender-based violence through the development of practices that promote gender equality, respect and tolerance of gender diversity in displacement camps and host communities.
IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic thanked France for its contribution, but highlighted the huge humanitarian challenge in the North East. Appealing for more resources, she noted that in addition to psychosocial assistance, IOM also needs to provide shelter and non-food relief items.

The psychosocial support project will target at least 25 State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) / National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) camp managers, and 10,200 internally displaced people (IDPs) living in camps and host communities (6,000 women, 3,000 children, 1,000 men). It will build on earlier 2015 psychosocial projects funded by OFDA, France, Germany and UN CERF.

Earlier this week at World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, the Lake Chad region was described by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Stephen O’Brien as: “The most underreported, most underfunded and least addressed of the big crises we face.” ICRC Director General Yves Daccord noted that that: “The gap between the humanitarian response and what (it) should be in the region– is possibly the biggest gap we have right now.”
IOM has nine offices and sub-offices in the region: Nigeria (Abuja, Maiduguri, Yola and Bauchi), Niger (Diffa and Zinder), Cameroon (Maroua), and Chad (Ndjamena, and Baga Sola), with a total of 295 staff.

It is co-lead of the Emergency Shelter, Non Food Item and Camp Coordination Camp Management Cluster/Working Groups in Nigeria, Niger, and Chad, and, in close coordination with national governments, tracks displacement through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
Funding from USAID/OFDA/PRM, ECHO, UN CERF, the European Union, Italy, France and Japan has helped IOM to assist over 460,000 people in the region since the beginning of the crisis in 2014. But IOM’s 2016 humanitarian programmes in the Lake Chad region now face a USD 25 million funding gap.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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UNMAS Media Advisory: Team of Explosive Detection Dogs arrives in South Sudan

The presence of explosive detection dogs (EDD) will be increased throughout the country and today, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) South Sudan will receive 37 new EDDs. These dogs are valuable team members who work hard to protect vulnerable populations in South Sudan. The EDD regularly support United Nations Police (UNPOL) to conduct searches of protection of civilians sites, cargo and entry points, to detect prohibited or hazardous items, all of which are swiftly removed by UNPOL so that internally displaced people (IDP), and others under UNMISS protection, remain safe from harm. Currently UNMAS has six EDD teams which focus on entry point control and cargo searches in Juba. In 2015, 19,781 vehicles, 13,587 bags and 970 buildings were searched using these teams.

Upon arrival, the dogs will be transferred to temporary kennels in Gumbo, Juba, where they will be acclimatized and paired with their future handlers. Once the dogs are settled they will be paired with expert handlers who will complete additional training with the dogs, which is tailored specifically to South Sudan. While some of the dogs will remain in Juba, to work at the UN Thom Ping Base, UN House the POC sites and the UN airport, many will be transferred to Bentiu, Bor and Malakal.

It should be emphasized that the dogs are working animals and they have been specially trained to perform the roles they will undertake. They are safe and friendly animals and they have all be screened for illness and disease and provided with necessary vaccinations. The welfare of the dogs is of prime importance to UNMAS, as is the safety of the communities within which they will be working.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

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Dar es Salaam to host first Africa-PPB-EXPO Tanzania 2016

The first plastic, rubber, petrochemical and building materials exhibition is scheduled to take place at the Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam from 27-29 May this year. The event, dubbed, Africa-PPB-EXPO Tanzania 2016 (www.Africa-PPBexpo.com), will feature exhibitors and visitors from all over East and Central Africa as well as B2B meetings and matchmaking opportunities.

Speaking during a press conference in Dar es Salaam today, the General Manager of EXPO ONE, the company that’s organizing the EXPO, Ahmed Barakat said that ‘Africa-PPB-EXPO will be an exceptional platform to showcase latest products and give transparency to unexplored markets’.

Africa-PPB-EXPO is an Egyptian international exhibition for plastic, rubber, petrochemicals and building.

“The exhibition has been created to promote African unity through strengthening trade relations between Egypt and Tanzania as well as putting both markets on the map”, said Barakat and noted that Tanzania is the first of the series of African nations Africa-PBB-EXPO plans to cooperate with.

Aramex Africa is the official logistical partner with Africa-PBB-EXPO and will be playing a major role in providing logistics and transportation services from Egypt to Tanzania.

Through Aramex and in coordination with TanTrade and Tanzania Private Public Sector Foundation (TPSF), Africa-PBB-EXPO offers an exclusive edge to its exhibitors with a detailed database delivered once registered. The database includes all product placements within the Tanzanian market and their value with accurate import and export figures. This gives a sharper opportunity for strategic B2B meetings and successful matchmaking upon arrival.

The EXPO ONE GM called on businesses and traders to participate in the EXPO and ‘explore partnership opportunities in virgin markets and network with potential clients and peers’.

“By participating in the Africa-PPB-EXPO, the participants will among other things learn how core industry themes can affect their businesses; position their entities among the industry leaders, find new partners and benchmark their approaches towards innovation”, added Barakat.

EXPO One, the organizing company, is a medium-sized exhibition and conference management firm that focuses on organizing and providing services for international trade fairs as well as promoting Egyptian pavilions in local and international exhibitions.

Other organizers include Aramex and Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council, Egyptian plastic Exporters and Manufacturers Association (Epema) and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF). Others are Kenya Private Sector Alliance and China Chamber of International trade.

Africa-PPB-EXPO’s next destination is scheduled to be Senegal followed by Angola.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa-PPB-EXPO Tanzania 2016.

For more information:
Please contact: Ahmed Barakat
General Manager, EXPO ONE
Phone no: 02-3852-3385
Email: info@africa-ppbexpo.com
Website: www.Africa-PPBexpo.com

About Africa-PPB-EXPO:
Africa-PBB-EXPO (www.Africa-PPBexpo.com) is a unique platform that showcases the latest products and recent technology in plastic, rubber, petrochemicals and building sectors with a view to facilitate exchange of information and knowledge to existing and prospective customers.
It is the place where decision makers from the industry, technical experts and global processing companies meet their suppliers and do business. It also markets and promotes activities well as providing business-inducing network programs.
The main participants of the EXPO include senior and middle-management executives from corporations and SMEs as wells as exporters, importers and service providers.

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Invitation: International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

Press Invitation

On the occasion of International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations Mission in South Sudan cordially invites you to join the commemoration ceremony.

Monday 30 May 2016 at 9:15 am

UN House

Yei Road, Juba

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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Experts convene to finalize draft five year priority programme on employment, poverty eradication and inclusive development in Africa

The African Union Commission (AUC) has developed a draft Five Year Priority Programme that seeks to unlock employment opportunities, eradicate poverty and stimulate inclusive development in Africa.

The First Five Year Priority Programme on Employment, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development (5YPP), was developed at the request of the 24th African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 2015).

On Tuesday 24 May 2016, technical experts from United Nations Agencies, African Union Commission,Regional Economic Communities (RECs),and Civil Society Organizationscame together to review and finalize the document, in preparation for its domestication by African Union Member States, at a three-day meeting at Dualala Resort in Debrezeit, Ethiopia.

The First Five Year Priority Programme on Employment on Employment, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development (5YPP) is in fact a strategic framework within which objectives of the declaration and Plan of Action on Employment, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development are to be realized. Further, it feeds into the aspirations, goals and priority areas of the African Union’s first ten year implementation plan of Agenda 2063 as well 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Programme implementation is guided by the principle of subsidiarity and the need for its domestication at regional and national levels.

Director of Social Affairs, African Union Commission, Amb Olawale Maiyegun, in a speech read for him by Mr. Machacha Shepande, Head of Sport Division, said the draft 5YPP comes with considerable hope for tapping Africa’s demographic dividend by creating more and better jobs especially for the youth and women.

“We are now close to the time of implementation…the main responsibilities for implementation rest with Member States and RECs. Planning, monitoring, and evaluation roles at national and regional stages play a key role,” said Amb. Maiyegun in his opening statement.

Director for the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office Director for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, Mr George Okutho, pledged support towards achievement of the 5YPP objectives and other African Union policy instruments.

“We look forward to strengthening this relationship both through the Regional Coordination Mechanism and work of the cluster on Labour and Employment”, Mr Okutho said.

The experts were also expected to adopt tools and baseline information to be used by Member States for planning, monitoring and evaluation of the first five year programme.

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

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Historic art event in Addis Ababa promotes dance, helps HIV positive poor children

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

Media release

On the 3rd and 4th June 2016, 11 world class ballet dancers from America, Australia, Italy, Great Britain, South Africa, Cuba and Brazil will grace the stages of City Hall and the Ethiopian National Theatre for the first time in Addis Ababa. The program is being sponsored by the Embassies of the United States and Australia along with Jupiter International hotel, BGI, the South African company Faxfx, East African Bottling and a handful of private sponsors.

The dancers will be arriving in Addis Ababa from the 29 May 2016, they will be going to local schools to introduce this unknown art form to the youth of today. There will be workshops for the local dance companies held by Australian choreographer Tim Podesta.

The performance at City Hall will be free to invited students from local schools and universities and the performance at the National Theatre, on the 4 June 2016, will be a charity performance with all proceeds going to ‘Our Fathers Kitchen ‘. A charity that feeds nearly 200 impoverished children, many who are HIV positive, on a daily basis. For many of the children this is their only meal of the day. The dancers will be spending a morning helping to serve the children their daily meal, a humbling experience for these famous artists.

Introducing the host Angela Malan
Angela Malan was born in South Africa. At the age of 16 she was awarded scholarships to study at the National Ballet School of Canada and Scuola di Danza Firenze, Italy . After completing her scholarships she joined the National Ballet of Canada where she stayed for 5 years. On returning to South Africa she joined PACT Ballet and became 1 of 3 Principal Ballerinas. In 2001, when the South African government stopped all funding to the arts, she along with 6 other dancers founded JoBurg Ballet, formerly known as South African Ballet Theatre. She became the Senior principal ballerina and ballet mistress. Angela, an internationally acclaimed ballerina and teacher, now resides in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and returns quarterly to South Africa to teach and perform as an invited guest. Please contact Angela Malan at +251935998760 or David Kennedy (U.S. Embassy) at +251 93004014 if you would be interested in featuring this story on your media.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Peace and Security in Africa: Challenges in the Sahel Region

Ambassador David Pressman

Alternate Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City

May 26, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Thank you very much, Mr. President. Let me begin by thanking Special Representative Chambas, Executive Secretary Barbut, Executive Director Laborde, and Madam Ibrahim for your briefings today. I’d also like to give a special thanks to Spain and Egypt for drawing this Security Council’s attention to the urgent need to focus on the effects of the changing climate on security in the Sahel region.

Mr. President, some Council members have pushed back on the appropriateness of having this discussion in this forum. Skepticism about the relationship between climate change and security is not new; but skepticism does not make the facts any less serious or urgent. Climate change is not just about whether glaciers remain majestic or polar bears survive. Climate change is an aggravating factor – among other political, socioeconomic, and security considerations – that exacerbates underlying tensions, undermines governance, contributes to resource conflicts, and negatively impacts developments.

As Secretary of State John Kerry said last year, this isn’t about Bambi. This is about people and it’s about poverty. While no conflict is caused solely by climate, to ignore the interplay between security and climate change – and there are few places where that interplay is felt more acutely than the Sahel – is to ignore fundamental realities.

From Mauritania and Mali to the Lake Chad Basin to the Horn of Africa, we see the complex challenges exacerbated by climate change on peace, stability, and security. Unpredictable rainfall, higher temperatures, frequent droughts, and natural disasters in the Sahel have augmented existing destabilizing pressures from terrorism to trafficking, and have exacerbated the problems of population displacement and weak governance. Put simply, climate change is indeed a threat multiplier.

The Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region starkly illustrates the interplay between climate change and security.

According to a recent World Food Program study, “over the past half century, Lake Chad has receded drastically due to various environmental pressures,” which has increased competition and conflict over already scarce resources like arable land and water and degraded “regional food security and quality of life.”

Simultaneously, Boko Haram’s barbaric terrorist campaign, now entering its seventh year, has greatly exacerbated the existing food insecurity faced by the population of the Lake Chad Basin region. The Boko Haram crisis has disrupted farming and trade and cut off communities from the means they require to subsist and to survive. Today, an estimated 4.2 million people are in need of emergency food assistance in the Lake Chad Basin region and 2.6 million are displaced within Nigeria and the neighboring countries. Meanwhile, this humanitarian crisis has been but a blip on the screen of the international community – drawing only sporadic attention and a woefully insufficient response. Indeed, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien this week referred to the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region, where poverty and desertification have been compounded by Boko Haram violence, as the world’s “most neglected, under-reported, underfunded, and least addressed.”

Military, intelligence, and law enforcement tools, which protect human rights norms, are vital to combating terrorism – and, for this, we applaud the important territorial advances by the governments of Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon to roll back some of Boko Haram’s safe havens in the Lake Chad Basin region. However, only a truly comprehensive strategy that mobilizes a broad range of stakeholders, including development and humanitarian actors, can address the conditions conducive to terrorism and the scars left in its wake.

The United States is encouraged that under Nigerian President Buhari’s leadership, last week’s Security Summit of regional leaders committed to carrying out a “sustained, comprehensive approach” against Boko Haram that couples rights-respecting security operations with civilian efforts to restore stability and promote governance and economic development to break the cycle of violence in all countries where Boko Haram is active.

The United Nations system, including the Special Representatives for West Africa and the Sahel and Central Africa, should continue to assist the Lake Chad Basin region to implement such a comprehensive strategy. In addition, the UN needs to mainstream preventing violent extremism and counterterrorism issues throughout its core work on peace and security and sustainable development so that it can help Member States, including in the broader Sahel region, deliver in these crucial areas. We also encourage the UN system and its partners to make further progress toward the effective implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, first endorsed by this Council in 2013, and which should now be re-evaluated and updated so that it can better assist governments in the region to mitigate against compound threats, including climate change.

Let’s be clear: no one is suggesting that Boko Haram was caused by climate change. It most certainly was not.

But the devastation wrought by environmental degradation and challenges like severe drought and the scarcity of resources that come along with it can spark the kind of poverty and political volatility that is the oxygen of discontent and a driver of instability if left unchecked. Recognizing this reality doesn’t require us to be any less relentless in our pursuit of terrorists like Boko Haram or AQIM. We will not be. It just allows us to be more effective in doing so.

As our discussion here today illustrates, the complex and interrelated governance, security, and humanitarian challenges, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, across the Sahel region require urgent and fresh thinking and action. We encourage the leaders of the Sahel to continue to deepen their cooperation, including through the G5-Sahel and the Nouakchott Process, by coming to agreement on a shared vision of the region’s threats and the efforts needed to address them, including improving the sustainable management of natural resources and effective, inclusive governance – governance that both combats terrorism and addresses the conditions conducive to it.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Peace and Security in Africa: Challenges in the Sahel Region

Ambassador David Pressman

Alternate Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City

May 26, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Thank you very much, Mr. President. Let me begin by thanking Special Representative Chambas, Executive Secretary Barbut, Executive Director Laborde, and Madam Ibrahim for your briefings today. I’d also like to give a special thanks to Spain and Egypt for drawing this Security Council’s attention to the urgent need to focus on the effects of the changing climate on security in the Sahel region.

Mr. President, some Council members have pushed back on the appropriateness of having this discussion in this forum. Skepticism about the relationship between climate change and security is not new; but skepticism does not make the facts any less serious or urgent. Climate change is not just about whether glaciers remain majestic or polar bears survive. Climate change is an aggravating factor – among other political, socioeconomic, and security considerations – that exacerbates underlying tensions, undermines governance, contributes to resource conflicts, and negatively impacts developments.

As Secretary of State John Kerry said last year, this isn’t about Bambi. This is about people and it’s about poverty. While no conflict is caused solely by climate, to ignore the interplay between security and climate change – and there are few places where that interplay is felt more acutely than the Sahel – is to ignore fundamental realities.

From Mauritania and Mali to the Lake Chad Basin to the Horn of Africa, we see the complex challenges exacerbated by climate change on peace, stability, and security. Unpredictable rainfall, higher temperatures, frequent droughts, and natural disasters in the Sahel have augmented existing destabilizing pressures from terrorism to trafficking, and have exacerbated the problems of population displacement and weak governance. Put simply, climate change is indeed a threat multiplier.

The Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region starkly illustrates the interplay between climate change and security.

According to a recent World Food Program study, “over the past half century, Lake Chad has receded drastically due to various environmental pressures,” which has increased competition and conflict over already scarce resources like arable land and water and degraded “regional food security and quality of life.”

Simultaneously, Boko Haram’s barbaric terrorist campaign, now entering its seventh year, has greatly exacerbated the existing food insecurity faced by the population of the Lake Chad Basin region. The Boko Haram crisis has disrupted farming and trade and cut off communities from the means they require to subsist and to survive. Today, an estimated 4.2 million people are in need of emergency food assistance in the Lake Chad Basin region and 2.6 million are displaced within Nigeria and the neighboring countries. Meanwhile, this humanitarian crisis has been but a blip on the screen of the international community – drawing only sporadic attention and a woefully insufficient response. Indeed, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien this week referred to the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region, where poverty and desertification have been compounded by Boko Haram violence, as the world’s “most neglected, under-reported, underfunded, and least addressed.”

Military, intelligence, and law enforcement tools, which protect human rights norms, are vital to combating terrorism – and, for this, we applaud the important territorial advances by the governments of Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon to roll back some of Boko Haram’s safe havens in the Lake Chad Basin region. However, only a truly comprehensive strategy that mobilizes a broad range of stakeholders, including development and humanitarian actors, can address the conditions conducive to terrorism and the scars left in its wake.

The United States is encouraged that under Nigerian President Buhari’s leadership, last week’s Security Summit of regional leaders committed to carrying out a “sustained, comprehensive approach” against Boko Haram that couples rights-respecting security operations with civilian efforts to restore stability and promote governance and economic development to break the cycle of violence in all countries where Boko Haram is active.

The United Nations system, including the Special Representatives for West Africa and the Sahel and Central Africa, should continue to assist the Lake Chad Basin region to implement such a comprehensive strategy. In addition, the UN needs to mainstream preventing violent extremism and counterterrorism issues throughout its core work on peace and security and sustainable development so that it can help Member States, including in the broader Sahel region, deliver in these crucial areas. We also encourage the UN system and its partners to make further progress toward the effective implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, first endorsed by this Council in 2013, and which should now be re-evaluated and updated so that it can better assist governments in the region to mitigate against compound threats, including climate change.

Let’s be clear: no one is suggesting that Boko Haram was caused by climate change. It most certainly was not.

But the devastation wrought by environmental degradation and challenges like severe drought and the scarcity of resources that come along with it can spark the kind of poverty and political volatility that is the oxygen of discontent and a driver of instability if left unchecked. Recognizing this reality doesn’t require us to be any less relentless in our pursuit of terrorists like Boko Haram or AQIM. We will not be. It just allows us to be more effective in doing so.

As our discussion here today illustrates, the complex and interrelated governance, security, and humanitarian challenges, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, across the Sahel region require urgent and fresh thinking and action. We encourage the leaders of the Sahel to continue to deepen their cooperation, including through the G5-Sahel and the Nouakchott Process, by coming to agreement on a shared vision of the region’s threats and the efforts needed to address them, including improving the sustainable management of natural resources and effective, inclusive governance – governance that both combats terrorism and addresses the conditions conducive to it.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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IMF Executive Board Completes Second Review Under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) for Senegal

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the second review of Senegal’s economic performance under a program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI)1.

The PSI for Senegal was approved on June 24, 2015 (see Press Release No. 15/297).

Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

“The Policy Support Instrument has buttressed strong macroeconomic performance, with growth increasing from 4.3 percent in 2014 to 6.5 percent in 2015 and 2016. Inflation remains low, and maintaining the 2016 fiscal deficit target of 4.2 percent of GDP will support reaching the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s convergence criteria of 3 percent of GDP one year earlier than the mandated 2019.

“The authorities recognize that raising growth rates to 7 to 8 percent over the 20-year period of the Plan Sénégal Emergentrequires steadfast action to reduce patronage and rent-seeking so as to open economic space to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and foreign direct investment (FDI). Accordingly, they have cancelled Senegal Airlines’ flying rights, closed five public agencies with no formal existence, taken steps to improve the business environment, promoted agricultural development, and reformed university scholarships. The elimination of energy subsidies in the 2016 budget should become the norm as reforms to boost electricity generation and lower costs accelerate. These reforms signal improving economic governance while positively impacting public finances.

“The authorities are also rebalancing public expenditure towards investment in human capital and public infrastructure, accelerating efforts to curtail tax expenditures, and strengthening the efficiency of public expenditure, including by controlling subsidies and the wage bill.

“The authorities are establishing a special economic zone to promote good economic governance where SMEs and FDI could thrive. They are exploring the appropriate governance structure to ensure the required business-friendly regulatory framework and a tax regime that is easy to comply with and has reasonable tax rates as well as limited and rules-based tax expenditures.

“Risks remain to the planned fiscal consolidation, together with external risks of slow growth in partner countries, continued volatility in oil prices, and potential spillovers from regional shocks. These risks are mitigated with a planned strengthening of fiscal anchors and expansion of the precautionary reserve envelope.”

1 The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that may not need, or want, IMF financial assistance, but still seek IMF advice, monitoring and endorsement of their policies. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (seehttp://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm).

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

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The PSCF Guarantors welcome resumption of operations against FDLR, encourage strengthening of FARDC-MONUSCO cooperation and urge ex-FDLR to accept to repatriate to Rwanda without preconditions

The representatives of the Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework comprising of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), travelled to Kanyabayonga and Nyamilima on 25 May 2016, in eastern DRC. In Kanyabayonga camp, about 314 FDLR ex-combatants and their dependents are awaiting repatriation in a MONUSCO DDRRR camp.

The visit afforded the representatives of the Guarantors to reiterate to the FDLR members, who voluntarily disarmed in December 2014, and have since then refused to go back to Rwanda, to cooperate fully in the repatriation process to Rwanda. From Kanyabayonga, the representatives of the Guarantors called on all other FDLR combatants still active in the eastern DRC to voluntarily surrender and submit to the repatriation process without preconditions.

About 202 other ex-FDLR and their dependents have disarmed and are currently in Walungu camp, South Kivu, and around 806 in another camp in Kisangani. “We assure all FDLR of the international community’s commitment to support their safe and dignified repatriation process back to Rwanda”, the Guarantors stressed.

On 26 May, representatives of the Guarantors visited the Munigi Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reinsertion and Resettlement (DDRRR) camp outside Goma where they met demobilized FDLR ex- combatants awaiting repatriation to Rwanda. They used the occasion to commend the ex-combatants for their wise decision and urged them to sensitize their peers still in the bush to accept to repatriate to Rwanda.

Prior to the visit to Munigi, the representatives of the Guarantors visited the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) in Goma where they were briefed on the Mechanism’s activities, including operational challenges and constraints.

The Guarantors seized the opportunity to welcome the resumption of military operations against FDLR launched on 24 May by the Armed Forces of the DRC with the support of MONUSCO. They urged FARDC and MONUSCO to further strengthen their cooperation against FDLR in the context of Operation SUKOLA II

The Guarantors of the PSC Framework are composed of the United Nations represented by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, and the Deputy Special Representative of MONUSCO David Gressly; the AU represented by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for the Great Lakes Region and Head of AU Liaison Office in Burundi, Prof. Ibrahima Fall; the ICGLR represented by its Executive Secretary General Prof Ntumba Luaba Alphonse; and the SADC represented by Mr. Alfredo Nuvunga, Deputy Director, Directorate for Regional and Continental Integration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region (OSESG-GL).

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Mr. Ibn Chambas concludes his visit to Niger, “Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to continue to support Niger and Sahel countries”

As part of his tour in the Sahel region, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ended his two-day visit to Niger.

The objective of this first leg of his visit to the G5 Sahel countries was to exchange views with the authorities of Niger on the situation in the Sahel region and to inform about the role of the new United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), established following the merger of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations for the Sahel (OSES).

During his visit, Mr. Ibn Chambas met with the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; the Minister of Defense Mr. Massoudou Hassoumi; the Ministre Déléguée to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. El back Adam Zeinabou and the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seydou Sidibé. Mr. Ibn Chambas also met with representatives of the diplomatic corps and officials of the United Nations system.

Mr. Ibn Chambas reiterated the unwavering commitment of the United Nations, especially that of UNOWAS to continue its support to Niger and the countries of the region.

“Our commitment is even stronger today. UNOWAS is committed to provide the necessary support to Niger and the countries of the Sahel region, “said Mr. Ibn Chambas.

Mr. Ibn Chambas also stressed the importance of coordination between the countries of the Sahel region to better cope with the challenges that the region is experiencing.

In this regard, he stressed the importance of maintaining the commitment of everyone to continue to implement effectively, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

For his part, the President of Niger expressed appreciation for the support provided by the United Nations, particularly in the last Presidential elections. He said that Niger as a member of G5 Sahel will continue to play an important role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

Mr. Ibn Chambas will travel tomorrow to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

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General Electric leads the creation of a joint venture with Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital to benefit African infrastructure

General Electric (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) together with the Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital are leading an initiative to create a joint venture dedicated to investing in the highly underdeveloped African infrastructure sector. The joint venture will seek to invest in infrastructure equity projects in selected countries throughout Africa.

With the African population set to rise to 1.5bn by 2025(1), the continent’s economic growth potential is significant. According to the Africa 2030 report, the overall sense is one of progress and optimism and that changes are sustainable, making Africa an attractive socio-economic focus in the coming years. Africa presents high growth prospects in power generation, transport, oil & gas and other infrastructure areas including mining. The joint venture will focus on this broad set of segments by facilitating access to capital, thus offering the ability to execute and fully finance both advanced and early development stage projects.

The hurdles to address are rapid urbanisation, and a growing middle class devoid of infrastructure. More than 50% of our African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the DRC, don’t have access to electricity(2) and an infrastructure investment of US$360bn in power production, power transmission, water storage, modern railways, port capacity and modern highways will be required until 2040(3). Furthermore, Africa needs to spend $90bn a year for the next decade in order to upgrade and maintain its existing infrastructure alone(4).

Jay Ireland, President and CEO GE Africa, comments: “This joint venture unifies three businesses with a strong commitment and expertise in infrastructure in Africa. The joint venture is our response to an integrated infrastructure approach in Africa. We are proud to partner with the expertise and talent of Atlas Merchant Capital and Mara Group, who have an extensive footprint in Africa, to address the necessities of the African continent. We have been significantly involved in social enterprises to date and will seek to further enhance and promote social and community development in the region to complement their expertise, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Ashish J Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group, adds: “Africa is a continent of 54 countries, but there is very low connectivity between them. Intra-African trade, a key driver for economic growth, represents only a fraction of Africa’s total trade over the past decade and this is largely due to a growing shortfall in infrastructure development. Through our joint venture with GE and Atlas Merchant Capital, we hope to tackle the funding deficit by creating a platform that has the power to truly change the lives of those living on the continent.”

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank, said: “We are delighted to see this partnership between three world-class players who, together, can have a real impact on infrastructure development in Africa.

“We all know painfully well the imperative to fill Africa’s annual $50 billion infrastructure funding gap. Partnerships like these are a crucial part of the development agenda as we seek to promote social and economic development and fight poverty in Africa.”

The joint venture is well placed to act as a leading shareholder alongside sponsors of infrastructure projects and will use its relationships with lending banks and connectivity to power Africa and related institutions to meet the debt component of its funding.

(1) United Nations’ World Population Prospects 2015
(2) Africa Energy Outlook 2014
(3) Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)
(4) Africa’s Attractiveness Survey (EY)

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

PRESS CONTACT:

GE:
Thulisile Phiri
Head of Communications & Public Affairs – Southern Africa
T: +27 11 237 0019
M: +27 79 885 0530
E: Thulisile.phiri@ge.com

Mara Group:
Carys Comerford-Green
Chief of Staff
M: +971 50 788 1924
E: carysc@mara.com

Atlas Merchant Capital:
Patrick Durkin
Managing Director – External Relations
T: +1 212 883 4250
M: +1 917 513 7125
E: pdurkin@atlasmerchantcapital.com

About GE:
GE (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organised around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.GE.com

About Mara Group:
Mara Group is a pan-African investment group with operations and investments in the real estate, financial services, technology and infrastructure sectiors. The Group is currently active in 25 African countries and 27 countries worldwide. Mara has been recognised as a Global Growth Company by the World Economic Forum. www.Mara.com

About Atlas Merchant Capital:
Based in New York, Atlas Merchant Capital is dedicated to finding unique investment opportunities primarily in the financial services sector. Atlas’s inaugural venture was the creation of Atlas Mara, a bank operating in sub-Saharan Africa, which was co-founded with the Mara Group. Atlas was founded by Bob Diamond and David Schamis, who, with their investment team and operating partners, bring extensive investment and operating expertise to their target markets. www.AtlasMerchantCapital.com

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Source:: General Electric leads the creation of a joint venture with Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital to benefit African infrastructure

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