IOM Aids Ethiopian Minors to Return from Tanzania and Yemen

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 27, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM offices in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Yemen this week helped 125 Ethiopians – many of them unaccompanied minors – to return home from Tanzania and Yemen.

The 54 returnees from Tanzania, who included six unaccompanied minors, were detained by the Tanzanian authorities while trying to reach South Africa and spent over four months in detention before IOM arranged their return home.

The 71 returnees from Yemen, who were all unaccompanied minors, crossed the Red Sea and became stranded while trying to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They spent between 2-3 months in Yemeni detention before IOM arranged their return.

In 2014, IOM helped 828 Ethiopian migrants to return home from Yemen, of whom 334 were unaccompanied minors. In the same year, it helped 598 Ethiopians to return from Tanzania, of whom 80 were unaccompanied minors.

IOM provides pre-departure medical check-ups, accommodation, food and transport in Tanzania and Yemen. IOM Ethiopia provides on-arrival assistance to all returnees, including food and onward transportation.

IOM, UNICEF and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs also conduct family tracing in order to reunify unaccompanied minors with their families. The children are fed and housed at the IOM Transit Center in Addis Ababa.

Now safely awaiting the family reunification program, 15-year-old Wehabdela Jemal, from the Southern Nations and Nationalities Reign-Sane-Sankura Zone, remembers the journey has been very hard.

“I left my town five months ago to head to Saudi Arabia after crossing Yemen,” he said. “We faced hunger, and thirst. At first, I thought we were going to make it there like my friends who told me that they are working there.”

After hiding in the bushes and crossing the Afar desert in Ethiopia, Wehabdela said he landed in Djibouti and boarded a boat to Yemen as he headed to Saudi Arabia. Months of hardship later, however, he was arrested upon arrival in Yemen.

“My friends who are already there told me there were lots of hardships they face but I wanted to take my chances anyway,” the teen said. “We were arrested right when we got there three weeks ago. Twelve of us were detained in Yemen after paying 25,000 Birr (USD 1,200). My family had to sell their plot of land to raise the money to pay for the broker.”

Mohammed Nur, 14, is another one of the returnees who migrated from the Silte Zone. He, too, was arrested at about the same time as Wehabdela. He said he and some of his countrymen, all teens, started their journey to Saudi Arabia three months ago. He came back to his country six months later with nothing to show for his efforts. His family members from abroad had to send 25,000 Birr (USD 1,200) for the smuggler’s fee in Yemen, as well.

“There was one returnee who showed us the way from Ethiopia but when we landed in Yemen, he disappeared in the middle of the way, I heard later that he has crossed to Ryadh. We were arrested,” the youth explained.

He described the difficult route to Yemen: “The road is treacherous, it is desert all the way; it is very hot. The whole hardship I faced on the way made me think that if I work hard in my own country I might just make better than there.”

Source:: IOM Aids Ethiopian Minors to Return from Tanzania and Yemen

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IOM Organizes Departure of Stranded Senegalese from Libya

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 27, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In what is hoped will be the first of many evacuations of stranded third country nationals in the coming weeks, IOM today organized the successful departure of 133 Senegalese men from the Karareem reception center in Misrata, Libya, and their flight home from Tunisia.

The evacuees are part of a group of 401 Senegalese IOM plans to return to their homeland over the next week, and perhaps the first of thousands who will be able to leave Libya safely after months of waiting.

For this operation, IOM worked in close cooperation with the Tunisian authorities, and with Senegal’s Tunis embassy to secure travel documents for all 401 stranded migrants. A charter airline contracted by IOM will bring the men home in three separate flights out of Djerba, Tunisia, with the first expected to arrive in Dakar this evening (27/2.)

The group of 133 departed Misrata on Thursday afternoon in three buses in a convoy that also included an ambulance and a two-vehicle police escort. The drive to Libya’s border with Tunisia took about six hours, with the convoy arriving shortly before midnight. The men spent the next nine hours in their buses until they cleared Tunisia’s passport control this morning.

“There was a bit of a delay at the border this morning, but now the men are on their way to the plane and expect to be home tonight. We are pleased things went so well,” said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi.

IOM coordinated the operation with Libya’s Ministry of Interior, the Libyan Red Crescent, ICRC and Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM). Funding was provided by IOM’s European Union-funded “START” project: “Stabilizing at risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transition in Egypt Libya and Tunisia.” START has invested nearly EUR 10 million in the region since 2012.

Additional funding came from a Norwegian government-funded IOM project: “Return and reintegration assistance for migrants stranded in Egypt and Libya”, which contributed NKR 4.1 million (EUR 478,000).

IOM has helped almost 200,000 stranded migrants to leave Libya since violence erupted there in 2011. It is a difficult process, explains Belbeisi, not just because the continuing violence hinders the organization’s presence on the ground. Many stranded migrants also no longer have their original travel documents, he notes.

Over a million Egyptian nationals are believed to reside in Libya and many may wish to return to Egypt. As many as 300,000 other foreign nationals from Africa, Asia and the Middle East may also be in need of assistance.

“Over the past month, we have seen clear signals that the situation in Libya is unraveling,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said this week. “We must stand ready to assist thousands of extremely vulnerable people who need our help,” he added.

Source:: IOM Organizes Departure of Stranded Senegalese from Libya

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Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomes Sudanese opposition’s Berlin Declaration on National Dialogue

BERLIN, Germany, February 27, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 25 and 26 February, representatives of Sudan’s opposition and civil society gathered in Berlin to discuss the peace process in their country. Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin (26 February):

I welcome the willingness of the opposition to find a solution to Sudan’s problems through a National Dialogue. The fighting in Sudan must come to an end, and people in the affected regions must finally be given the prospect of peace and stability.

I am glad about the successful outcome of the discussions held here in Berlin. The Berlin Declaration is an important step towards reconciliation in Sudan. There is greater hope now that the Government in Khartoum and the opposition will take up serious negotiations.

Background information:

The meeting of the Sudanese opposition and civil society was held in Berlin to discuss, above all, proposals for peacebuilding measures as part of the National Dialogue. Decisions taken include sending a delegation to Addis Ababa to take part in a National Dialogue preparatory meeting to negotiate with the Sudanese Government about further cooperation.

The meeting was organised by the Berghof Foundation and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Both institutions have been tasked by the Federal Foreign Office to support peace mediation in Sudan.

Under African Union mediation, peace talks are being held with Sudanese armed rebels in Addis Ababa. These talks are being led by Thabo Mbeki and aim to bring about a ceasefire as well as humanitarian access to the conflict zones in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. In 2014, President Omar al Bashir invited all political forces to engage in a National Dialogue. Up until now, the opposition refused to join.

Germany supports AU mediator Thabo Mbeki in his efforts to bring the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa to a successful conclusion.

It will continue the dialogue with the Sudanese Government in order to support the peace process and bring about lasting reconciliation. In this context, Germany in particular supports the UN peace mission UNAMID in Darfur.

Source:: Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomes Sudanese opposition’s Berlin Declaration on National Dialogue

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DHL Named Africa’s Number One International Freight Forwarder

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, February 27, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DHL Global Forwarding (http://www.dpdhl.com), the air and ocean freight specialist within Deutsche Post, has scooped the award for Africa’s International Freight Forwarder of the Year for the 3rd time. The International Award for Excellence in Air Cargo was voted by STAT Times’ readers worldwide and given to DHL at the STAT Times Awards in Johannesburg on February 26.

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Roger Olsson, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Sub Saharan Africa, who received the award, said: “DHL offers tailor-made solutions to businesses in Africa and it’s a service that’s second to none. It’s a tribute – to be named number one by STAT Time’s readers – to DHL’s strong African team that their dedication to excellence in international freight forwarding has been recognised yet again. DHL has been supporting the business in Africa for more than 35 years now but what’s most important is that we have continued to anticipate, adapt and create services that clearly meet Africa’s fast evolving business needs and help fulfill its vast potential.”

According to the 2014 year-end report(1) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), trade activity across the African region remained positive despite major economies Nigeria and South Africa underperforming for parts of 2014. Regional growth supported demand for air freight and capacity rose just 0.9% for the year as a whole, helping to strengthen load factors. African carriers’ freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 12.2% in December and 6.7% for the year as a whole. Globally, the air cargo business is growing again after several years of stagnation with demand growth up 4.5% compared to 2013 measured by freight FTKs.

As a global market leader, DHL Global Forwarding has been the leading service provider in the region’s air freight industry. With a focus on the Oil and Gas and the Mining sectors in the past few years, DHL’s freight management team has been very successful in developing customized solutions for customers in these sectors. DHL Global Forwarding also saw significant volume growth in Africa in both its regular and charter operations connecting all regions with Africa for the Oil and Gas and the Mining sectors. In addition, the India-Africa and China-Africa lanes are growing strongly, driven mainly by the life sciences, pharmaceutical and high tech sectors.

Organized by STAT Times, the international multimodal transport media, the International Award for Excellence in Air Cargo was launched in 2006 to support excellence across different sectors of the air cargo industry during its biennial International Air Cargo events.

Worldwide readers of STAT Times vote for the industry leader through an online poll, spanning a month. The award was presented to DHL at the Barnyard Theatre in Rivonia, South Africa, on February 26 as part of the AIR CARGO AFRICA 2015 event.

(1) http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2015-02-04-01.aspx

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Media Contact:

DHL Asia Pacific & EEMEA

Corporate Communications and Responsibility

Belinda Tan

Tel: +65 6771 3332

Fax: +65 6771 3322

Email: apeemeamediarelations@dhl.com

http://www.dhl.com/en/press.html

DHL – The Logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenues of more than 55 billion euros in 2013.

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

Source:: DHL Named Africa’s Number One International Freight Forwarder

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CAR refugees are threatened by malnutrition in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo

KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) February 27, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Thousands of refugees who have fled violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are now struggling to survive in desperate conditions in Equateur province, northeastern DRC. Life in DRC is hard for refugees and host communities alike, as food and clean water are scarce, and humanitarian assistance has so far been minimal. Initial evaluations show that levels of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) are already high.

Suggested Book:The Central African Republic: From “Pre-Genocide” to Genocide?

“There is no drinkable water, no latrines, no access to healthcare. Food is scarce and the markets are empty. We are seeing rates of severe malnutrition above than the emergency threshold, which is of serious concern,” says Nathalie Gielen, field coordinator for the MSF emergency pool. “Refugees report having suffered violent attacks, kidnapping, rape, robbery and threats from armed groups on the CAR side of the border. Yet some people are so desperate for something to eat that they are choosing to go back to CAR in search of food.”

An estimated 20,000 Central Africans have fled over the Ubangi river, which separates the CAR from the DRC, to the Bili and Bosobolo health zones in the north of DRC, adding to 10,000 refugees already present in the area. The refugees have arrived with very few possessions, if any, and are heavily dependent on the local community. They live in makeshift settlements and in villages along the Ubangi river. In some places, like in the area around Sidi, refugees outnumber local people two to one and more continue to arrive. Available supplies of food and drinking water must be divided among an increasingly large population.

“Life is hard here. We don’t have our fields, or any money to buy things. Back home in CAR I had what I needed to work in the fields. But here, I have nothing,” says Anne Kabo, 73, a CAR refugee living in the DRC with her family since last May. “Sometimes I work for the locals in exchange for sorghum leaves to feed the family. We eat whatever we can every day or two. It’s mostly sorghum leaves, with no oil.”

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) plans to relocate the refugees to a camp near Bili, 60 km south of the river, starting in late February. But moving thousands of refugees could take weeks, and in the meantime, refugees and host population alike are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

“Though many people have just arrived in this area, there are others who have been living in these conditions for months. Refugees and the host community alike are struggling to find adequate food and water, supplies of which were scarce to begin with. More humanitarian assistance is needed until a more durable solution is in place,” says Ms Gielen.

Source:: CAR refugees are threatened by malnutrition in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo

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The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) signs agreement for US$302,000 financial grant under the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) managed by African Development Bank (AfDB)

ABUJA, Nigeria, February 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The efforts of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) (http://neximbank.com.ng) to facilitate the establishment of a regional maritime company, The Sealink Project, has received a fresh boost with the signing of a financial grant with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for US$302, 000 under the aegis of the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF).

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

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The objective of the Sealink Project is to promote intra and inter- African trade, thereby fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions. This is in line with the Government’s transformational policy on trade and transport as articulated in the Regional Trade component of the New Trade Policy.

Speaking at the event, the Resident Representative for the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group in Nigeria, Mr. Ousmane Dore, reiterated AfDB’s commitment to promoting infrastructure development in Africa as being in line with the Bank’s overarching objective to spur sustainable economic development, social progress and poverty reduction in the regional member countries (RMCs). He indicated that an innovative maritime initiative such as the Sealink Project would greatly assist in bridging the artificial boundaries that have hitherto prevented trade, economic integration and a seamless logistic services within the region. He was particularly impressed that NEXIM deemed it strategic enough to enlarge the scope of the project to include the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) region (for which feasibility study part of the grant shall be applied), and expressed the hope that eventually the project would cover the entire region and enhance trade, free movement of persons, goods and services.

Also, the Acting Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Mr. Suleiman Shuaibu stated that the aim of his Directorate (which is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is to enhance Africa’s development and integration by creating the enabling environment and opportunity for Nigerian professionals and indeed those of African descent to invest their immense intellect, expertise and skills in the economies of Africa towards bridging the widening economic and scientific gap between Africa and the rest of the world. Continuing, he indicated that the financial grant of US$ 302, 000 to NEXIM Bank for the Sealink project is in line with the Directorate’s interest to facilitate cooperation and integration in Africa through the mechanism of technical assistance and better cooperation with other African countries, especially given Nigeria’s role as leader in Africa.

In his remarks, Mr. Roberts Orya, the MD/CEO of NEXIM Bank thanked the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) and African Development Bank (AfDB) for the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) grant to NEXIM.

According to Mr. Orya, “The release of this financial grant of US$302,000 to NEXIM Bank under the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) (which is) managed by African Development Bank is an attestation of the confidence the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as other key stakeholders in our commitment, especially through the SEALINK Project, to facilitate the free movement of persons, goods and services within the West and Central African sub-regions.…”

The US$302, 000 grant would be used to conduct further feasibility studies on the project to extend it to the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), as well as enhance the Sealink promotional activities and assist in the development of human capital and corporate governance structure of the the Sealink Promotional Company Limited (SPV) which was incorporated to facilitate the project implementation. The SPV is being promoted by the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), Nigerian Export – Import Bank (NEXIM) and Transimex, S. A, Cameroun.

Mr. Orya used the opportunity of the event to provide an update on the Sealink Project implementation and maintained that the Sealink is a private sector-driven project and that NEXIM Bank is only facilitating its establishment in line with its mandate, as the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria, to promote and deepen non-oil sector export trade. He indicated that the project’s promotional phase and capital raising exercise are still ongoing with a pilot implementation phase expected to commence in the Q2 Y2015; while full project implementation would be initiated by the Q4 2015.

The NEXIM MD reiterated that the Sealink project would assist in regional integration by mitigating some of the non-tariff barriers in intra/inter-regional trade in Africa. Specifically, the project will assist in reducing the high transportation costs as well as the excessive transit time which make intra-regional trade within West and Central Africa non-competitive and among the most expensive in the world, in terms of logistic costs.

Mr. Orya believes that the upon full implementation, the Sealink project will assist in improving the current low level of export trade between Nigeria and other countries within the ECOWAS and ECCAS sub-regions.

It is noteworthy that the Board and Management of NEXIM Bank and that other relevant stakeholders such as the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), ECOWAS Parliament, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and the Organized Private Sector – FEWACCI, NACCIMA and MAN Export Group, among others fully support the Sealink project.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).

Media Contact: Chinedu Moghalu (234-8088-353-804,moghaluc@neximbank.com.ng)

About NEXIM Bank – The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (http://neximbank.com.ng) was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promoting the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee & export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services etc.

In pursuit of its mandate of promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sector, the Bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals and Services (Tourism, Transportation and Entertainment) industries.

Source:: The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) signs agreement for US$302,000 financial grant under the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) managed by African Development Bank (AfDB)

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