Sep 012014
 

BERN, Switzerland, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Switzerland is stepping up its aid to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has committed an additional CHF 1 million to fund various direct operations…

Sep 012014
 

PARIS, France, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On Friday, August 29, Chantal, one of the four members of the MSF team abducted in North Kivu, was found unharmed. However, MSF remains with no news about our colleagues Philippe, Richard, and Romy more than 13 months after they disappeared. We continue our search and issue a new call to anyone who may be in a position to help with their release.

MSF members were deeply moved and delighted to learn of the escape of Chantal Kaghoma Vulinzole, who was kidnaped with three of her colleagues on July 11, 2013 during an attack on Kamango, blamed on the ADF-NALU. Chantal, a nurse originally from Goma, was a member of the emergency team that disappeared during a mission to evaluate the health facilities in Beni Territory.

After more than 13 months of captivity under difficult conditions, Chantal was able to flee and reach troops, taking advantage of military operations in the bush against the ADF-NALU. Our colleague was found, weak and thin, on Friday and was returned safely to Beni by Congolese armed forces.

“It is an immense relief for her family, her friends and all of her colleagues to know that she is alive and with us again,” said Mégo Terzian, President of MSF. “We also want to believe that our three other colleagues – about whom we have no information – will also return. We are thinking of their families and of all the hostages. We will not forget you.”

We have been unable to establish contact with the three other members of our Congolese team, despite our efforts, resources mobilised, and the trails we have followed in the DRC and neighbouring countries. “Chantal was separated from her three colleagues and was no longer in contact with them when she escaped,” explained Benoît Leduc, crisis cell coordinator in Paris. “Our search continues, with the ADF group now dispersed and, probably, disorganised.”

Over time, a series of doors has opened and closed but we have been unable to obtain proof of life or direct access to those holding our colleagues. “People are willing to help us, but each time we seem to be close, our contacts report a last-minute obstacle or the people who might have the power to free the hostages do an about-face,” said Leduc.

More than one year after our colleagues disappeared, MSF is thrilled that Chantal has returned. We continue our efforts to find Philippe, Richard, and Romy. Given the difficulties we have encountered, MSF calls for help from anyone with information on our team members or who can help us establish contact with them. To save the lives of all the hostages and ease their families’ pain, MSF is issuing a call for assistance and asks those holding the hostages to release them immediately.

Sep 012014
 

PARIS, France, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On Friday, August 29, Chantal, one of the four members of the MSF team abducted in North Kivu, was found unharmed. However, MSF remains with no news about our colleagues Philippe, Richard, and Romy more than 13 months after they disappeared. We continue our search and issue a new call to anyone who may be in a position to help with their release.

MSF members were deeply moved and delighted to learn of the escape of Chantal Kaghoma Vulinzole, who was kidnaped with three of her colleagues on July 11, 2013 during an attack on Kamango, blamed on the ADF-NALU. Chantal, a nurse originally from Goma, was a member of the emergency team that disappeared during a mission to evaluate the health facilities in Beni Territory.

After more than 13 months of captivity under difficult conditions, Chantal was able to flee and reach troops, taking advantage of military operations in the bush against the ADF-NALU. Our colleague was found, weak and thin, on Friday and was returned safely to Beni by Congolese armed forces.

“It is an immense relief for her family, her friends and all of her colleagues to know that she is alive and with us again,” said Mégo Terzian, President of MSF. “We also want to believe that our three other colleagues – about whom we have no information – will also return. We are thinking of their families and of all the hostages. We will not forget you.”

We have been unable to establish contact with the three other members of our Congolese team, despite our efforts, resources mobilised, and the trails we have followed in the DRC and neighbouring countries. “Chantal was separated from her three colleagues and was no longer in contact with them when she escaped,” explained Benoît Leduc, crisis cell coordinator in Paris. “Our search continues, with the ADF group now dispersed and, probably, disorganised.”

Over time, a series of doors has opened and closed but we have been unable to obtain proof of life or direct access to those holding our colleagues. “People are willing to help us, but each time we seem to be close, our contacts report a last-minute obstacle or the people who might have the power to free the hostages do an about-face,” said Leduc.

More than one year after our colleagues disappeared, MSF is thrilled that Chantal has returned. We continue our efforts to find Philippe, Richard, and Romy. Given the difficulties we have encountered, MSF calls for help from anyone with information on our team members or who can help us establish contact with them. To save the lives of all the hostages and ease their families’ pain, MSF is issuing a call for assistance and asks those holding the hostages to release them immediately.

Sep 012014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Although security had apparently been improving in Bangui, fighting between international forces and armed men erupted in the Kilometre 5 district of the capital on 19 and 20 August. Among the many casualties was a Central African Red Cross driver and first-aid worker who was shot and killed while evacuating casualties.

“Throughout the country, civilians continue to bear a heavy burden because of the conflict and reprisal attacks aimed directly at them,” said Jean-François Sangsue, head of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic. “Once again, we are calling on all parties to the conflict and on the international forces in the country to take all feasible measures to spare the civilian population and to facilitate the work of Red Cross personnel striving to help the people of the Central African Republic.”

Tensions remain high in the capital, and there are concerns that further incidents could take place. Many displaced people in areas near Kilometre 5, fearing reprisals, have taken refuge within the Church of the Holy Saviour, where conditions were already very difficult. Fear is also being felt by displaced people accommodated in the city’s Central Mosque, which is situated in the area where fighting took place.

Tensions are also very high in Bambari, where fighting in the middle of the city between two factions of the same armed group resulted in many casualties on 25 and 26 August. Civilians, already traumatized by clashes that occurred in July, are filled with fear and alarm. At this point it would appear very difficult for things to return to normal. Those who had only recently returned to their residences quickly turned back to the sites accommodating displaced people. The removal of injured people has been made difficult by the tenuous security situation. The ICRC did however manage to provide the city’s hospital with fuel to help it to provide care for the wounded and the sick.

“People who are wounded or sick, whether they be civilians or combatants, and regardless of which side they belong to, must be protected by the parties to the conflict,” said Mr Sangsue. “In addition, the wounded and the sick must be safely evacuated and treated.”

The city of Batangafo, in the north-western part of the country, remains paralysed. All economic activity has been at a standstill since clashes between armed groups and fighting involving multinational forces took place on 30 July. Even the farmers are without access to their fields. On 26 August, ICRC staff went to Farazala to assess the situation of people displaced from Batangafo and determine what their needs are and what kind of aid should be provided.

In Boda, 115 kilometres west of Bangui, inter-community violence that has shaken the city since 21 August has resulted in casualties and in the displacement of hundreds of people.

People in other cities of the Central African Republic, especially in the Kaga Bandoro and Bambari areas, continue to live in fear of being attacked by armed men.

“Our staff are striving to respond to the most urgent needs,” said Mr Sangsue. “In addition, we are maintaining a dialogue with everyone involved in the hostilities, and also with community and religious leaders, with the aim of raising awareness of – and improving adherence to – the basic principles of international humanitarian law.”

Between 7 July and 20 August, in cooperation with the Central African Red Cross Society, the ICRC:

● provided curative care for more than 7,000 patients in Bangui and in the Kaga Bandoro area, and performed more than 130 operations in Bangui;

● evacuated 15 sick people and transferred four patients from the country’s interior to Bangui’s Community Hospital;

● upgraded two health-care centres in the Kaga Bandoro area;

● supplied clean drinking water every day to more than 20,000 displaced people at Bangui’s airport, and also to more than 11,000 people in Kaga Bandoro and nearly 20,000 in Bambari;

● delivered clean drinking water every day to Ndélé and its hospital for more than 10,000 people;

● provided household essentials for more than 18,500 people;

● supplied food aid for almost 25,000 displaced people in Bangui, and for more than 400 displaced people on the road between Bambari and Ippy;

● reunited with other family members six children who had been separated from them by the conflict;

● raised awareness of the basic principles of international humanitarian law among more than 400 members of various weapon-bearing groups and among nearly 150 community and religious leaders.

In addition, ICRC staff visited 560 detainees to make sure that the treatment they were receiving and the conditions in which they were being held met international standards.

Sep 012014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Although security had apparently been improving in Bangui, fighting between international forces and armed men erupted in the Kilometre 5 district of the capital on 19 and 20 August. Among the many casualties was a Central African Red Cross driver and first-aid worker who was shot and killed while evacuating casualties.

“Throughout the country, civilians continue to bear a heavy burden because of the conflict and reprisal attacks aimed directly at them,” said Jean-François Sangsue, head of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic. “Once again, we are calling on all parties to the conflict and on the international forces in the country to take all feasible measures to spare the civilian population and to facilitate the work of Red Cross personnel striving to help the people of the Central African Republic.”

Tensions remain high in the capital, and there are concerns that further incidents could take place. Many displaced people in areas near Kilometre 5, fearing reprisals, have taken refuge within the Church of the Holy Saviour, where conditions were already very difficult. Fear is also being felt by displaced people accommodated in the city’s Central Mosque, which is situated in the area where fighting took place.

Tensions are also very high in Bambari, where fighting in the middle of the city between two factions of the same armed group resulted in many casualties on 25 and 26 August. Civilians, already traumatized by clashes that occurred in July, are filled with fear and alarm. At this point it would appear very difficult for things to return to normal. Those who had only recently returned to their residences quickly turned back to the sites accommodating displaced people. The removal of injured people has been made difficult by the tenuous security situation. The ICRC did however manage to provide the city’s hospital with fuel to help it to provide care for the wounded and the sick.

“People who are wounded or sick, whether they be civilians or combatants, and regardless of which side they belong to, must be protected by the parties to the conflict,” said Mr Sangsue. “In addition, the wounded and the sick must be safely evacuated and treated.”

The city of Batangafo, in the north-western part of the country, remains paralysed. All economic activity has been at a standstill since clashes between armed groups and fighting involving multinational forces took place on 30 July. Even the farmers are without access to their fields. On 26 August, ICRC staff went to Farazala to assess the situation of people displaced from Batangafo and determine what their needs are and what kind of aid should be provided.

In Boda, 115 kilometres west of Bangui, inter-community violence that has shaken the city since 21 August has resulted in casualties and in the displacement of hundreds of people.

People in other cities of the Central African Republic, especially in the Kaga Bandoro and Bambari areas, continue to live in fear of being attacked by armed men.

“Our staff are striving to respond to the most urgent needs,” said Mr Sangsue. “In addition, we are maintaining a dialogue with everyone involved in the hostilities, and also with community and religious leaders, with the aim of raising awareness of – and improving adherence to – the basic principles of international humanitarian law.”

Between 7 July and 20 August, in cooperation with the Central African Red Cross Society, the ICRC:

● provided curative care for more than 7,000 patients in Bangui and in the Kaga Bandoro area, and performed more than 130 operations in Bangui;

● evacuated 15 sick people and transferred four patients from the country’s interior to Bangui’s Community Hospital;

● upgraded two health-care centres in the Kaga Bandoro area;

● supplied clean drinking water every day to more than 20,000 displaced people at Bangui’s airport, and also to more than 11,000 people in Kaga Bandoro and nearly 20,000 in Bambari;

● delivered clean drinking water every day to Ndélé and its hospital for more than 10,000 people;

● provided household essentials for more than 18,500 people;

● supplied food aid for almost 25,000 displaced people in Bangui, and for more than 400 displaced people on the road between Bambari and Ippy;

● reunited with other family members six children who had been separated from them by the conflict;

● raised awareness of the basic principles of international humanitarian law among more than 400 members of various weapon-bearing groups and among nearly 150 community and religious leaders.

In addition, ICRC staff visited 560 detainees to make sure that the treatment they were receiving and the conditions in which they were being held met international standards.

Sep 012014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and European Union (EU) welcomed the agreement by Col Barre Adan Shire (Barre Hiiraale) to participate in a reconciliation process and for his irregular military forces to present themselves for screening and potential integration into the Somali National Army (SNA) with the support of the Federal Government of Somalia.

“We welcome this agreement between Col Barre Hiiraale and the Interim Jubba Administration brokered by the Federal Government of Somalia. It is an important step forward in the path towards peace- and state-building for all Somalis. We stand ready to support a reconciliation conference in the coming weeks and urge all parties to engage in constructive consultation and reconciliation involving all stakeholders, ensuring that the interests of all communities are protected. Somalia’s international partners remain committed to supporting the nation’s peace and state-building agenda”.

Sep 012014
 

MAPUTO, Mozambique, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Antonio Edmundo, 23 years old, is currently the director of the Movitel’s district center island Ilha de Mozambique, Nampula province. Just two years ago, he was only a house helper in the office this business center of Movitel, SA – a joint venture between Vietnamese company Viettel and Mozambique’s SPI Company. Antonio’s journey from a house helper to a master might surprise many people; it’s just like a dream coming true!

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/tuo.jpg

Starting to work for Movitel from January 2012 as a house helper since the company opened stores in the district of Namialo, Antonio was highly appreciated by the district director of Namialo – Mr. Khanh, who hired him due to his enthusiasm, hard work and loyalty. Khanh had an intention to train him to be a store staff as working in the house, Antonio could capture all daily operations of the store, knowing where and how to store the merchandise, and understanding the work of each staff.

After some time, noticing the extremely agile and quick understanding of the “house helper”, Director Khanh assigned Antonio to manage a mobile sales team. Every morning, after a decent cleaning the entire store, from 8am, Antonio led the team to go out selling goods in remote areas. Until September 2012, Antonio was promoted as a salesman of the shop; however, he still took care of the house cleaning at the same time. But from that time on, Antonio’s work expanded. In addition to leading mobile teams, he was also in charge of managing and delivery goods to points of sale.

Step by step, Antonio had gained experience and raised up his dream of changing life until it coming true in February 2014, when he officially took over Mr.Khanh’s position as the director of the Ilha island. He is now a “real boss”, managing the entire business of the district center with 9 staffs and 01 technical team. So far, Ilha district ranks the second highest in term of mobile penetration in the branch with 21.5% (11 237 subscribers out of 52 202 people).

The story of Antoino is one among many other interesting stories in Movitel about the changes it brings to the staffs and people where it runs business.

After 2 years entering Mozambique’s telecom market, Movitel has achieved significant successful business and with a rapid revenue and subscriber growth rate over 120%/year to reach nearly US$155 revenue and 5 million subscribers in 2013, making up 32% market share. However, what people impressed most by this operator is its contribution to the society. Movitel has popularized telecom services in rural and underserved areas, significantly changing the communication landscape in Mozambique and contributing in various ways to enhance life of people here through many of its social programs.

In order to enable telecom services including mobile, fixed phone and Internet accessible to rural population, Movitel has invested in a network of 2,800 towers, 25,000km fiber optic cable covering 100% districts and highways, 80% population and a distribution channel to every village. Besides, it also provides service support and social programs including free Internet to schools, subsidizing handset cost for rural users, offering special package designed to support low-income users such as farmers or students. Movitel has provided free Internet to 2,500 schools, supported Mozambican government to implement e-government program. Nearly 600,000 people in at least 5rural districts have been covered and served telecom services for the first time in life. With Movitel, telecom services are now available to everyone, giving them opportunities to improve their living standard.

With a philosophy of integrating business development with social responsibility, Movitel has considerably took part in the sustainable development Mozambique and helped changing the life of people here, particularly the poor and the rural population. It has generated nearly 20,000 jobs in rural areas. After employing local people, the company will train them until they can independently handle the work themselves. After that, expert managers from headquarter shall be retreated, leaving the positions for the local people to take over. By doing this way, Movitel not only gives the people a means of living but also a dream to pursue. Antonio – District Director of Ilha de Mozambique is one such person.

As a result of their tireless effort, on July 8th 2014, Movitel was granted the “Best Mobile Innovations Award” – the most notable prize among the 18 others of the Mobile Innovations Awards for business across the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and became the only telecom operator in Africa winning 3 reputable prizes from prestigious and leading international organizations within only 2 years of business. Formerly, it won the Rural Telecom Award of the AfricaCom Awards in 2012 and the Competitive Strategy Leadership award by The American Research and Consulting firm Frost and Sullivan in 2013.

*Author: Dang Phuong – Reporter of Youth Newspapers – Vietnam.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Youth Newspapers – Vietnam.

Sep 012014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Epidemiology and surveillance

On 30 August 2014, Senegal’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Affairs provided WHO with details about a case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) an…

Sep 012014
 

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 30, 2014

The United States is deeply concerned by clashes between security forces today in Lesotho, and calls …

Sep 012014
 

TUNIS, Tunisia, September 1, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the fourth review of Tunisia’s economic performance under a 24-month program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The completion of the review enables an immediate disbursement of SDR 143.25 million (about US$217.5 million), bringing total disbursements to SDR 716.25 million (about US$1.1 billion).

The two-year SBA in the amount of SDR 1.146 billion (about US$1.74 billion, or 400 percent of Tunisia’s quota at the IMF) was approved by the Executive Board on June 7, 2013 (See Press Release No. 13/202).

In completing the fourth review, the Executive Board approved the authorities’ request for modification of the end of September 2014 performance criteria.

Following the Executive Board discussion on Tunisia Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

“Tunisia is set to complete its political transition with the advent of elections in the last quarter of 2014. Progress in the transition is helping galvanize support from development partners.

“Nonetheless, the economic situation remains difficult. Growth is timid, unemployment remains high, and rising external imbalances are putting pressures on the exchange rate and reserves.

“Program implementation has been strong. All quantitative performance criteria have been met. In spite of the challenging domestic and regional environment, structural reforms have been progressing, and the authorities have made up for earlier delays in some areas.

“Fiscal performance for the first half of the year has been strong, and continued fiscal consolidation remains essential to anchor macroeconomic stabilization. Fiscal measures to offset spending pressures are welcome, and recent increases in energy prices—together with the implementation of new programs to protect the poor— will help reduce vulnerabilities. Energy subsidy reform and a strict control of the wage bill will improve budget composition, which will also benefit from increased social and investment expenditures. Comprehensive revenue reforms, strengthened public financial management, and reform of public enterprises will support fiscal consolidation and help generate more inclusive growth.

“A tighter monetary policy would help counter inflationary pressures and reduce exchange rate pressures. Further exchange rate flexibility would help rebuild foreign reserve buffers, correct large external imbalances, and improve competitiveness.

“Important steps have been taken to reduce financial sector vulnerabilities, including through the historic adoption of public bank restructuring plans, which should be quickly implemented. Banking sector fragilities will be reduced further through the establishment of an asset management company, adoption of the bankruptcy law, completion of public bank audits, and upgrade of the regulatory framework.

“Accelerated implementation of structural reforms is needed to improve the investment climate and generate a stronger and more inclusive growth. Moving ahead with the competition law and the public private partnerships framework will help foster private sector development. The upcoming “Invest in Tunisia” conference should play an important role in this regard.”