Press invitation: Hackathon Award Ceremony and opening of a French digital exhibition

The Embassy of France in Ghana cordially invites you to the final part of the ‘French Digital June’, which is being organized by different French institutions operating in Ghana under the headline initiative “France & Ghana 1957-2017: moving forward together”. The objective of this event is to deepen bilateral collaboration between the two countries whilst illustrating the desire of the French Embassy in Ghana to bring the dynamics of our two countries together, particularly in terms of digital innovation. This event serves as a follow up to the just ended digital week, as well as a precursor to the digital exhibition that will be open to the public following this reception.

The conclusion of the “French Digital June” in Accra

French DJ: French Digital June has been divided into three sections with different dimensions, the first of which is the educational part featuring the Hackathon challenge – a competition that seeks to change and modernize the learning of French in Ghana. The aim of this contest is to develop a useful product for learners in order to promote a more dynamic image of French. It also seeks to sensitize teachers on digital tools and diverse teaching practices. After this comes the economic component, the French Digital June forum, which will take place on the 6th of June at the Best Western Premier Hotel at Airport, under the high patronage of the Ambassador France to Ghana, H.E. Francois Pujolas. The agenda will focus on providing an outlook of the Ghanaian digital economy, with emphasis made on key digital platforms in the Ghanaian industry. It will also to give opportunity for a series of workshops that will focus on technological innovations by different entrepreneurs in the digitization industry.

An award ceremony and opening of a French digital exhibition

On the same day from 5.30 pm, a cocktail will be organized at the Alliance Française of Accra. This reception, at which the France ambassador, HE François Pujolas will be present, will be the cultural highlight of the “French Digital June”.

The Hackathon Awards will be presented at the ceremony. The winning group will receive a sum of 3,000 GHC and the opportunity to develop its project with our Ghanaian and French partners. They will also get free French lessons offered by the Alliance Française, as well as a cultural pass. This occasion will also allow us to present to you the MEST-Paris & CO union as well as the French Tech Ticket. These are two success stories illustrating the progress of the cooperation between our two countries in the field of digital economy. It will also be the opening of the exhibition dubbed “French Touch of web-creation”, that will be open to the public on the 7th and 8th of June.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of France to Ghana.

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Source:: Press invitation: Hackathon Award Ceremony and opening of a French digital exhibition

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Communique of the 688th meeting of the AU PSC on the Conclusions of the Retreat of the Peace and Security Council on the Implementation of the Conclusions of Successive PSC Retreats and the Related Adoptive Decisions from 2007 to 2016

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 688th meeting held on 26 May 2017, adopted the following decision on the Conclusions of the Retreat of the Peace and Security Council on the Implementation of the Conclusions of Successive PSC Retreats and the Related Adoptive Decisions from 2007 to 2016:

Council,

1. Commends the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for having hosted the Retreat of the PSC on the Implementation of the Conclusions of Successive PSC Retreats and the Related Adoptive Decisions from 2007 to 2016, which was held from 3 to 5 May 2017, in Kigali, Rwanda. Council also expresses its appreciation to the Republic of Uganda, the Chair of the PSC for the month of May 2017, for the successful conduct of the Retreat;

2. Recalls its previous decisions on working methods of the PSC, in particular communique [PSC/PR/Comm(LXXXV)] of its 85th meeting held on 8 August 2007, in which Council decided to review the working methods, on a regular basis, and to adjust them as the need arises;

3. Decides to formally adopt the Conclusions of the Retreat of the Peace and Security Council on the Implementation of the Conclusions of Successive PSC Retreats and the Related Adoptive Decisions from 2007 to 2016 (Kigali conclusions). Council further decides to submit the Kigali Conclusions to the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government during its 29th Ordinary Session to be held from 3 to 4 July 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for endorsement;

4. Agrees to continue to review its working methods regularly and to adjust them, as the need arises, to enable Council to effectively address the threats to peace, security and stability in Africa.

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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Source:: Communique of the 688th meeting of the AU PSC on the Conclusions of the Retreat of the Peace and Security Council on the Implementation of the Conclusions of Successive PSC Retreats and the Related Adoptive Decisions from 2007 to 2016

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Central African Republic risks sliding back into major crisis

The international community must urgently rally behind the humanitarian community striving to assist thousands of civilians in the Central African Republic, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country warned today during a briefing to UN Member States in Geneva.

“The frequency and brutality of attacks in Bangassou, Bria, Alindao and other localities have reached levels not seen since August 2014,” said Najat Rochdi, the Humanitarian Coordinator and UN Resident Coordinator in the Central African Republic. “There are deeply worrying signs of manipulation of religion as driver behind the latest wave of attacks. The window of opportunity to prevent the crisis from further escalation risks being shut very soon.”

New hotspots of violence have emerged across the country, and atrocious intra-communal crimes are shattering communities. Over the past two weeks alone, more than 100,000 people have been newly displaced. In the central town of Bria, violence erupting in mid-May has uprooted more than 40,000 people. By attacking south-eastern Bangassou, where peaceful coexistence had withstood all previous violent episodes, armed groups targeted a symbol of social cohesion. The fighting killed more than 100 people and forced thousands to flee their homes.

“Communities displaced by the renewed violence have sought safety in areas we can hardly reach. Aid actors are facing logistical and security challenges compounded by funding shortfalls,” Ms. Rochdi said. “Unless humanitarian actors are given sufficient means, tens of thousands of the most vulnerable people will be cut off from aid, many of them will be killed, and entire areas of the country abandoned.”

The upsurge in violence has driven internal displacement to over 500,000 people for the first time since 2014. Almost as many continue to live as refugees in the neighbouring countries. More than one in five Central African families has been uprooted from their home.

“This new escalation comes at a time when communities in the Central African Republic are in dire need of recovery and reconstruction. Addressing the escalating crisis requires a strong engagement by all partners,” said Ms. Rochdi. “This is not the time to let the people of the Central African Republic down. This is not the time to give up on peace.”

The new emergencies escalate the already immense needs for sustained humanitarian assistance which stem from a four-year long crisis compounded by the lack of infrastructure and development across the country.

In the Central African Republic today, nearly one in two depends on humanitarian aid to survive, a proportion amongst the highest in the world. Almost half of the population is facing food insecurity.
The US$399.5 million humanitarian response plan for 2017 has so far received only 25 per cent of the funds.

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

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News comment by UNHCR’s Spokesperson Babar Baloch – UNHCR steps up support amidst large-scale returns to Northeast Nigeria

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is stepping up its response as large numbers of refugees return from Cameroon to north-eastern Nigeria. More than 12,000 refugees returned in the month of May, with 1,800 returning in just one day early last week. Refugees are arriving to difficult conditions in the town of Banki, some 100 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri and just inside Nigeria.

Though returns have dropped significantly since last week – with only 24 coming back on Monday – we are nonetheless concerned as Banki is already hosting a large population of nearly 45,000 internally displaced people, and is far from ready to receive such large numbers.

The decisions to return are being taken by refugees themselves – people variously cite difficult conditions at Cameroon’s Minawao camp or the need to be back for the farming season. The refugees also organize their own transport.

In Banki, and also at nearby towns where people are hoping to head, humanitarian access is very limited and largely dependent on the availability of military escorts. As most returnees are still unable to travel onwards to their home villages where security remains uncertain, there is a pressing need for additional land for more shelter and other facilities at the IDP site.

People are having to sleep alongside their few possessions in the open. In the absence of cooking fuel many are burning plastic. Sanitation is a major worry too as what is available cannot serve the number of people in the site. There is little separation between areas for washing clothes and ablutions. With little or no drainage system at water collection points, and the incoming rainy season, the risk of waterborne disease is great. UNHCR and the government of Nigeria have alerted the refugees in Cameroon that such rate of returns are a strain on the few existing services and create a new emergency for which the response capacity is very limited.

UNHCR and our partners in Banki are doing what we can, given difficult circumstances, to improve conditions both there and in other areas that returnees are seeking to reach such as Gwoza which lies further south of Banki. Plastic sheeting is being provided and some 1500 emergency shelters are under way along with non-food aid kits. Currently food aid is an urgent need and we are appealing to other humanitarian partners to come forward with additional expertise and help.

On March 3 UNHCR, with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria, signed a Tripartite Agreement aimed at facilitating voluntary returns. The objective and purpose of the tripartite agreement is to ensure that returns comply with international standards.

The situation in Nigeria and Cameroon is part of a wider displacement crisis in the Lake Chad Basin that has displaced over 2.7 million people, including some 210,000 Nigerian refugees into neighbouring countries. As of mid-May, 96,000 of these were registered as being in Cameroon. UNHCR is monitoring the situation on both sides of Nigeria’s border with its neighbours and we continue to urge all countries in the region to allow safe haven and asylum procedures to all those in need. Taking into account the security constraints, UNHCR has started strengthening presence in border entry points for better monitoring and reporting.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Source:: News comment by UNHCR’s Spokesperson Babar Baloch – UNHCR steps up support amidst large-scale returns to Northeast Nigeria

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