Central African Republic: Killings and Threats in Hospitals Must Stop

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — After deadly attacks and threats inside hospitals in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today called on all parties to the conflict to allow the wounded and sick to safely obtain medical care, and for an end to violence and threats against patients, civilians, and medical staff throughout the country.

Summary executions were carried out by armed men inside Bangui’s Amitié Hospital on December 5, according to medical staff and patients who said they witnessed the attacks. MSF personnel observed at least 10 corpses lying in front of the hospital. The facility is no longer operating because of the violence, but several patients remain there. Meanwhile, tensions are high at Hospital Communitaire, where patients, MSF staff, and Ministry of Health employees have been threatened and pressured. MSF team members have had to step between armed men and patients on several occasions.

“We are continuing our work, but the violence inside Hospital Communautaire is unacceptable and constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” said Thomas Curbillon, MSF head of mission in Central African Republic. “It has an obvious impact on medical treatment, slowing the delivery of care and leading hospital staff to temporarily leave their posts. In addition, the violence means that many wounded patients will probably not try to access medical facilities.”

MSF emphasizes that all parties to the conflict in the CAR—in Bangui and throughout the country—must respect the civilian population, and medical facilities must be allowed to treat the wounded and ill without discrimination. MSF calls for a ban on any armed presence in health care facilities and a halt to attacks and threats on patients and medical workers, including Central African and expatriate personnel.

“Aid deployment as we define it—neutral, impartial and independent—cannot be provided in the face of threats and violence,” said Curbillon.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Financial Inclusion for a Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Africa – New publication

TUNIS, Tunisia, December 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new publication, Financial Inclusion in Africa, released today by the Complex of the Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) finds that for sustained and inclusive development to thrive, a great deal of innovation is needed to ensure that appropriate financial services and instruments are put in place for the benefit of the poor and other vulnerable groups in Africa.

Download the full publication at: http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Project-and-Operations/Financial%20Inclusion%20in%20Africa.pdf

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/african-development-bank-2.png

The publication is edited by Thouraya Triki and Issa Faye from the African Development Bank’s Research Department. It brings together a wealth of knowledge on financial inclusion from experts and practitioners from the broader development community, including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Overseas Development Institute, Inter-American Development Bank Group, Dalberg and AfDB.

The publication describes the multi-faceted nature of financial inclusion through a compilation of chapters that approach the topic from different perspectives. “We sought to cover different groups that have been historically underserved or unserved by formal financial institutions including small and medium enterprises, women, rural areas and agriculture, and fragile states,” explained Issa Faye, Division Manager at the Research Department of the AfDB.

The book is structured around three main parts. The first part lays the theoretical foundation for the subsequent analyses by explaining the multifaceted aspect of financial inclusion and how to measure it. The second part looks at some transformational mechanisms and approaches designed to serve the underserved while the third part discusses strategic issues such as the relationship between financial stability and inclusion, the potential transformative role of technology and the role of Development Finance Institutions.

The publication draws on recent data collection efforts made by the development community to document the state of financial inclusion in Africa. “Thanks to these new datasets, we were able to rigorously analyse financial inclusion for different segments of the population, users groups, and sub-regions. Such exercise was not possible until recently,” said Thouraya Triki, Chief Country Economist at the AfDB.

The findings and policy recommendations provided by this publication are aimed to inform the current discussions on the state, the opportunities and challenges for accelerating financial inclusion on the continent.

Further information on this publication is available at http://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/financial-inclusion-for-a-sustainable-and-inclusive-growth-in-africa-12664/

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

For more information, please contact:

Thouraya Triki (t.triki@afdb.org) or Issa Faye (i.faye@afdb.org)

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.

For more information: j.mp/AfDB_Media

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

EU: maintained commitment towards South Sudan’s state-building process, call MEPs

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Two years after South Sudan’s independence, MEPs call on the EU and the international partners to maintain their commitment to development and state-building and to human security for all South-Sudanese people, in a resolution passed on Tuesday. MEPs call also on the South Sudanese authorities to continue the efforts towards full establishment of the constitutional order and the rule of law and organisation of free and democratic elections in 2015.

“The EU is a vital partner for South Sudan’s economic development and for the capacity-building of state institutions, as the country lacks in almost every basic social service such as health and education,” said the rapporteur, Véronique De Keyser (S&D, BE). “The EU should also encourage South Sudan to ratify the Cotonou Agreement and to replace the Transitional Constitution with a permanent constitution based on popular consultation,” she added, stressing that “human rights must be respected now more than ever, upholding the rights of children is of the utmost importance.”

Sudan and South Sudan should “make best use of the wealth and potential” of the oil resources in the region, MEPs call, adding that support mechanisms are necessary for “a proper and transparent distribution and management of oil revenues”. MEPs ask the EU to renew the mandate of the Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan, which would increase the leverage of the EU and the Member States.

MEPs welcome the EU’s development aid of EUR 285 million committed to South Sudan since its independence two years ago and support the focus of this aid on agriculture, democratic governance and the rule of law, education and health. They further add that the implementation of laws and regulations already in place is lagging behind, welcoming the EU’s efforts to support the capacity-building of the legal system.

“The harassment of human rights activists and journalists and the unlawful detention and censorship of journalists” should end, say MEPs, urging the South Sudanese authorities “to carry out prompt, effective and impartial investigations into all allegations” of such acts and “to hold those responsible to account”.

Source: APO

Tigo Tanzania wins GSMA Highly Commended Award in Africa

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, December 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Tigo Tanzania (http://www.tigo.co.tz) has won the Highly Commended Award under the Best Network Improvement category, awarded by global mobile association – GSMA during the continent’s prestigious and largest annual communications Congress & Exhibition, Africa Com, held recently in Cape Town, SA.

Logo Tigo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/tigo-1.jpg

Tigo was short listed under the Best Network Improvement Category as the sole mobile operator in Africa in the category.

Commenting on the award, Tigo Tanzania’s Head of Operations, Mr. Deon Geyser, said that having won in this category is not only an honor for Tigo Tanzania but also a demonstration of its continuous commitment towards quality improvement in mobile services and solutions in the country.

“We have invested heavily in the past year in network quality so that we make our services more accessible and reliable to our valuable customers. Tigo is now available everywhere in the country and at a better quality, therefore this award is a great celebration towards this achievement.” he said.

According to Mr. Geyser, Tigo’s improvement on network quality is a result of the management teams’ turnaround strategy which started implementation in December 2012 across all Tigo operations. “This strategy has led to incredible results such as a 70% reduction in network outage time, 63% reduction in call drops and 300% increase in data throughput.”

“Tigo has equally invested in coverage by reaching out to more rural areas and customers across all 30 regions in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. This nationwide presence allows our customers to enjoy calls with better voice enhancement, use data with better 3G internet connectivity and have more reliable Tigo Pesa services where now they can send and receive money with less inconveniences, thus giving them another big reason to smile,” further stated Mr. Geysor.

Tigo Tanzania’s Head of Planning and Optimization, Mrs. Halima Idd, further explained that the company successfully managed an extremely focused Quality Transformation Program and invested money and other resources into the right areas.

“During our surveys we got a lot of feedback from our customers that our network quality needed improvement, this for us meant urgent measures must be taken. We are a customer centric company and that is in the core of our operations where we develop products and services around key findings from consumer understanding and feedback,” Mrs. Idd explained.

She continued, “The Quality Transformation Program that we started implementing in 2012 included; right investments into network resilience, coverage and capacity; controlled changes and project execution; as well as improved operational management. However, all this was complimented by a great team effort internally, a robust organizational structure and key strategic partnerships to achieve the results that were required.”

In September, Tigo kicked off an activation caravan dubbed ‘Tigo Smile tour’ to celebrate the widespread network coverage and reach in rural Tanzania due to launch of more than 280 quality towers in all 30 regions this year.

This massive network investment by Tigo has also given rise to employment growth as a result of the introduction of new customer care centres and Tigo shops across the country; an increase of Tigo Pesa agents, a critical factor to implement the nation’s efforts towards financial inclusion; and accessibility of Tigo products and services everywhere in the country due to widening of distribution channels thus cementing Tigo’s nationwide presence.

AfricaCom is Africa’s largest annual communications Congress and Exhibition which this year took place in Cape Town, South Africa on 12-14 of November.

This year’s awards included 14 categories covering the whole telecom business from networks to services and marketing, including 4 new awards: Connectivity Solution, Mobile Marketing, Digital Music and Mobile Money.

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

About Tigo:

Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 30 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Tigo strives to be Tanzania’s most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa.

Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible and readily available cellular telephone services to more than 43 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

The success of Tigo is based on the “Triple A” strategy, which stands for Affordability, Accessibility and Availability. We create a world where mobile services are affordable, accessible and available everywhere and to all. This guarantees that our subscribers experience the best services at the most affordable rates throughout all 30 regions in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

“SMILE, YOU’RE WITH TIGO”

For further information visit: www.tigo.co.tz

Or contact:

John Wanyancha – Corporate Communications Manager

Mobile: 0658 123 089

john.wanyancha@tigo.co.tz

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Reforming policies and regulations to unleash agribusiness potential in Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) (http://www.agra.org) announced a five-year project that seeks to increase incomes of smallholder farmers through the creation of an enabling policy environment in Africa. The initiative –Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA) – will identify, prioritize and reform specific agricultural policies and regulations that currently deter or limit private investment in small- and medium-sized agribusinesses operating in smallholder agricultural value chains.

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

Over a period of five years, AGRA aims to motivate at least 25 significant policy or regulatory reforms in selected countries, leading to measurable increases in private sector investment in local agribusinesses. The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, is expected to increase the number of smallholder farmers accessing improved technologies supplied by agribusinesses operating in local staple food value chains. It will also help them access stable, predictable income-generating market opportunities. This enhanced access to input and output markets is in turn expected to lead to increased smallholder productivity and incomes, and reduced poverty for smallholder farm-dependent families.

“We are very excited about this new initiative,” says AGRA President Ms. Jane Karuku. “It will help African Governments unlock agricultural potential in their countries by supporting their efforts to develop progressive agricultural policies that will attract increased private investment in smallholder agricultural value chains. The initiative aims reform retrogressive agricultural regulations that deter rather than encourage such investment”.

“The MIRA project will provide African Governments with access to high quality local and international technical assistance for identifying, prioritizing and reforming specific agricultural regulations,” says Dr. Steven Were Omamo, AGRA’s Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Current regulations often discourage private investment in small- and medium-sized agribusinesses that serve the needs of smallholder farmers. The project will help build the capacity of African Government leaders and analysts to make better-informed, economically-robust assessments and decisions about which regulations need to be reformed in order to facilitate increased private investment in smallholder value chains.

The MIRA project has four key objectives:

• To strengthen African Governments’ demand for regulatory reforms, by supporting efforts to identify and assess regulations that unintentionally limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains;

• To support African Governments’ efforts to reform regulations that limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains;

• To promote reformed regulations to local and international private sector investors, in order to raise awareness about improved agribusiness-enabling environments in Africa; and

• To enhance the capacity and commitment of African Governments to continuously review, assess and reform regulations that limit private sector investment in smallholder value chains.

By the end of the project, three major outcomes are expected:

• Reformed agricultural policies and regulations creating more conducive environments for private sector investment in local agribusinesses operating smallholder value chains in five countries;

• Increased private sector investment in the “throughput capacity” of existing and new local agribusinesses – those supplying inputs to smallholders and/or purchasing farm outputs from them; and

• At least 25 significant policy or regulatory reforms that induce measurable increases in private sector investment in local agribusinesses operating in smallholder agrifood value chains.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

For more information, please contact:

Sylvia Mwichuli

Director, Communications and Public Affairs

Tel: +254203675000

Mobile: +254736880620

smwichuli@agra.org

http://www.agra.org

Source: APO

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