Joint Statement on the South Sudan Peace Process

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

November 25, 2015

The United States joins our Troika partners, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Norway, in expressing deep concern that South Sudan’s leaders have not formed a new transitional government within the agreed 90-day timeline of the August peace agreement. Each day, the fighting and abuses continue, and an already grave humanitarian situation grows worse. We urge South Sudan’s leaders to establish the transitional government now and recommit to the timeline of the agreement, or the peace process will unravel.

We commend Festus Mogae, the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), for beginning to implement the agreement by announcing this week that he will host the JMEC’s first meeting in Juba on 27 November. It is vital that all parties participate fully. We call on the Opposition and former detainees to attend the JMEC launch and on all South Sudanese parties to work with President Mogae. Those who decide not to participate will be further delaying the implementation of the peace agreement, which will only deepen an already grave humanitarian crisis and prolong the suffering of the South Sudanese people.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Joint Statement on the South Sudan Peace Process

Categories: AFRICA

DRC: Draconian crackdown on dissent one year ahead of elections

Activists and political leaders who speak out against attempts by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila to stand for a third term in office are being subjected to arbitrary arrest and, in some cases, prolonged incommunicado detention, said Amnesty International, a year before presidential elections are officially due to take place.

A new report, Treated like criminals: DRC’s race to silence dissent in the run up to elections, reveals how DRC’s justice system is being used to silence critics of a third term by President Kabila. It focuses on the cases of eight individuals who were jailed after peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, one of whom spent 145 days in incommunicado detention.

“In the lead up to next year’s elections, the justice system has been compromised for political purposes to crush dissent,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes.

“People peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression are being arrested and detained incommunicado for months on end.”

Tensions have been rising amid fears that President Kabila may overturn constitutional term-limits and stand again in presidential elections – due to take place on 27 November 2016.

Protests against a Bill perceived as an attempt to delay elections triggered widespread demonstrations in January 2015. Security forces used excessive force to respond to these protests, killing dozens of people and arresting several hundred.

Political opposition leaders, Ernest Kyaviro and Cyrille Dowe, arrested during the January protests, were held without access to their lawyers for 86 and 145 days respectively. Ernest Kyaviro was sentenced to three years in prison, while Cyrille Dowe was acquitted.

On 15 March, Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, were arrested by security forces during a press conference launching the Filimbi (Swahili for whistle) youth platform. They were held by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), which reports directly to the President, for 50 and 40 days respectively, incommunicado, without charge and without access to lawyers. Despite a lack of evidence against them, they were labelled “terrorists” and accused of planning to violently overthrow the government. They remain in arbitrary detention.

Protests calling for the release of those detained have been systematically repressed with activists arrested, detained and subjected to ill-treatment by the ANR.

Those brought to court have been denied bail without a clear justification and records of interrogations conducted during incommunicado detention have been used by prosecutors.

“The justice system has become instrumental in DRC’s crackdown against those speaking out against a third term by President Kabila. Political opposition leaders and activists have been arbitrarily arrested by the ANR and convicted by courts that flout Congolese, African and international human rights standards,” said Sarah Jackson.

“Lessons should be learnt from Burkina Faso and Burundi where mass protests were sparked by incumbents attempting to extend constitutional term-limits creating longer-term crises.”

Background

Jean-Bertrand Ewanga, an MP and leader of the political opposition Union for the Congolese Nation party, was sentenced to one-year in jail on charges of insulting the President, the Prime Minister and the heads of the Senate and National Assembly.

Jean-Claude Muyambo and Vano Kiboko, both members of the President’s ruling coalition, were arrested after they spoke out against the third term. Kiboko has been sentenced to three years in jail. Muyambo’s trial is still underway.

Christophe Ngoyi, a human rights defender, was arrested after monitoring the use of excessive force during the January protests in the capital, Kinshasa and held incommunicado for 21 days. His trial continues.

Activists of youth movements, such as Filimbi and LUCHA, have been targeted by the ANR.

Two of the people featured in Amnesty International’s worldwide annual Write for Rights campaign, from 4-17 December, are Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala. Hundreds of thousands of Amnesty International supporters and activists around the world will send letters, emails, SMS messages, faxes and tweets calling for their release.

DRC’s Constitution limits a President to two consecutive terms. It also prohibits the number and length of terms from being changed by constitutional review, making President Kabila ineligible to stand again in November 2016. There are fears the elections may be delayed.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

UK-US-Norway joint statement on South Sudan peace process

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Duddridge said:

I share the concern of my Troika partners, the United States and the Kingdom of Norway, that South Sudan’s leaders have not formed a new transitional government within the agreed 90-day timeline of the August peace agreement. The fighting continues and the humanitarian situation is becoming worse. South Sudan’s people deserve much better.

I welcome President Mogae’s announcement that the first Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) meeting will be held in Juba on 27 November. It is vital that all parties participate fully. I call on the opposition and former detainees to attend the JMEC launch and on all South Sudanese parties to work with President Mogae. Those who decide not to participate will be undermining the agreement, which will only lead to the further suffering of the South Sudanese people.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: UK-US-Norway joint statement on South Sudan peace process

Categories: AFRICA

The Chairperson of the Commission Receives the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, today, at the AU Headquarters, received the Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) for the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Said Djinnit. The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange views on the overall situation in the Great Lakes Region, including in Burundi. In this context, they stressed the need for the urgent launching of an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue, and reiterated the AU and UN full support to the mediation efforts led by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

The Chairperson of the Commission and the UN Special Envoy also exchanged views on the implementation process of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Region. In this context, they noted that, in spite of the progress made to date, a number of challenges still remain to be addressed. They concurred on the need to review and revitalize the implementation mechanisms of the PSC Framework, including the Regional Oversight Mechanism which brings together the Heads of State and Government of the signatory countries of the PSC Framework. They agreed on the need for the AU and the UN, together with the other Guarantors of the PSC Framework, to make renewed efforts to this effect, in order to successfully achieve the objectives of the PSC Framework.

Lastly, the Special Envoy and the Chairperson of the Commission discussed the ongoing preparations for the Private Investment Conference in the Great Lakes Region, which is scheduled to be held in Kinshasa, DRC, in February 2016. They acknowledged the importance of the planned Conference, whose successful convening will give further impetus to regional cooperation and development.

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

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Source:: The Chairperson of the Commission Receives the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region

Categories: AFRICA

FAO calls for accelerated and concerted actions in West Africa towards the 2025 Zero Hunger and malnutrition goals

The FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel, called on ECOWAS leaders to sustain momentum and remain focused on ending hunger in the sub-region by the year 2025. This was in the statement he made on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Mr. José Graziano da Silva, at the opening session of the International Conference on Agriculture in West Africa, held as part of the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the ECOWAS agricultural policy, ECOWAP, in Dakar, Senegal, from 17 to 19 November 2015.

Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel congratulated ECOWAS for the encouraging progress made over the last decade as evidenced by the FAO’s 2015 Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa report.

ECOWAS has among others reduced the proportion of hungry people by 60 percent (from 24 to 10 percent), thus achieving the MDG target on halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger. With regards to the World Food Summit (WFS) goal on halving the absolute number of undernourished people, the ECOWAS region reduced the number from 45 million to 34 million people since 1990-92.

“We must recognize the fact that such encouraging results have been achieved due to real commitments and quality leadership demonstrated at all levels”, said Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel.

“FAO is privileged to have been associated with this exciting journey in terms of supporting the efforts of the ECOWAS Commission and its member countries through capacity development and programme delivery”, he noted, pledging “FAO’s readiness to continue to collaborate with its strategic partners in providing the necessary support to the ECOWAS Commission and its Member States, as they march towards meeting the goals of ending hunger and malnutrition by the year 2025.”

Keeping the momentum

The FAO delegation to the ECOWAS Conference in Dakar was keen on building on the encouraging achievements made over the last few years towards addressing the challenges of hunger and malnutrition in West Africa, which still remain a daunting task.

The FAO’s 2015 State of Food Insecurity report shows that some 33.7 million people remain undernourished in the West African region. Furthermore, though the number of underweight children under five years of age has declined over the last two decades, 22.2 percent of them are still underweight. Stunting, on the other hand, has stagnated as 35 percent of children under five years of age are found to be stunted.

In his conclusion, Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel called on the ECOWAS Commission member countries and other stakeholders to:

Reinforce and maintain the momentum of the Zero Hunger and malnutrition goal as a high level commitment of all ECOWAS countries;
Adopt an integrated approach for a sustained implementation of complementary and comprehensive food security and nutrition policies and programs to effectively make an impact on hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition;
Ensure co-ownership of the agenda of ending hunger and malnutrition among various relevant sectors, beyond agriculture ministries, and enhance multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination;
Promote effective public-private partnerships that address the challenges of modernizing agriculture as well as developing value-chains, hence creating and expanding employment opportunities for women and the youth;
Ensure effective participation of all stakeholders and set up mutual accountability systems to facilitate tracking performance and mutual learning.

The three-day International Conference on Agriculture in West Africa focused on the review of the ECOWAS agricultural policy (ECOWAP) implementation over the past 10 years; the review of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme implementation, formulated and carried out under the ECOWAP; and the Sectoral Forum on “Financing the regional offensive for a sustainable and sustained revitalization of rice production in West Africa”.

FAO confirms commitment to partnering with ECOWAS

At the request of the ECOWAS Commission, FAO contributed to the review process by supporting five countries as they prepared their respective assessment reports and provided feedback on progress made, the challenges that need to be met, and proposals on the way forward, which formed the basis for FAO’s contribution made at the two panel discussions in which FAO DRR for Africa participated.

FAO also provided technical and financial support to the ECOWAP+10 thematic working group on gender in the lead up to the Conference to ensure that women’s voices are heard. With regard to the rice sector development in West Africa, FAO has reaffirmed its engagement to closely work with ECOWAS and development partners in the region to achieve the ultimate goal targeted for the region. FAO is already leading the Partnership for sustainable rice systems development in Africa in the framework of the South-South Cooperation.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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Source:: FAO calls for accelerated and concerted actions in West Africa towards the 2025 Zero Hunger and malnutrition goals

Categories: AFRICA

Caterpillar launches free e-learning website for future technicians in Africa

Caterpillar (www.Caterpillar.com) today announced that it has launched the pilot-phase of the Technicians for Africa Project, an e-learning website for people who aspire to become a technician in Nigeria, Mozambique and DR Congo. The website, which is available in French, Portuguese and English, is leveraging Caterpillar’s existing, state of the art e-learning solutions and makes them available for anyone in the three countries that has the ambition to develop a career as a heavy equipment Technician.

“This is just one of the ways that we’re looking to boost the skills in the industry as a whole. There is a vital need for skilled labour across these sectors in Africa. We are proud to see the launch of this initiative,” said David Picard, Region Manager responsible for Caterpillar’s distribution in Africa.

The pilot websites in English, French and Portuguese have already been launched and during the pilot stage they will be available in Nigeria, DR Congo and Mozambique. The access to the basic Caterpillar Technician curriculum is free. Those who register for the curriculum will have the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge and upon successful completion of the curriculum, will earn a certificate of completion.

“Many School leavers are unable to enter the job market because they have been unable to receive enough technical knowledge when they leave school. In schools, the latest technical information isn’t always available,” explained Maurice Manders, Caterpillar’s Learning and Development Manager and also team leader of the e-learning project. “Offering an Internet-based basic learning curriculum that is available to schools and students is an efficient solution to this challenge,” he added.

The website’s URL is: https://techniciansforafrica.caterpillaruniversity.com/.

The new free e-learning curriculum, which contains 18 modules of easy-to-understand, technical insights about safety and basic fundamental systems like electrical, hydraulics and powertrain, complements the paid-for e-learning platforms that are available to Caterpillar’s dealers and customers. Paying customers get access to a wider range of e-learning and more functionality of the learning management system.

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

Caterpillar contact:
Erik De Leye
Global Government & Corporate Affairs
Office: +32 2550 3537
Email: De_Leye_Erik@cat.com

About Caterpillar:

For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. (www.Caterpillar.com) has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2014 sales and revenues of $55.184 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit www.Caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit www.caterpillar.com/social-media.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this filing relate to future events and expectations and are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “believe,” “estimate,” “will be,” “will,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “project,” “intend,” “could,” “should” or other similar words or expressions often identify forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding our outlook, projections, forecasts or trend descriptions. These statements do not guarantee future performance, and we do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements.

Caterpillar’s actual results may differ materially from those described or implied in our forward-looking statements based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: (i) global and regional economic conditions and economic conditions in the industries we serve; (ii) government monetary or fiscal policies and infrastructure spending; (iii) commodity price changes, component price increases, fluctuations in demand for our products or significant shortages of component products; (iv) disruptions or volatility in global financial markets limiting our sources of liquidity or the liquidity of our customers, dealers and suppliers; (v) political and economic risks, commercial instability and events beyond our control in the countries in which we operate; (vi) failure to maintain our credit ratings and potential resulting increases to our cost of borrowing and adverse effects on our cost of funds, liquidity, competitive position and access to capital markets; (vii) our Financial Products segment’s risks associated with the financial services industry; (viii) changes in interest rates or market liquidity conditions; (ix) an increase in delinquencies, repossessions or net losses of Cat Financial’s customers; (x) new regulations or changes in financial services regulations; (xi) a failure to realize, or a delay in realizing, all of the anticipated benefits of our acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; (xii) international trade policies and their impact on demand for our products and our competitive position; (xiii) our ability to develop, produce and market quality products that meet our customers’ needs; (xiv) the impact of the highly competitive environment in which we operate on our sales and pricing; (xv) failure to realize all of the anticipated benefits from initiatives to increase our productivity, efficiency and cash flow and to reduce costs; (xvi) additional restructuring costs or a failure to realize anticipated savings or benefits from past or future cost reduction actions, including the inability to complete the restructuring activities as contemplated or changes in preliminary accounting estimates due to the significant judgments and assumptions required; (xvii) inventory management decisions and sourcing practices of our dealers and our OEM customers; (xviii) compliance with environmental laws and regulations; (xix) alleged or actual violations of trade or anti-corruption laws and regulations; (xx) additional tax expense or exposure; (xxi) currency fluctuations; (xxii) our or Cat Financial’s

compliance with financial covenants; (xxiii) increased pension plan funding obligations; (xxiv) union disputes or other employee relations issues; (xxv) significant legal proceedings, claims, lawsuits or government investigations; (xxvi) changes in accounting standards; (xxvii) failure or breach of IT security; (xxviii) adverse effects of unexpected events including natural disasters; and (xxix) other factors described in more detail under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 17, 2015 for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Source:: Caterpillar launches free e-learning website for future technicians in Africa

Categories: AFRICA

Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) Announces Partnership with GeoPoll and Kantar Media

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association today announced that it has partnered with mobile surveying company GeoPoll (http://www.Geopoll.com) to be the provider of media data to GIBA members, who include TV, radio, and web broadcasters throughout Ghana. GeoPoll’s joint product with Kantar Media, Kantar-GeoPoll Media Measurement (KGMM), is Africa’s largest provider of overnight media data and the only source of next-day ratings for TV, radio, and print in Ghana. GIBA’s partnership with KGMM comes at a pivotal time for Ghanaian broadcasters: the television industry is preparing a switch to digital signal in early 2016, a move which will introduce new channels to the market and increase the need for a fast, reliable audience measurement system.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with GeoPoll to bring better media data to broadcasters in Ghana. Broadcasting in Ghana is at a turning point, and audiences are becoming increasingly savvy about the way they consume media. We are confident that with this data broadcasters will better understand the behavior of their audiences, make more effective programming decisions, and improve their ratings in this competitive media environment” said Akwasi Agyeman, President of GIBA.

KGMM’s mobile-based methodology has become increasingly valuable as mobile penetration increases throughout Africa and media consumption moves away from the home. Conducted through panel-based text-message surveys, KGMM’s daily data clearly demonstrate media trends including popular stations and peak viewing or listening times.

KGMM allows for filtering of data by demographics including age, gender, and location, or psychographics such as bank account ownership and preferred brands. In addition, KGMM provides media planning and post-campaign evaluation tools which can be used by broadcasters or agencies looking to plan their advertising based on the most up-to-date data available.

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association is an association of private and independent broadcasting organizations in Ghana, and membership is open to all non-state owned broadcasters in the country. GIBA supports its members by providing top quality research, consulting, and advocacy services. With this partnership, all GIBA members will have access to quarterly KGMM data at no cost, and will be able to subscribe to KGMM’s monthly, weekly, or overnight data services at a discounted rate. GIBA and GeoPoll will work together to promote KGMM to the industry, and GeoPoll will provide GIBA members with specialized training on how to best leverage KGMM’s data and toolset for their advantage.

Kantar-GeoPoll Media Measurement is also available in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, and will launch in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Mozambique in the coming months.

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

Press Contact
Roxana Elliott
+1 720-484-5718/ Roxana@GeoPoll.com

About GeoPoll
GeoPoll is the world’s largest mobile survey platform, with a network of more than 200 million users in emerging markets. GeoPoll’s platform conducts surveys through the mobile phone and provides results to clients in real-time, giving anyone the ability to make data-driven decisions. Through work with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments, GeoPoll provides insights on everything from food security to brand preferences. GeoPoll services include both custom research and subscription products.

About the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) is an association of authorised and operational non-state owned, private and independent broadcasting organisations who have come together to form a body to promote their common interest. GIBA’s mission is to proactively support and promote the independence, legal and economic interests of its members through the provision of top quality research, advisory, consultancy and advocacy in a changing business and regulatory environment.

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Source:: Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) Announces Partnership with GeoPoll and Kantar Media

Categories: AFRICA

Factsheet on Pan-African Action Plan projects

The European Commission has announced nearly €150 million for nine projects to support governance and human rights, as well as innovation and learning throughout the African continent.

The following projects were announced on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2015, as part of the ‘Pan-African Action Plan’, which will specifically target women and girls.

1) €10 million to strengthen the African Human Rights System: to tackle discrimination and human rights violations. This project is part of a wider approach covering governance and human rights under the Pan-African Programme which includes support to election observation, civil society organisations, and possible future support to public administration and anti-corruption measures.

2) €5 million to support the international effort to end female genital mutilation (FGM). The major focus in the prevention of FGM is to encourage its abolishment, while also addressing the needs of girls and women who suffer its consequences. The Pan-African Action Plan therefore includes legal and policy reforms, community-based education and dialogue, support to sexual and reproductive health-care services and child protection systems, and national-scale communication efforts to change the societal perceptions around FGM. It will be implemented by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

3) €45 million support programme for the African Union institutions. As a key regional partner of the European Union, the African Union (AU) will also benefit from funding under the Pan-African Action Plan. This will assist the AU Commission and other AU institutions to build their own capacities to effectively and efficiently implement their strategies and programmes, as well as to contribute fully to the implementation of the Africa-EU Partnership.

4) €20 million to support the enhanced role of civil society organisations in the dialogue with African institutions and in the implementation of initiatives to promote security, governance, human rights and gender equality.

5) €15 million to help African countries respond more effectively to transnational organised crime: The proposed action will provide a one-stop shop for updated information and analysis on transnational crime and evolving trends in each region and between regions, as well as analysing the impact that these flows are having on stability, governance, the rule of law and development. Reliable evidence-based analysis and research will be carried out and coordinated at regional and continental levels.

6) €26.5 million for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) & Africa initiative. The aim of this is to support African policy-makers and planners in the promotion of the sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data. The project will make use of the technology offered by the European Copernicus programme which promotes the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation.

7) €10 million to advance geological knowledge and skills in Africa’s mining sector. African mineral resources are often still unexplored or unclassified. Mineral exploration and mapping is one of the main tasks of geological surveys. Such information has a huge value, but is extremely difficult to produce and manage. Mapping geology requires skilled individuals and technical tools that several countries in Africa are currently not able to afford and maintain. The project focuses on establishing long-term strategic cooperation (for example training in data mapping and development of data infrastructure) in order to address this issue.

8) €5 million to improve flight safety in Africa.The project supports the extension of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service to Africa with a view to improving civil aviation safety and efficiency through better navigation systems in Africa. This should also contribute to the reduction of air transport costs and lower carbon emissions as well as improved flight safety.

9) €10 million to promote mobility in higher education in Africa. This programme aims to increase access to quality education that will encourage and enable African students to undertake postgraduate studies on the African continent. It will promote the mobility of staff, while increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of the institutions themselves and enhancing the political, educational and economic links between participating countries

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

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Source:: Factsheet on Pan-African Action Plan projects

Categories: AFRICA

Foreign Aid Impact on Africa’s Development Speech

Whether foreign aid works has been polarized between the “Oh yes it does” camp and those who respond “Oh no it doesn’t.” That’s too simplistic a juxtaposition.

Some might say that the fact that we are still asking this most basic question about aid over 60 years since official aid started to flow in the late 1940s is an indication of how relatively little we sometimes seem to know about aid’s impact and influence.

In the UK, we don’t however have such existentialist doubts.

The UK alone amongst the world’s largest economies has reached the UN target of giving 0.7% of GNI in overseas development assistance (ODA). That’s around £12bn this year of UK aid worldwide, or getting on for US$20bn, which means about half the size of Ghana’s whole economy.

And in Ghana, if you add up our bilateral aid through DFID and our contributions to multilateral institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank, UN agencies, the EU and Global Fund, then the UK alone gave well over £100m to Ghana in 2013, the last full year for which figures are available, and at least the same since.

Why do we do this? Because we believe it’s the right thing to do, both morally as a good global citizen and, in this case, because of the responsibilities we take from our own history and colonial involvement in Africa.

That responsibility works in the other direction too though: we have a responsibility to spend that money well and account for it properly – to the British taxpayer who funds that aid. And there are opponents of aid per se in the UK too.

Let me recast my opening sentence. Claims that aid alone is responsible for impressive improvements in human development over the past couple of decades are clearly not credible. Yet, equally difficult to sustain are claims that aid has been entirely useless.

And, remember, L & G, before we get further into this debate. No country and nobody is somehow forced to accept development aid. It is any sovereign country’s right to say ‘no’. If any country we had wanted to help doesn’t want that help, then fine – there are many others that do.

And if aid is so bad, why do we so frequently receive requests for more of it, and by the way, not just from government ministries and agencies, but also from civil society and NGOs, one or two of whom are sometimes happy to receive privately what they then trash publicly?

Again I’ll return to where I started.

‘Aid is useless’ versus ‘aid is brilliant’ is a false dichotomy.

And, let’s face it, when you call aid ‘aid’ some people don’t like it or get upset. But call aid “economic assistance” or, better still, “development cooperation”, then not so much.

But, whatever you call it, I contend that it’s more useful to ask when aid works, not whether.

But in asking that question, it is worth noting that aid is constantly changing: it has been provided in different forms to address a succession of different problems. In the 1950s, it was physical infrastructure and technical skills; in the 1960s, it was the savings and investment gaps; in the 1970s, meeting basic needs; in the 1980s, the productive sector; in the 1990s, governance, human rights and human development; and today (not unlike the 1970s), assistance is targeted at the achievement of key Millennium Development Goals which are about to be succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals.

More recently, people have wanted answers to the broader question of whether aid makes a lasting difference to the incomes and well-being of poor people, and if it helps to lift them out of poverty.

To provide those answers, we need to look at the data, provided by robust and empirical studies that have been peer reviewed.

Now, there are more studies on aid in the health and education sectors, than there are on social welfare, so it is not always easy to find good studies that can tell us what the impact of aid has been.

However some key lessons come out of the desire by all countries and peoples to understand what aid works and what doesn’t. Some of these conclusions come from the Centre for Global Development, one of the most respected think tanks in the field.

Most importantly, the majority of studies on aid are positive — but the impact of aid is often modest.

Secondly, aid is more likely to work in the correct dosage but is ineffective if too high or too low. Aid is likely to have diminishing returns as it grows relative to the size of the economy and those returns can even turn negative.

Thirdly, domestic political institutions matter – a lot: aid is more likely to work if the institutions are in place — for example, political stability and not too much decentralisation.

And here I also have to raise the thorny issue of corruption. And corruption by the way means stealing, robbery, theft – it is thieving from resources that should belong to all by individuals for personal gain. Sadly it happens a lot. Aid given to country x or y may intrinsically achieve good things, but if, say, a well spent US$ 100m of aid is then undermined by another US$ 100m being stolen by the politicians and civil servants of that country from the State’s budget – what’s the point?

I was very struck last weekend by Mo Ibrahim during his Foundation’s annual prize-giving event here in Accra. He said that illegal money transfers from the continent Africa, much of it the direct result of corruption, now exceed the receipts from aid. Think about it: however much we have been giving in development assistance to Africa, even more has been stolen from Africa. That’s to say stolen from African citizens by African leaders and elites.

While the UK Government would be first to say that development is about a whole lot more than aid, we can say that shifting the debate from whether aid ‘works’ to when aid works and how it can work better would contribute to better aid policy decisions in the real world, move away from mostly theatrical claims and counterclaims, and might even serve to reinvigorate global support for aid.

Of course we have to recognise that countries are complex entities, and many different factors influence how a country develops. For example, the last decade was relatively benign for some poor countries. High growth rates in Sub-Saharan Africa generated new optimism about prospects for sustained growth and poverty reduction. In the ten years after the Millennium, Africa experienced large-scale debt relief, an unprecedented rise in commodity prices, made new resource discoveries, and accessed cheap capital for new borrowing.

At the same time, aid flows went up, and for Ghana, like other African countries, the combination of these conditions helped Ghana make startling progress in reducing poverty during this time. Between 1991 and 2012, the poverty rate in Ghana fell by more than half. Did aid play a role in that? I’m convinced it did. Nothing the gainsayers have said here tonight has convinced me of the opposite. But, equally, aid was just one factor in that success story.

Sadly, in many parts of Africa, many of the factors that supported this growth have collapsed. Government debts are back at historic levels, the commodities boom has ended and falling export prices have reduced government revenues and squeezed budgets; international capital markets are shutting their doors, and investment is falling.

So, Africa now faces its toughest period for a decade. And around the world about 1 billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day – the official World Bank measure of poverty – and more than 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. Women – one half of the population – are still fighting hard for their legitimate rights, and millions of women still die in childbirth. The gap between the domestic rich and domestic poor is growing.

For our part, we recognise aid’s shortcomings and now have more knowledge about what to do to make it work better. We want to make our aid transformative by helping to unlock the private sector investment that Ghana needs to deliver the infrastructure in water, agriculture, transport, power that is so badly needed. We want to help the agricultural sector so that poor farmers have access to markets and see the commercialisation of agriculture to feed the growing cities. We want Ghana to be a business hub for the region, building on its strengths as a democracy with a strong rule of law and a free press. Above all, we want to see Ghana meet the new SDGs in full by 2030.

For Ghana to grow and prosper is going to cost money. Globally, the UN thinks that meeting the world’s infrastructure needs will cost $7 trillion. We may not be able to lift all Africans today out of poverty, but we must secure the future for the next generation. Rich and poor nations can only achieve this together, through the aid budget, through trade, through good governance, through partnering with the private sector and through domestic and international reforms that crackdown on illicit financial flows and corruption.

In other words: development isn’t just about aid – far from it.

I think the future partnership between the UK and Ghana, both in aid and in our broader trading and cultural relationship, is of trusted friends working together. It has to be a win-win for us both. And we believe that aid, or economic assistance or development cooperation – whatever your preferred term – with the right underlying rules and linked to shared goals can still be transformative.

I finish by making a point I hope is self-evident. The point of any aid programme ought to be to help the recipient country develop and prosper to the point where it doesn’t need aid any more. Aid alone never made any poor country rich, but I reject the notion of some here tonight that aid makes rich countries poor, or poor countries poorer. Aid makes countries less poor than they would otherwise be. But what makes countries really rich, in my opinion, is a free society in its widest sense.

That means a private sector set free to create jobs; a fair tax system that works; free trade, private investment and capital flows. It means solid state institutions, an honest civil service, a clean judiciary and a transparent set of rules, based on good norms and values, not on the arbitrary whim of leaders. And it means the reduction of corruption to the absolute minimum that is humanly possible, not least so that any aid received is a net addition to the resources spent on the people, not a kind of subsidy to replace the resources stolen from the people.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: Foreign Aid Impact on Africa’s Development Speech

Categories: AFRICA

Final Media Advisory on Papal Visit to UNHQ – Nairobi

The United Nations Information Center
Invites Journalists
To the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON)
Venue: UNON – Gigiri
Date: 17.15 hrs – Thursday, 26 November 2015

His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the Headquarters of the United Nations in Nairobi as part of his Kenya leg of a 3 country Africa visit.

The Papal Programme

On arrival will be met by the Director-General of UNON, Sahle-Work Zewde. Then she will introduce him to the UN leadership in Nairobi and escort him to sign the Visitors Book (PHOTO-OP #1).
Planting of a tree next to the UNEP part of the “green” building (PHOTO-OP #2).
The Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, will escort the Pontiff through the “green” building as well as provide him with a briefing on the latest climate change challenges (PHOTO-OP #3).
Conference Room Two where he will deliver his address to UN Staff and Diplomats (PHOTO-OP #4).

Additional Photo-Ops:

After his remarks, the Pontiff will unveil his gift of a painting to the UN inside Conference Room Two.
The Pontiff will briefly meet refugees from surrounding states outside Conference Room Two before his departure.

Information and Requirements for entry into UNON – Gigiri

· Current UN accreditation cards will not be sufficient for access to this event.

· UNON gates will be closed at 1500 hrs. UN Ave may be closed by Kenya Police at 13:00 hrs.

· All media representatives will be processed at the main UN Visitors Entrance. Following the signing of the code of conduct, the press will be escorted to the UN Press Centre.

· Press briefing at 15.30 hrs on the choreography of the imminent event.

· From the Press Centre media representatives will be escorted to the appropriate media zones (4): Arrival & Signing; Tree Planting; UNEP HQ; Conference Room Two.

Press movement from one zone to the other will be severely restricted. Therefore, it is advisable to deploy a team covering all zones.

*** Live Feed will be available to all media through KBC and a joint AFP/AP/Reuters stills and video pool. Please get in touch with them directly for details (contact KBC chief engineer, Patrick Theuri at patricktheuri@kbc.co.ke mobile 0722 837 396 or Khaled Kazziha/AP email: kazziha@ap.org)

Live Stand Up positions will also made available via UNON. Broadcast vehicles are advised to be inside the UN compound no later than 1300 hrs. Focal point is Marian Aggrey (mobile 070 6044096 or email Marian.Aggrey@unon.org)

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Information Center in Nairobi.

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Source:: Final Media Advisory on Papal Visit to UNHQ – Nairobi

Categories: AFRICA

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Terrorist Attack in Tunisia

The United states condemns in the strongest terms yesterday’s terrorist attack against members of Tunisia’s security forces. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded. We are prepared to assist Tunisian authorities in the coming days as they investigate this attack. Terrorists have sought to use fear and violence to undermine the important gains the Tunisian people have made in pursuit of a democratic, stable, and prosperous country. We will continue to provide robust security, economic, and governance support as they build upon the progress achieved since 2011.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The White House.

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Source:: Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Terrorist Attack in Tunisia

Categories: AFRICA

The African Union strongly condemns the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Tunis and in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, strongly condemns the despicable terrorist attacks perpetrated yesterday in Tunis against members of the defense and security forces, and in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, against a hotel. The two attacks killed several people and wounded many others.

In these difficult times, the Chairperson of the Commission expresses the AU’s deepest condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the peoples and Governments of Egypt and Tunisia. She wishes speedy recovery to the injured. She reiterates the AU’s full solidarity with Egypt and Tunisia and its support to their efforts aimed at combating terrorism and violent extremism, within the framework of the relevant African and international instruments.

The Chairperson of the Commission notes that these attacks occurred against the backdrop of the worsening of the scourge of terrorism in the world, including the Continent, as evidenced by the attack recently perpetrated in Bamako, Mali, the continuation, by the Boko Haram terrorist group, of its attacks on civilian populations and state institutions in the Lake Chad Basin region, and the destabilizing activities of the al Shabaab terrorist group. In this regard, she reiterates the need for the enhancement of inter-African cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism and calls for renewed efforts to effectively implement the relevant African and international instruments, including the 1999 OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combatting of Terrorism and its 2004 Additional Protocol, as well as of the measures contained in the communiqué adopted by the summit meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on terrorism and violent extremism, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 2 September 2014.

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

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Source:: The African Union strongly condemns the terrorist attacks perpetrated in Tunis and in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt

Categories: AFRICA