New EU programme to strengthen land governance in ten African countries

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new programme worth €33 million to improve land governance and help improve the food and nutrition security of family farmers and vulnerable communities in Sub Saharan Africa, was announced today by Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. This will be done, among other things, through the application, at country level, of some Voluntary Guidelines set up by the international community in 2012 to improve land governance.

Roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide live without permanent homes, land access or formal property rights, a reason which is often used for their land to be attributed to large scale land investors. Therefore, land governance issues are strongly linked to key challenges such as food scarcity, water shortages or urban and population growth.

Speaking ahead of the high level conference on land tenure, due to take place today at the European Parliament in the presence of President Blaise Comparoe of Burkina Faso, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “I am convinced that these land tenure guidelines, which recognise farmers’ ownership and access rights, are essential to achieve efficient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture, and to promoting human rights and peace in society. This new programme will help farmers, and specially women, to make a living and feed their families, without fear of losing their property.”

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș, who will also attend today’s event, added: “Improving land tenure management is a key challenge to strengthen family farms, encourage investments in agriculture and increase food security. We need to support African countries concretely by sharing our experience in this field to make sure that guidelines and voluntary processes are translated into national legislation or into standard contracts for local governments.”

Other activities of this new programme include:

• the development of new land registration tools and digital land registry techniques for example through satellite images

• support to local organisations and civil society groups in making farmer groups (particularly women and young people) aware of their land rights so they are able to maintain them

• formalisation measures will be put in place to make land use legitimate; e.g. the provision of property deeds and relevant documentation to recognise land rights

The programme will be rolled out across ten African countries: Angola, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Swaziland.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) contributes to the in-country implementation of the programme: in Somalia, it will carry out an in-depth assessment on territorial rights and will set up strategies on land management. In Kenya it will review and harmonise the national strategies, policies and legislation required for strengthening of institutions and for the building up of future strategies.

Ahead of the event, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of the FAO said: “Any solutions for eradicating poverty must examine the ties between rights, entitlements, opportunities and poverty, with a special emphasis on empowering the most vulnerable. Only an empowered population, with secure rights and a stake in their future can move a nation forward and transform natural assets into wealth.”


The concept of this programme is to apply at country level the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT), adopted by the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) in 2012. They were seen as a major step forward by the international community to improve land governance at a global level.

Land governance is a particular challenge in many developing countries; particularly for smallholder farmers who often struggle to gain recognition for a communal area or agricultural investments. Many countries suffer from the lack of a transparent and effective land ownership system, with no public registration system. Fragile states are particularly volatile in terms of land tenure. Setting up a clear legislative framework for land registration and governance in this context is crucial.

The issue of land ownership will become increasingly important as the world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Additional pressure is put on land through food and biofuel production, as well as the importance of preserving forest basins and climate change.

Today’s ‘High-Level Conference on Property Rights: Land Tenure Security, the Missing Key to Eradicating Poverty’ will be hosted by Commissioner Piebalgs and MEP Nirj Deva at the European Parliament, from 2pm-7pm. Other high level invitees included President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Dacian Cioloș, European Commissioner for Agriculture, HE Raymond Tschibanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo, HE Pierre Mabiala, Minister for Land Affairs and Public Domain, The Republic of Congo, HE Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture, The Ivory Coast, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General FAO and Klaus Deininger, Lead Economist at the World Bank.

Today’s event marks ten years of strategic cooperation between the EU and the FAO.

Source: APO

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David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award goes to Nigerian Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

ABUJA, Nigeria, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ( yesterday, April 8th, has been honoured with the prestigious David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award alongside Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Simao Jatene, Governor of the State of Para, Brazil in New York.

Photo 1: (Governor of the State of Para, Brazil Simaol Jatene, Peggy Rockefeller Dulany, Chair of Synergos, Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman)

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Okonjo-Iweala was joined by a list of high profile personalities such as the late Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan, Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Bill Gates, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, James Wolfenson etc, that have been honoured in the past.

The only other Nigerian who has previously received the award for her decades-long work of empowering women is Mrs. Bisi Fayemi.

In Okonjo-Iweala’s case, she is being honoured for her uncommon courage and capacity to deliver on the economy and lead, in a very difficult environment.

Organised as part of the Synergos Institute University for a Night Series, the event brings together leaders from business, government and civil society to discuss innovative ways of addressing global problems.

Synergos is a group of leading philantropists that look at issues such as unleashing the leadership capacity of young people; changing the lives of women and girls; women’s health and social justice; improving governance to meet human needs; overcoming violence and sustaining peace.

Founded in 1986 by Peggy Rockefeller Dulany who serves as Chair, the organization supports initiatives in more than 30 countries and regions. It has staff and representatives in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Latin America.

The award was presented by Mrs. Dulany.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria.

Media contact

Constance Chiogor Ikwoku

Media Advidor to CME

Paul C Nwabuikwu

Special Adviser to CME

Source: APO

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Shameful attitude to vulnerable displaced shown by leadership of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) / Lives at risk if action not immediately taken

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In a shocking display of indifference, senior United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) officials have refused to improve living conditions for 21,000 displaced people sheltering in a flood-prone part of a UN base, exposed to waterborne diseases and potential epidemics. Despite repeated requests from humanitarian organisations, UNMISS is taking no actions in the camp to improve their chances of survival. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today questions the UN’s commitment to meeting the needs of the war-torn country’s most vulnerable groups and calls for immediate action to save lives in Tomping camp.

The Tomping UN peacekeeping base, in the capital Juba, has been host to people who fled for their lives when conflict erupted in December. They are crowded into low-lying parts of the compound that are known to flood. Diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory infections and skin diseases already make up more than 60 percent of the cases in MSF’s clinic in the camp. A UN plan to establish an alternative site has been mired in implementation delays and is now unrealistic. Repeated requests by MSF and other organizations to expand the Tomping camp into available non-flooded space in the compound, at least as a temporary life-saving measure, have been inexplicably refused.

“The UNMISS decision not to improve conditions in Tomping is shameful,” says Carolina Lopez, MSF emergency coordinator. “In the first rainfall of the season 150 latrines collapsed, mixing with floodwater. People are living in natural drainage channels as there is no other space and there are 65 people per latrine. The rains, which will last the best part of six months, are getting heavier and if nothing is done right now, the consequences, already horrific, could become fatal. Whether as a permanent or as an interim solution, expanding into the dry parts of the compound has to be an immediate action.”

On April 3, Hilde Johnson, head of UNMISS, stated herself that the Tomping camp is ‘at imminent risk of turning into a death trap’. She then announced that it will be closed in May. However, only 1,118 residents have been moved over the past 5 weeks. Although the plan may have been a valid option a month ago, moving some 20,000 people to a space that is far from fully prepared in this timeframe, with the rains starting, is unrealistic. In the meantime, it is hard to understand why available space in Tomping cannot be used to save lives.

“They say there is not enough space in Tomping, but this is a sickening argument when on the other side of the barbed wire there are dry parking and storage spaces,” says Lopez.

Furthermore, many of the camp residents say they would not want to move to the proposed ‘Juba House’ location, another UNMISS base on the outskirts of Juba, as they would feel less safe there. MSF urges UNMISS to ensure that any movements are voluntary.

In the capital city and therefore easily accessible, Tomping is the most visible example of a shift in gear that is required country-wide. Elsewhere in South Sudan there are hundreds of thousands of displaced people; tens of thousands are in other UNMISS camps where MSF sees a disturbing lack of preparedness for the impending floods. In the UNMISS base at Malakal, for example, provisional data from MSF indicates alarming mortality rates, while preparations to improve the situation are minimal.

In Minkamman, which is an open camp rather than inside a UN compound, some 82,000 people who fled fighting in Bor are also living in appalling conditions. MSF runs four clinics providing 2,000 consultations per week, and with the current gaps in sanitation, the team is very concerned with the possibility of waterborne diseases. As the full rainy season approaches, the urgency to take action increases daily. Delays related to the inflexible UN system mean that plans are drawn up but virtually no infrastructure is in place.

“The UN mission in South Sudan reported to the UN Security Council on 18 March that ‘Protection of Civilians’ is a key priority,” says Jerome Oberreit, MSF Secretary General. “We urge the UN leadership to remember that protection means more than just corralling people in a guarded compound. Adequate living conditions are also essential, and require urgent, pragmatic action. People must be safe from disease as well as safe from violence.”

Source: APO

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The African Union welcomes the commencement of the Sudan National Consultative Dialogue

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomes the formal commencement of the Sudan National Consultative Dialogue through the convening of a National Political Parties Summit, which was chaired by President Omar Hassan al Bashir, on 6 April 2014.

The Chairperson of the Commission acknowledges that this first meeting is an important step aimed at transitioning Sudan into a new political dispensation where the issues of democracy, constitutional reform, economic stability, peaceful resolution of conflicts and diversity are effectively addressed. She recognizes the need for Sudan to undertake a comprehensive and holistic national dialogue amongst the people of Sudan and congratulates all the political parties which took part in this first meeting for their constructive and candid inputs, which will guide the national dialogue process and will help focus the work of various committees to be established

The Chairperson of the Commission also encourages the Government of Sudan to engage in some immediate national reforms and confidence-building measures, as announced by the President of the Republic during his meeting with the leaders of the political parties, stressing that this would facilitate genuine participation of all the sectors of society in the national dialogue. She urges all the political and other stakeholders to heed the call to take part in this national process to ensure that it encompasses broad views of the Sudanese Nation and to seize this opportunity to advance the democratization agenda in their country and end the suffering of their people.

The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the AU’s continued commitment to assist Sudan, through the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and calls on the international community to stand ready to support the Sudanese in the pursuit for a new political dispensation.

Source: APO

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YooMee Côte d’Ivoire launched the first TD-LTE in Ivory Coast!

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — YooMee Africa Group (, a Swiss based provider of mobile broadband Internet in sub-Saharan Africa, launches its operations in Côte d’Ivoire. After becoming the market leader of broadband Internet in Cameroon, YooMee Africa continues its expansion by deploying its network in Côte d’Ivoire.



Broadband internet in the Ivorian market

YooMee Côte d’Ivoire, based in Abidjan, is launching its LTE services to individuals and businesses. These services are based on the latest global technology TD-LTE, which ensures a new, faster Internet experience with more stability and better reliability for Ivorian users. With these advantages, its great success in Cameroon and an unrivaled quality of service, YooMee anticipates strong growth in the number of Internet users and subscribers for Internet access in Côte d’Ivoire.

YooMee Côte d’Ivoire Technology

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the latest wireless broadband Internet technology used worldwide, by the leading operators in the United States,China, Japan, Europe and the Middle East, etc. The LTE allows Internet communication with data transmission speeds beyond 10 Mbit/s. YooMee relied on the proven expertise of Alcatel-Lucent, a global provider of LTE equipment.

LTE technology frees the mind of those who want to stay connected while traveling. Whether browsing the Internet, watching videos or listening to live-stream music, LTE provides a great connection speed regardless of where the user is located; at home, in the office, or outdoors.

As stated by Mr. Dov Bar-Gera, CEO of YooMee Africa Ltd., “I am very proud that the authorities of Côte d’Ivoire have issued to YooMee the necessary permissions and spectrum to build the first LTE network in the country. With this network, West Africa is leapfrogging into a new era of the Internet.”

YooMee Côte d’Ivoire Internet Equipment

YooMee is to launch its services with a variety of usage plans for their subscribers with 3 product groups: a USB Key and Mobile WiFi, both dedicated for the mobile usage, and the desktop YooMee Box for the office or for home usage. Device prices will varyfrom US$ 100 up to US$ 160.

Mr. Peter Ziegelwanger, Group CTO of YooMee Africa, added, “Our local team deployed the first base of the network in only 100 days. We are all very proud of such achievement.In the coming days, the quality of Internet in Abidjan will be comparable to the great capitals of the world.”


Customers can easily add credit to their YooMee account, thanks to a multitude of partner outlets available to the public throughout the city.

Several types of contracts, or packages, are available, depending on the needs of the customer. The attractive offers start at only US$ 30 for a volume of 8.5GB of data usage. Other offers are available to individuals or businesses, seeking larger volumes of up to 100GB of data usage.

The YooMee Africa Group continues its expansion and plans to soon enter other countries in the region.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of YooMee Africa Group.

Media Contact:

Ms. Pauline Dubois


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For more information on YooMee Côte d’Ivoire as well as for products and services offered, please visit our website: and follow us on our social networks:

Source: APO

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