Libya : Main results of the Foreign Affairs Council

The Council adopted conclusions on Libya. The EU warmly welcomes the appointment of Ghassan Salamé as new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, who will play a central mediation role based on the Libyan Political Agreement.

The conclusions recognises that recent violence threatens Libya’s stability. The EU believes there is no solution to the Libyan crisis through the use of force. The Council reiterates its firm support to the Libyan Political Agreement and to the Presidency Council and Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj established under it as the sole legitimate government authorities in the country. The EU calls on all armed groups to refrain from violence, to commit to demobilisation and to recognize the authorities entrusted by the Libyan Political Agreement as the only ones having the right to control Libya’s defence and security forces.

CSDP actions

The Council also agreed to extend the CSDP mission EUBAM Libya until 31 December 2018. EUBAM Libya currently assists and engages with the Libyan authorities on border management, law enforcement and criminal justice with a particular emphasis on the South of Libya. The mission will also work on planning for a possible civilian capacity-building and crisis assistance mission.

The Council also underlined the importance of Operation Sophia. EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia is the EU’s naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation also has two supporting tasks, namely to train the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo.

Sanctions

In an effort to further disrupt the business model of people smugglers and human traffickers, the Council introduced restrictions on the export and supply to Libya of inflatable boats (dinghies) and outboard motors. EU member states will now have a legal basis to prevent the export or supply of these goods to Libya where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be used by people smugglers and human traffickers. The restrictions will also apply to dinghies and motors which are transiting through the EU en route to Libya. The restrictions adopted today will not prevent the export or sales of these goods when they are meant for legitimate uses by the civilian population, for instance for fishermen, who may need motors for their boats.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Council of the European Union.

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Source:: Main results of the Foreign Affairs Council on Libya

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Ghana : Accra launch of The Africa Data Revolution Report

The inaugural edition of the Africa Data Revolution Report (ADRR 2016) will be launched on 19 July in Accra, Ghana, as part of activities marking the 2nd Africa Open Data Conference, which will take place from July 17 – 21, 2017.

Jointly published by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Wide Web Foundation and the Open Data for Development Network (OD4D), ADRR is a biennial report that maps the data ecosystem in Africa with reference to the production, distribution and use of data by public, private and civil society actors, as they relate to the 17 SDGs.

Commenting on the importance of the report, Oliver Chinganya, Director of the Africa Centre for Statistics at ECA said, “there is need for us as Africa to boost the capacity of national data ecosystems fairly early in the implementation cycle of the sustainable development goals, that is why the ECA and its partners have produced this report and will continue to do so.”

ADRR is expected to enhance the success of Agendas 2030 and 2063 in Africa, as explained by Mansour Ndiaye, Team Leader for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development at UNDP’s Regional Service Center for Africa.

“ADRR will enable us to strengthen open, inclusive and participatory national statistical systems with contributions from all stakeholders to improve the availability and use of data to help make the SDGs and Agenda 2063 a reality in African countries.”

For Fernand Perini, Coordinator of the OD4D, the report “builds on our commitment to support and strengthen regional and global networks, developing global benchmarking tools for country performance, and supporting rigorous research on the impact of data in people’s lives.”

A senior policy manager at the Web Foundation, Nnenna Nwakanma, said Africa is the first region to produce a Data Consensus and a Data Revolution Report, but that there’s need for more.

“More than data, what people want are solutions to their problems and that means translating these reports into action. The Web Foundation is looking forward to helping make this data revolution an open data revolution.”

The launch will be marked by a panel discussion with focus on the report’s findings and ways of translating them into actions; assess the status of data revolution in Africa; identify challenges; and how to leverage open data for Africa data revolution.

The Africa Open Data Conference provides a platform for stakeholders to dialogue openly and take concrete action on common challenges and shared solutions for communities and partners across Africa. The conference will also feature a side event on The Role of Open Data in the Africa Data Revolution.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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Source:: Accra launch of The Africa Data Revolution Report

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Ghana : Corporate Governance Technical Workshop for SOEs

H. E. François Pujolas, the Ambassador of France to Ghana and the Honorable Charles Adu Boahen, Deputy Minister of Finance opened the technical workshop on Corporate Governance for State-Owned Enterprises jointly organized by AFD (Agence Française de Développement) and the Ministry of Finance, at the Labadi Beach Hotel on Thursday, 13th July 2017.

The objective of this workshop was to strengthen the financial and management capacity of the SOEs in order to increase their capacity to finance their capital expenditure on their own balance sheet without state guarantee.

The workshop has also afforded the opportunity for AFD to present its overall strategy and share its experience in other countries in terms of non-sovereign financing as well as the modalities for assessing such funding. A one-on-one session with the heads of departments and managers is billed to be the platform on which the SOEs can glide to kick-start the process.

Despite the fact that public debt must be contained, the country still needs to increase its investment which will serve as a catalyst for growth. This is where this technical workshop on Corporate Governance becomes relevant. Creating the right platform for SOEs to be able to borrow on their own balance sheet without State guarantee becomes crucial to secure Ghana’s future economic development”, the Ambassador stated. “With the kind of robust economic environment Ghana has, nothing should stop the SOEs from taking centre stage in the government’s quest to reduce public debt”, Yvonne Quansah, Director at the External Resources Mobilization Department of Ministry of Finance stated for her part.

The workshop has been facilitated by experts from the Operations Department of the AFD Head Office, along with the Program Managers from the Centre for Financial Economic and Banking Studies, which is AFD’s Corporate University (CEFEB). It was organised in the framework of the “France in Ghana 1957-2017: moving forward together” initiative, as one of the many events that the French Embassy in Ghana is setting up during this special year to celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations between France and Ghana.

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

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Source:: Technical Workshop on Corporate Governance for SOEs

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Continental Free Trade Area negotiations moving in the right direction

Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations are moving in the right direction and at the desired pace, with the first phase of the negotiations expected to be concluded by the end of 2017, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), David Luke, said Friday.

Speaking at the just-ended Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 where the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) hosted a side event to unveil a publication titled: “The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa – A Human Rights Perspective”, Mr. Luke said the CFTA negotiating principles emphasise the importance of ensuring that the process is inclusive, consultative and participatory.

The discussions were held under the topic: “The CFTA: Ensuring Inclusive Outcomes Through Boosting Intra-African Trade and Connectivity”.

“It is expected that the final agreement will include provisions of importance to ensuring a win-win CFTA,” said Mr. Luke as he updated participants on the negotiations.

“The CFTA cannot be win-win unless it is consistent with the economic justice and human rights values that are embodied in Africa’s Agenda 2063, the global Agenda 2030, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and international human rights treaties African countries have signed up to,” he added.

The CFTA offers the continent an important tool for achieving Africa’s poverty reduction objectives contained in the continent’s Agenda 2063 and the Global Agenda 2030.

The ECA’s Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA) VIII Report on “Bringing the CFTA About” demonstrates that the outcomes of the CFTA can be ‘win-win’, such that all countries across Africa benefit and the interests of vulnerable communities within countries are carefully addressed, said Mr. Luke.

The CFTA, he added, provides a variety of opportunities that cater to the diversity of African countries, including the resource rich, agricultural-based, or more industrialized.

On the way forward, Mr. Luke said the ECA and its partners aim to continue their research on the CFTA, and promote the importance of human rights in the context of Africa’s trade.

“We encourage you to share the findings of this report widely to ensure its recommendations have a positive influence on the remainder of the CFTA process, including the second phase of negotiations, and implementation and monitoring phases,” he urged participants.

Priority policy recommendations that are in the report include the need to ensure broad consultation and participation in the CFTA negotiations and implementation; need to improve collection of disaggregated data; need to explicitly recognize women; fully estimate potential revenue gains and losses; engage in paced, layered and targeted liberalization; maintaining policy space and ensuring adjustment mechanisms to monitor and evaluate CFTA impacts.

The CFTA will bring together fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $3.4 trillion

With the CFTA, African leaders aim to, among other things, create a single continental market for goods and services, free movement of business persons and investments and expand intra-African trade. The CFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise levels.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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