GENEVA, Switzerland, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday morning 9 December, to attend events in honour of Nelson Mandela who died Thursday, 5 December.
Monday afternoon Tveit will visit the Mandela home in Houghton, where he will lay roses and then offer condolences to the Mandela family. Afterwards he will be sharing in a prayer service with the family. The service will also involve South African church leaders.
On Tuesday, Tveit will attend the memorial service for Mandela being held at the First Bank Stadium near Johannesburg. Nearly 100 heads of state will be attending the ceremony.
“It important that the WCC be present in South Africa during the time when South Africans and all of us mourn the passing of one of the great leaders for justice and peace in our time,” Tveit said.
“For the church it is a moment to recognize the longterm relationship that the WCC had with Mandela during the struggle against apartheid and the future of the church as we gain inspiration from his example in working for equality, reconciliation, justice and peace,” Tveit said.
Mandela visited the WCC offices in June 1990, only a few months after his release from prison and in December 1998 spoke at the WCC 8th Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday, Tveit will be participating in an interfaith service in Pretoria. Mandela’s body will then lie in state for the next three days. Tveit returns to the WCC offices in Geneva on Thursday and prepare for a memorial service for Mandela at the Ecumenical Centre on Monday, 16 December.
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Celebrating the life and works of Nelson Mandela, Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, called Mandela a “global icon of justice, peace and dignity” for Africa and the world.
An anti-apartheid activist, South Africa’s first black president and a Nobel peace laureate, Mandela passed away on 5 December in Johannesburg.
“We affirm the role played by this global icon for inspiring and restoring dignity for Africa and revitalizing hope for the marginalized and oppressed of the world,” said Abuom.
Abuom, a member of the laity who comes from the Anglican Church of Kenya, and has worked for economic justice, peace and reconciliation, called Mandela’s legacy an inspiration for the churches.
Abuom expressed deep appreciation for Mandela’s support and respect for the ecumenical movement for its contributions to the struggle against apartheid.
“Mandela’s message during his visit to the WCC headquarters in Geneva after his release from prison in 1990, and his address at the WCC 8th Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1998, greatly encouraged and strengthened our commitment in our search for reconciliation, healing and forgiveness,” she said.
Abuom added that “Mandela’s legacy includes his capacity to forgive his enemies, which inspires us in a world where we all yearn for a just peace.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and the people of South Africa during this time of mourning. May his memory be eternal!” she concluded.
VATICAN, Holy See, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience the president of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou N’Guesso, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State.
During the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the positive contribution made by the Catholic Church in Congolese society, in particular in the fields of welfare and education. Mention was made of the good existing relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Congo, and various themes of common interest were considered, renewing intentions to strengthen further bilateral collaboration.
Finally, the focus turned to several questions of interest to Central Africa, including various situations of a humanitarian nature, with particular attention to assistance for refugees, as well as the problem of security in the Region, also in relation to the growth of tensions due to fundamentalism.
TUNIS, Tunisia, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Republic of Turkey participated in the African Development Bank Group’s Board Meetings for the first time last week in Tunis (http://www.afdb.org), following the country’s admission as the 26th State Participant in the African Development Fund and the 78th Member State of the African Development Bank.
“Our Constituency is delighted to welcome Turkey as an official member of AfDB and to our Constituency,” said Executive Director Hau Sing Tse, who represents Canada, China, Korea, Kuwait and Turkey.
“Our Chair represented Turkey for the first time at the Board today [December 3, 2013]. I shared with the Board our excitement about Turkey’s membership at this juncture of Turkey’s engagement with Africa through its ‘Opening to Africa’ policy.
“It is especially timely for Turkey to join AfDB as Turkey enters into a new phase of deepening its engagement with Africa. Turkey values AfDB’s unique and pivotal role in helping to shape Africa’s transformation, and, as a new member, looks forward to making a useful contribution to support AfDB in this regard,” Tse added.
A Declaration issued by the Bank Group’s President, Donald Kaberuka, on October 29, 2013 formalized Turkey’s membership in the Bank Group.
Turkey’s admission to the Bank Group followed the completion of the membership process after the approval of its membership application by the Bank Group’s Board of Governors on May 14, 2008.
Membership of the Bank Group is subject to the completion of the membership process including signing of the Agreements establishing the Fund and Bank, deposit of the instruments of acceptance/approval of the Fund and the Bank agreements, and the payment of the initial subscriptions to the Fund and capital stock of the Bank.
The agreement establishing the AfDB was signed by 23 newly independent African countries on August 4, 1963 in Khartoum, Sudan. It became effective on September 10, 1964, when 20 member countries subscribed to 65 per cent of the Bank’s capital stock which then stood at US $250 million. The inaugural meeting of the Board of Governors (mostly Finance Ministers) was held from November 4-7, 1964 in Lagos, Nigeria. The Bank Group’s key mandate is to contribute to the sustainable economic development and social progress of its regional members, individually and jointly.
The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessionary window of the Bank Group was established on November 29, 1972, by the African Development Bank and 13 non-regional countries (State Participants). At the end of December 2012, cumulative ADF resources amounted to UA 22.3 billion (US $34.2 billion)
The AfDB Group’s authorized capital stood at UA 66.98 billion (US $103 billion) at the end of 2012. The capital subscription by the regional and non-regional countries is based on a 60/40 per cent ratio.
The Bank’s has approved 3,769 operations (loans and grants) totaling US $96 billion (UA 63.66 billion) from 1967 when it began operations to year-end 2012.
AfDB Group maintains AAA ratings from the main international rating agencies demonstrating its strong financial position.
See (http://country-facts.findthedata.org/l/97/Turkey) for data on Turkey.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the three food agencies of the United Nations are teaming up to raise awareness of how access to financial services – such as bank accounts, short-term credit, small loans, savings and insurance – can help improve the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the rural poor.
Queen Máxima joins the visit in her capacity as UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). She arrived in Addis Ababa today at the start of a five-day trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania, together with Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy-Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), and Adolfo Brizzi, the Director of Policy and Technical Advisory Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). On Wednesday, the group is scheduled to travel to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where they will stay until 13 December.
Queen Máxima and the senior representatives of the three Rome-based UN food agencies –FAO, IFAD and WFP – will meet in both Ethiopia and Tanzania with senior government officials and high officials of national and international financial organizations. During fieldtrips in both countries they will meet rural community members and smallholder farmers and discuss how expanding access to financial services can help farmers to manage irregular cash flows and respond to external shocks such as drought and flood, invest in capital to improve their productivity, reach markets and access insurance to mitigate risks of crop loss.
The UNSGSA and the three food agencies are working together with governments and the private sector to extend financial services to marginalized groups, especially women, who often face legal and policy barriers, as well as disproportionate obstacles to services, training and information. Greater financial inclusion can also help increase the success of small producers who are not served by microfinance, but are also often perceived as ‘too risky’ by commercial banks.
On Thursday, 12December, Queen Máxima will givethe keynote speech during the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Framework at the Bank of Tanzania. A press conference will follow this event.
Press briefings of the four UN organizations will be held in Addis Ababa on 11 December and in Dar es Salaam on 13 December.