Leaders vow to make Africa a region of competitiveness and increased well-being

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The eighth annual African Economic Conference concluded today, calling on development and business leaders to turn Africa into a hub of business and development excellence.

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

Photo Donald Kaberuka: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/donald-kaberuka-afdb-president.jpg

The conference, jointly organized each year by the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), brought together 500 decision-makers and development practitioners.

Over the three-day forum, intense discussions were held on issues including the facilitation of trade; the mobility of people, goods and services; political will and government leadership in harmonizing macroeconomic policies; and the role of the private sector in the continent’s regional integration.

On the closing day of the conference, the AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President, Mthuli Ncube, focused on knowledge and capacities, saying knowledge, strong institutions and the management of skills and talents should be at the core of the integration agenda.

He added that political leaders should double their efforts to make sure Africa becomes a tightly integrated growth pole.

Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director, Macro-Economic Policy Division, ECA, recalled the modest beginning of the AEC, which today gathers young African researchers and has become a key platform for knowledge-sharing. He also stressed the importance of the platform for building the capacity for economic analysis on the continent. “We aspire to help young people to be part of that analysis,” he said.

Focusing on the human development impact of integration, Pedro Conceição, Head Economist for UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, said, “there is a need for mechanism of solidarity within Africa, countries needs to share resources as well as knowledge and other aspect of growth.”

Speaking two days earlier, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said regional integration has well-known benefits but isn’t advancing as quickly as it should.

“Progress to date is encouraging, but highly variable. Where the pace is right, the results are beginning to show: almost everywhere tariffs are no longer the big issue, but non-tariff restrictions remain a real impediment.”

Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECA, said, “Economic transformation will ensure that Africa makes optimal use of its human and natural resources, bringing about a shift in the sectoral composition of its economies, in favour of high productivity sectors, especially manufacturing and modern services.”

African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said: “Leadership on regional integration should therefore happen, not only at the government level, but at all levels of African society and all institutions – whether business, civil society or private sector.”

For his part, the South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan emphasized the need for African countries to assert themselves in the ongoing global power shift.

“Too often we are in these global meetings, but with minor voices and inability to project with a common agenda for what we want to achieve ourselves and in the global agenda,” he said, calling for deeper regional integration.

Gordhan said the continent has an opportunity to offer alternative models of development and can create development models that are appropriate for their respective countries.

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

For media information, please contact:

AfDB: Olivia Ndong Obiang, tel. +216 95 99 97 70

ECA: Mercy Wambui, tel. +251 92 10 14 767

UNDP South Africa: Phumza Manqindi, tel. + 27 71 860 8952

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.

About ECA:

Headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (http://www.uneca.org) was established in 1958 with the mandate of promoting the economic and social development of its member States, fostering intra-regional integration, and promoting international cooperation for Africa’s development.

About UNDP:

UNDP (http://www.undp.org) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Innovative start-up enterprises from global South take centre stage at SEED Awards

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A second press conference will follow on the 2013 SEED Awards, which spotlight ground-breaking, green start-up enterprises in areas ranging from product innovation to social media to clean energy production.

The 2013 SEED Awards will place a special focus on Africa, with 20 awards being made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

An awards ceremony and cocktail reception will follow at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

What: SEED Awards press conference

When: Thursday, 31 October, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Who:

o Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director

o Helen Marquard, Executive Director, SEED Initiative

o 2010 SEED Winner from Kenya, Lorna Rutto

o 2013 SEED Winner from India

o 2013 SEED Winner from Peru

Please note: due to heavy security, all journalists should arrive at the compound at least 30 minutes early.

If you have not yet picked up your press badge: please do so on Thursday, 31 October or Friday, 1 November, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To find out more about the Expo, please visit: http://www.southsouthexpo.org/.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Press Conferences on Oil and Gas, SEED Awards (31 October) / Can oil and gas fuel the transition to an inclusive green economy?

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ministers of energy from Kenya, Ghana and Uganda along with top government oil and petroleum officials from the developing world will discuss the responsible management of oil and gas as a part of a healthy energy mix.

Speakers will attempt to answer the question: can oil and gas fuel the transition to an inclusive green economy?

Emerging oil producers in the developing world are mostly island or coastal states, and as such especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It is, therefore, imperative for these countries to place environmental considerations high on the development agenda.

The press conference will also introduce the South-South Energy Initiative, an independent, intergovernmental group aimed at institutionalizing ways for countries to share their technology, data and experience on sustainable oil and gas management.

What: Press conference on the South-South Energy Initiative

When: Thursday, 31 October, 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Who:

o Davis Chirchir, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Kenya

o Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Ghana

o Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda

o Hadi Purnomo, Secretary General, National Energy Council, Indonesia

o Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director

o Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

Source: APO

UN expert praises Africa’s commitment to “the right to adequate food”

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union is sending an important signal by using this year’s Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (Africa Day) to buttress the concept of the “right to adequate food” as an organizing framework for policies and strategies to address food and nutrition insecurity in Africa.

This was the message from Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, as food security stakeholders and international institutional actors convened today in Niger to celebrate Africa Day under the theme “Toward African Renaissance: Achieving the Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition.”

He stated: “It is highly encouraging that the Africa Day will focus on how the international human rights framework can strengthen African approaches to food security. Human rights-based approaches to hunger, involving legal entitlements – to productive resources, to accessing food, to social protection – are making tracks all around the world.”

“The right to food is particularly relevant in Africa, where one in five persons is undernourished – with one in four persons in Sub-Saharan African. Investment is flooding into the continent’s land and agricultural markets, but question marks remain about how this will be turned to the benefit of the 250 million Africans suffering from food insecurity. Are small farmers – themselves often food insecure – gaining new income opportunities? Are the customary rights of herders being respected? Is enough being done to ensure that adequate food is affordable and accessible to poor urban communities?”

“The right to food does not entail a set of policy recommendations to end hunger. Rather, it provides legal protections against developments that threaten people’s ability to produce or procure food. And, equally importantly, it provides a framework for working proactively across policy areas, with the participation of civil society, to put in place the multiple building blocks of food security, from secure land rights to agricultural extension services to social protection schemes. The right to food is a compass that that can sit alongside existing African frameworks and bring food security approaches into coherence.”

The UN expert referred to the findings of his report “Assessing a decade of right to food progress”* presented to the UN General Assembly on 25 October 2013. Drawing on regional right to food consultations in Eastern and Southern Africa (2012) and West Africa (2013), as well as five missions to African countries and submissions from a range of countries, the report documents the multiple contributions of various actors across Africa towards securing the right to food.

Governments

    South Africa, Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Niger have already given direct constitutional protection to the right to food, while reform processes are underway in Nigeria, and Zambia.

    The 2011 Zanzibar Food Security and Nutrition Act affirms the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food and establishes a National Food Security and Nutrition Council, as well as mainstreaming food security into various sectoral policies.

    Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Mali have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, framework legislation for agriculture, food and nutrition that enshrines rights-based principles of entitlements and access to food.

Courts

    The South African High Court ordered a revision of the Marine Living Resources Act and the creation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy to ensure the socio-economic rights of small-scale fishers (2012).

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the ECOWAS Court of Justice ECOWAS ruled that Nigeria violated the right to food of the Ogoni people by failing to protect their land from environmental damage in the Niger delta (2012).

    The High Court of Uganda ordered that compensation be paid to 2,041 individuals who had been evicted from their land in 2001 after the Government sold the land to foreign investors for a coffee plantation (2013).

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)

    The Human Rights Commission in Uganda helped to influence the country’s 2011-16 Food and Nutrition Policy by recommending a rights-based approach.

    NHRIs in Cameroon, Malawi and South Africa monitor violations of the right to food.

Civil-society

    In Malawi, a proposal was made by civil society organizations in 2010 for a national food security bill.

    In Mozambique, the Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security, an interministerial coordination body, led an inclusive process for a food security bill.

    Citizens’ report cards in a range of African countries rate the quality of the public services they are provided.

(*) Read the report, available in six UN languages at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/Annual.aspx

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

UN expert praises Africa’s commitment to “the right to adequate food”

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union is sending an important signal by using this year’s Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (Africa Day) to buttress the concept of the “right to adequate food” as an organizing framework for policies and strategies to address food and nutrition insecurity in Africa.

This was the message from Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, as food security stakeholders and international institutional actors convened today in Niger to celebrate Africa Day under the theme “Toward African Renaissance: Achieving the Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition.”

He stated: “It is highly encouraging that the Africa Day will focus on how the international human rights framework can strengthen African approaches to food security. Human rights-based approaches to hunger, involving legal entitlements – to productive resources, to accessing food, to social protection – are making tracks all around the world.”

“The right to food is particularly relevant in Africa, where one in five persons is undernourished – with one in four persons in Sub-Saharan African. Investment is flooding into the continent’s land and agricultural markets, but question marks remain about how this will be turned to the benefit of the 250 million Africans suffering from food insecurity. Are small farmers – themselves often food insecure – gaining new income opportunities? Are the customary rights of herders being respected? Is enough being done to ensure that adequate food is affordable and accessible to poor urban communities?”

“The right to food does not entail a set of policy recommendations to end hunger. Rather, it provides legal protections against developments that threaten people’s ability to produce or procure food. And, equally importantly, it provides a framework for working proactively across policy areas, with the participation of civil society, to put in place the multiple building blocks of food security, from secure land rights to agricultural extension services to social protection schemes. The right to food is a compass that that can sit alongside existing African frameworks and bring food security approaches into coherence.”

The UN expert referred to the findings of his report “Assessing a decade of right to food progress”* presented to the UN General Assembly on 25 October 2013. Drawing on regional right to food consultations in Eastern and Southern Africa (2012) and West Africa (2013), as well as five missions to African countries and submissions from a range of countries, the report documents the multiple contributions of various actors across Africa towards securing the right to food.

Governments

    South Africa, Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Niger have already given direct constitutional protection to the right to food, while reform processes are underway in Nigeria, and Zambia.

    The 2011 Zanzibar Food Security and Nutrition Act affirms the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the right to food and establishes a National Food Security and Nutrition Council, as well as mainstreaming food security into various sectoral policies.

    Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Mali have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, framework legislation for agriculture, food and nutrition that enshrines rights-based principles of entitlements and access to food.

Courts

    The South African High Court ordered a revision of the Marine Living Resources Act and the creation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy to ensure the socio-economic rights of small-scale fishers (2012).

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the ECOWAS Court of Justice ECOWAS ruled that Nigeria violated the right to food of the Ogoni people by failing to protect their land from environmental damage in the Niger delta (2012).

    The High Court of Uganda ordered that compensation be paid to 2,041 individuals who had been evicted from their land in 2001 after the Government sold the land to foreign investors for a coffee plantation (2013).

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)

    The Human Rights Commission in Uganda helped to influence the country’s 2011-16 Food and Nutrition Policy by recommending a rights-based approach.

    NHRIs in Cameroon, Malawi and South Africa monitor violations of the right to food.

Civil-society

    In Malawi, a proposal was made by civil society organizations in 2010 for a national food security bill.

    In Mozambique, the Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security, an interministerial coordination body, led an inclusive process for a food security bill.

    Citizens’ report cards in a range of African countries rate the quality of the public services they are provided.

(*) Read the report, available in six UN languages at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/Annual.aspx

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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