BEIJING, China, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei announces:
From December 9 to 11, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao will go to South Africa as the Special Representative of President Xi Jinping to attend the funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fighting that has rocked the capital city Bangui since 5 December has forced thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge in places of worship and hospitals, where conditions are worsening by the hour. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has today begun to distribute food (beans, maize, oil and salt) to some 20,000 people (over 12,000 taking refuge at the Don Bosco child-schooling centre, 5,000 at Saint-Pierre, 2,000 at the Boy-Rabe monastery and a further 80 people in the mosque in PK5 neighbourhood). Latrines are also being installed at Boy-Rabe.
“We’re extremely concerned about the situation here,” said Arnaud de Baecque, deputy head of the ICRC delegation in the capital. “We call on the authorities to do their utmost to protect the population. We also appeal to all those involved in the fighting to facilitate the work of the Red Cross.”
The ICRC’s priority is to ensure that staff of the Central African Red Cross Society and the ICRC itself have access to most severely affected parts of the city to evacuate the wounded and recover bodies. Despite the precarious quiet observed since Friday morning, de Baecque said, the situation remained tense in the neighbourhoods of Marché central, Boy-Rabe and Kassaï.
“The fighting has taken a heavy toll among the population,” said de Baecque. The Central African Red Cross Society estimates that 300 people have been killed, but that number may rise in coming days.” Since Thursday, he said, the Red Cross had taken 95 wounded people to hospital. The ICRC was aiding the National Society with vehicles, fuel, first-aid supplies and body bags for the dead. The ICRC had also supplied the Bangui’s Community Hospital with enough medical and surgical supplies to treat 50 wounded people.
ABUJA, Nigeria, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The ECOWAS Commission has learnt with a deep sense of loss and devastation, the passing on of former South African President Dr. Nelson Mandela.
The Commission notes that Dr. Mandela as a charismatic World leader and international icon of peace and reconciliation guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy.
In spite of his imprisonment for 27 years for fighting against white minority rule, Dr. Mandela has bequeathed to his country and the world a legacy of forgiveness and an unmatched example in leadership by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and serving only one term as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
In the death of Dr. Mandela on 5th December 2013, at 95, Africa and the world have lost a rare legend, a distinguished role model, great freedom fighter and a man of peace and courage.
On behalf of ECOWAS Institutions, the Commission wishes to commiserate with the Mandela family, the Government and the people of South Africa over this huge loss.
While Mandela’s big shoes would be difficult to fill, the greatest tribute to his memory is to immortalize his legacy and the principles of peace and reconciliation which he cherished, lived and died for.
May God grant him eternal rest and his immediate family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
H.E. Désiré Kadré OUEDRAOGO President of the ECOWAS Commission
DUBLIN, Ireland, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., is visiting Kenya this week to examine the increasing opportunities for Irish companies in the East African market.
During the visit, the Minister will host a business breakfast in Nairobi for Kenyan and Irish business contacts where he will announce plans to develop the existing Nairobi based business network to strengthen trade links.
Speaking from Nairobi, Minister Costello said:
“This visit will help us to identify which sectors have the greatest potential for Irish companies in Kenya and the wider East African region where economic growth is more than 6 % per year.
On the recent Trade Mission I led to South Africa and Nigeria, Irish companies secured new contracts totalling over €7m in the financial services, telecommunications and educations sectors. I believe the East African market has similar potential for Irish companies, and I would hope that a trade mission within the next year can help to open up these markets to Irish companies who are prepared to explore that potential”
The visit is part of the Government’s Africa Strategy which stressed the need to think beyond aid and to develop stronger political and economic links with African nations. Kenya was identified as a priority country in East Africa under the Africa Strategy given its potential for growth and its position as a gateway for the East Africa region.
Minister Costello said:
“The only long-term solution to poverty reduction for Africa is sustained economic growth leading to increased employment and trade. Increasing two-way trade benefits Ireland and our African partners.
Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has grown by over 200 per cent in the last decade. This Government wants to ensure that Irish companies benefit from new opportunities in Africa and that Ireland continues to support African countries to prosper.”
During the visit, Minister Costello will also launch Value Added in Africa’s event on international certifications. Value Added in Africa (VAA), with funding from Irish Aid, helps African producers to develop wholly African finished products for export to European markets. VAA has also developed the ‘Proudly Made in Africa’ label to assure wholesale buyers of the quality of African processed goods.
Minister Costello said:
“Value Added Africa does as the name says. It helps African business people add more value to their products in Africa so they can get a better price for their products. Ireland is proud to play a small part in helping African companies achieve their full potential.”
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, December 9, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the fourth review of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The completion of the review enables the immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 48.78 million (US$75 million) to Côte d’Ivoire, bringing total disbursements under the ECF arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR 308.94 million (US$475.2 million). The Executive Board also concluded the Article IV consultation for Côte d’Ivoire. A press release on the Executive Board’s assessment of the consultation will be issued in due course.
The Executive Board approved the three-year ECF arrangement for Côte d’Ivoire on November 4, 2011 for an amount equivalent to SDR 390.24 million (120 percent of the country’s quota in the IMF, see Press Release No. 11/399).
Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair issued the following statement:
“Côte d’Ivoire’s macroeconomic performance under the Fund-supported program has been strong. Growth has rebounded, supported by a surge in public investment and an upturn in business and consumer confidence and inflation has remained moderate. Considerable progress has also been made in structural reforms. While the medium-term outlook is positive, continued implementation of sound policies and reforms will be necessary to sustain high growth and improve the living standards, key objectives of the authorities’ National Development Plan.
“The fiscal position has improved significantly since 2011. For 2013, the fiscal deficit is expected to be lower than programmed, owing to below-target capital spending. The draft 2014 budget is built on conservative macroeconomic assumptions, and aims to further reduce the fiscal deficit while allowing for greater capital spending. Nevertheless, further efforts will be needed to open up fiscal space, including by broadening the tax base and reducing exemptions. Improving public financial management should also remain a priority while a medium-term debt strategy is needed to safeguard external stability.
“Although Côte d’Ivoire’s banking sector is generally sound, it needs to be strengthened to better support economic development and financial inclusion. In particular, steps should be taken to improve the supervisory framework, facilitate bank’s liquidity management, and promote credit to the private sector.
“The authorities have implemented several measures to enhance governance and improve the business climate but more needs to be done to strengthen the legal framework in order to attract foreign and private domestic investment.”