Oct 242014
 

HARARE, Zimbabwe, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ms. Antoinette Monsio Sayeh, Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) African Department, visited Zimbabwe from October 21-24, 2014, to meet with the Zimbabwean authorities and other stakeholders and to present the Fall 2014 Regional Economic Outlook, on Sub-Saharan Africa (see Press Release No:14/475). At the conclusion of her visit she made the following statement:

“It has been a great pleasure for me to visit Zimbabwe. I have had the privilege of meeting Chief Secretary of the President’s Office and Cabinet Dr. Misheck Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr S. Udenge, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Dr. John Mangudya and members of parliament. I also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the private sector, civil society and development partners.

“In my meetings with the Zimbabwean authorities, we exchanged views on the global economy, the regional economic outlook, and how to improve the growth prospects for Zimbabwe. In particular, we discussed how the IMF can further support the authorities’ economic reform agenda and their efforts toward normalizing relations with both multilateral and bilateral creditors.

“For most of sub-Saharan Africa, growth trends remain favorable. We expect the region’s economy to expand by 5 percent in 2014 and 5¾ percent in 2015, and sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to remain the second fastest-growing region in the world, just behind emerging and developing Asia. However, this positive picture co-exists with the dire situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where the Ebola outbreak is exacting a heavy human and economic toll. Lower growth in emerging markets and the anticipated monetary tightening in advanced economies could also have a negative impact on the region. Sustaining high growth in the region remains the key policy consideration and will require striking the right balance between scaling up public investment to fill infrastructure gaps and maintaining debt sustainability.

“With regard to Zimbabwe, economic conditions remain difficult. During our meetings, I highlighted four issues that are key to helping fast-track the country’s policy reform agenda and to gathering support toward a strategy for clearing the outstanding arrears: balancing the primary fiscal budget; restoring confidence and stability in Zimbabwe’s financial sector; addressing the country’s debt challenge; and enhancing the business environment with a view to attracting investments. I know these issues are high on the authorities’ policy reform agenda, and they are going to be monitored with the help of IMF staff under a proposed new 15-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) through to December 2015.1

“I welcome the authorities’ intent to re-engage with the international financial community in addressing the country’s economic challenges.

“I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the Zimbabwean government and people for their gracious hospitality.”

1 An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff, whereby the latter agree to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

Oct 242014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has secured a €1 billion (£800 million) funding pledge at the European Council meetings in Brussels, following a call for European leaders to do more to fight the disease in West Africa.

As part of the commitment, the UK has boosted its own response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa by £80 million, bringing its total contribution to more than £200 million.

The Prime Minister wrote to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and fellow leaders last week to warn of the need to act fast to contain and defeat this deadly virus, stating that “if we do not significantly step up our collective response now, the loss of life and damage to the political, economic and social fabric of the region will be substantial and the threat posed to our citizens will also grow.” The Prime Minister set out that the immediate priority was to raise contributions from the EU and its member states to €1 billion in total, which has now been achieved.

Britain’s own redoubled efforts to fight Ebola follow a visit to Sierra Leone by International Development Secretary Justine Greening to see the results of Britain’s first tranche of support and identify next steps in the UK’s international work.

The additional £80 million will increase the number of burial units and support the creation of up to 200 community care centres across the country. Together these measures will promote early diagnosis, isolation and treatment and so reduce the risk of the infection spreading.

David Cameron said:

“Ebola not only represents a risk to the region but has the potential to become one of the biggest public health risks to the EU. That’s why it’s so important that we take action and why I made clear to my European counterparts that they needed to do much more. We have now secured €1 billion in commitments across Europe and Britain is leading the way with an additional £80m. We must not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face and the action that will be needed.”

Justine Greening said:

“Visiting Sierra Leone was a chance to see the results we are already achieving in our fight against Ebola. This includes the heroic efforts of British medics, soldiers and humanitarian workers, as well as Sierra Leoneans who are volunteering in their thousands to be trained as healthcare and burial workers.

“Being on the ground also gave me a clear sense of what is needed in the next phase of our work, and the steps we must take to ensure our efforts match the scale of the crisis the country is facing.

“Britain is determined to stand with the people of Sierra Leone as they battle Ebola.”

The additional support announced today includes the following:

£10 million to ensure safe burials

This funding will include support for the important work of the burial teams run by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC). Ten teams are already fully operational and the IFRC have begun recruitment to increase their capacity. It will also support NGOs in their work to help the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health in promoting behaviour change activities to ensure safe burial practices.

£50 million to diagnose and isolate Ebola cases

Early isolation of Ebola patients is essential to halting the spread of infection to others. This support will cover the staffing and running costs, as well medical supplies and protective equipment, for local diagnosis and care centres already being piloted across Sierra Leone – and enable the construction of up to 200 centres over the next three months. This will ensure thousands of patients across Sierra Leone receive a swift diagnosis and provide the isolation facilities needed to reduce the spread of the outbreak.

£20 million contribution to the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund

This will ensure the UN has the resources needed to significantly step up their contribution to the Ebola effort in Sierra Leone and gives us a strong platform to lobby other countries to contribute to the global effort.

Ms Greening’s recent visit was also an opportunity to thank the British heroes who have travelled to Sierra Leone to fight this disease, including humanitarian aid workers, medics, government officials and military personnel, all of whom are playing a crucial role in Britain’s response.

Notes to editors

• Current estimates suggest that the rate of infection stands at 1.7, meaning for every ten people who contract Ebola, 17 more will become infected. However, if infected people are isolated quickly after they contract the disease, they are much less likely to pass it on to their families and communities.

Oct 242014
 

ACCRA, Ghana, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 22nd October 2014

Residence of France, Accra

The Oil & Gas Workshop “Update on the Transversal Business Opportunities in the Oil & Gas Sector” organized by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ghana (CCFG) with the collaboration and support of H.E. Frédéric Clavier, Ambassador of France to Ghana, took place on Wednesday 22nd October 2014 at the Residence of France.

For its first workshop the CCFG counted on Dr.TheophilusAhwireng, Ag. Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Commission; Mr. Gauthier Pourcelle, Managing Director of Technip Ghana; Mr. KwabenaAforo-Addo, Director of Ghana Oil Club and Sales Director of General Electric Oil & Gas and Mr. Olivier Van Parys, Managing Director of Total Petroleum Ghana as expert panellists.

The workshop, opened by Mr. Patrick Prado, President of the CCFG, had the objective of deepening the knowledge in the whole energy value chain and discovering the diverse business opportunities offered by this sector. Besides, the workshop was followed by a networking cocktail where the 73 participants had the opportunity to exchange and discuss.

Since the launch on the 27th May 2014, the CCFG has provided varied services to different companies and currently has a large number of members belonging to diverse sectors of the economy. Among them French Companies, Ghanaian companies as well as International companies. At this regard, Mr. Patrick Prado, stressed that “from SMEs to transnational corporations in addition to individuals can join the CCFG. Everybody who wants to boost its business has a place in the Chamber”.

The aim of the CCFG is to promote and support Ghanaian investments in France, French investments in Ghana benefiting both countries and to assist the already existing companies. For achieving that, the CCFG offers a platform for exchange and business networking and provide a wide range of services (such as prospecting missions, market studies or publicity services) and activities (such as cocktails or workshops). The results will not only be translated into economic growth or raise of employment but also into the building of long-term bridges between Ghana and France.

Oct 242014
 

JUBA, South Sudan, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As part of our celebrations of United Nations Day this year, UNMISS peacekeepers will help residents of the Central Equatorial State community of Kapuri with their on-going cons…

Oct 242014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The fifth Annual Retreat of Special Envoys, Representatives and Mediators on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa, held in Arusha, concluded with renewed commitment by participants to ‘silence the guns’ on the continent by 2020. During the Retreat, participants reflected on various experiences, drawing lessons in order to strengthen the Continent’s efforts towards this goal.

In their Declaration at the end of the Retreat, participants vowed to tackle increasing threats posed by emerging transnational crimes such as terrorism and violent extremism, drug trafficking, piracy, illicit arms proliferation, human trafficking and smuggling as well as money laundering.

The retreat, which was opened by H.E. Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of the Republic of Tanzania and Amb. Smaïl Chergui, AU Peace and Security Commissioner brought together more than one hundred and thirty participants, including former African leaders, representatives of the AU Commission, as well as its Special Envoys and Representatives. It also included the Chair of the Peace and Security Council for the Month of October, Ethiopia; members of the Panel of the Wise, as well as Friends of the Panel of the wise, representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) for conflict prevention, management and resolution, the United Nations, League of Arab States as well as several scholars and international partners.

Making his closing remarks, at the culmination of the three days of deliberation, Amb. Smaïl Chergui stated, “The frank and open discussions over the last three days, will no doubt go a long way towards elaborating a concrete roadmap towards silencing the guns by 2020.”Amb. Chergui, thanked H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete and the Government of Tanzania for its warm hospitality and for hosting the fifth edition of the Annual Retreat, adding that this was testimony to Tanzania’s continued commitment to shaping the continent’s peace, prosperity and integration agenda, a clear extension of its contribution during the early years of Africa’s liberation struggle.

Building on the momentum of the Durban Retreat of April 2014 and the Abidjan Retreat of October 2013, the Arusha retreat succeeded in framing practical aspects of the implementation of Agenda 2063, Africa’s roadmap for the next 50 years, in particular critical aspects relating to the promotion of peace, security and stability on the Continent.

The meeting reviewed a wide range of issues including the state of Africa in 2014, and the causes of conflicts and instability, the triggers and facilitators of violence and the impact of global developments on Africa among the climate change.

The Retreat was preceded by a meeting of AU Special Envoys, Representatives and Heads of AU Missions and Liaison Offices on Monday 20 October, 2014. The meeting took place on the cusp of the outbreak and spread of the Ebola Virus Disease as well as the AUC Chairperson’s visit to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries hardest hit by the outbreak. As such, participants welcomed the concerted contributions by Member States in true African solidarity as well as the response measures undertaken by the Executive Council and the PSC to tackle Ebola.

The Retreat also paid homage to Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of the OAU, and to Mr. Hashim Mbita, former Chairperson of the Liberation Committee, for their estimable contribution to Pan-Africanism and the liberation of the Continent from colonialism and conflict. The inaugural ‘Son of Africa’ award, which was presented to them by Amb. Chergui on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, H.E Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during a gala dinner hosted in their honour, will continue to be presented on a regular basis to eminent Africans who have served the Continent with great distinction.

Oct 242014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM and Tunisia’s National Observatory for Youth (ONJ) will today (24/10) open a new Swiss-funded Migration Information Center for young people in Tunis.

The centre, which is backed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will provide information and promote safe and legal migration options among Tunisian youth.

Two counsellors trained as part of an IOM project: Solidarity with the Children of Maghreb and Mashreq (SALEMM), will advise young people on opportunities abroad including study, internships, volunteering and employment.

The centre will use information materials and counselling to promote legal migration and deter vulnerable young people from considering irregular migration options and fraudulent jobs offered by human smugglers and traffickers.

ONJ counsellors will hold weekly information sessions on Friday afternoons. The first session, scheduled today (24/10) will address: “Travelling and legal migration opportunities to Switzerland” and will be supported by Swiss consular staff.

The centre will complement the work of three Migration Resource Centres established in the cities of Tunis, Kef and Sfax in 2013. The IOM-funded centres were set up in partnership with Tunisia’s National Agency for Employment and Independent Work (ANETI) and the Office for Tunisians Abroad (OTE).

Oct 232014
 

PARIS, France, October 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The start of the trial of 83 people, including Simone Gbagbo who stands accused of attempting to undermine the security of the State, is an important milestone in the judicial process related to the Ivory Coast’s post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011. However, our organisations consider this to be only the beginning of the process, as the most serious crimes are still under investigation by prosecutors. When these proceed to trial, it is the alleged perpetrators of crimes from all parties who should finally face justice.

“The Ivorian justice system chose to prosecute the crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis in several stages. Today, it is not the serious violations of human rights that will be prosecuted in Court, but only charges related to the security of the State. We must commend this progress, but the victims – who still carry their wounds – impatiently await the commencement of trials for more serious crimes. Thus, this is not the definitive trial of the crisis which begins today, but rather a first trial of the crisis “ stated Yacouba Doumbia, MIDH President.

Most of the 83 people referred to the Criminal Court of Abidjan, by an ordinance of the Indictment Chamber (10 July 2013), will face multiple charges, including threatening national security, attacking or conspiring against the authority of the State, creation of armed bands, directing or participating in an insurrectionist movement, and disturbing public order.

“ In this first trial, the only “victims” are the State and public order. Certainly, this is a major step towards justice, but we must not forget that the bereaved families, the victims of sexual crimes and those who lost so much between December 2010 and April 2011 – that these people are still waiting for investigations to move forward and satisfy their demands for truth, justice and reparation. Moreover, crimes were committed by both sides, and victims will not cease in their demands to see both sides face justice. “ declared Patrick Baudoin, FIDH Honorary President.

Cases involving serious human rights violations are still being investigated by the Special Investigation and Examination Unit (CSEI). A second trial will have to be organized by the Ivorian justice system, in which some of the accused in the current trial who are also under investigation by the CSEI, might be referred to the Court a second time.

“ We will follow and observe this trial in its entirety because it is an important challenge for the Ivorian justice system. It is the first time that a Criminal Court will have to try so many accused in a single case. It is imperative that the Court rises to the challenge of providing a fair trial that respects the rights of the defendants, otherwise ongoing investigations into other crimes will be discredited. “ declared Drissa Traoré, FIDH Vice-President.

FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH have filed a civil action in the “violent crimes” case. Our organisations assist a hundred victims before Ivorian justice, and will have a team of legal observers present for the duration of the trial.

“ Neither political nor electoral considerations have any place in this judicial process. Over the past several months, we have denounced the circumstances in which some of the accused were released on bail by a decision of the Executive. To succeed, this trial will have to uphold only the Law and its proceedings, not political considerations that do not belong in Court “ declared Pierre Adjoumani Kouame, LIDHO President.

Our organizations recall that an international arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Simone Gbagbo on the 22nd of November 2012, as an indirect co-perpetrator for four counts of crimes against humanity – murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts – allegedly committed during the post-electoral violence between the 16th of December 2010 and the 12th of April 2011. According to the principle of complementarity of jurisdiction between the ICC and the national courts, national authorities will either have to try Simone Gbagbo for the above mentioned crimes, or cooperate with the ICC and transfer her to the Court in The Hague.

Zambia National Day

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Oct 232014
 

WASHINGTON, October 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

October 23, 2014

Zambia National Day

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Zambia on the 50th anniversary of your independence on October 24.

Fifty years ago, when your country was born, thousands of Zambians took to the streets shouting kwatcha – the dawn. Today, Zambia’s dawn and the promise of peace and democracy has become a reality.

As representatives from all over the world gather in Lusaka to celebrate your Jubilee, Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be there to represent America and pay tribute to your inspiring record. Time and time again, Zambians have stood up, voted, and let leadership change hands peacefully.

Our two nations are united in mutual respect and responsibility for universal values. President Obama and I were pleased to welcome Vice President Scott to the African Leaders’ Summit in August, and discuss so many important issues at this transformative moment for Africa. We will continue to work closely to strengthen democracy, support human rights, spur economic growth, and improve the health and education of the Zambian people.

As you celebrate this special day, the United States stands with you as a partner and friend.

Oct 232014
 

PARIS, France, October 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — France congratulates the Zambian authorities and people on the 50th anniversary of independence, which will be celebrated tomorrow.

On this occasion we pay tribute to Zambia’s comm…

Oct 232014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 462nd meeting held on 16 October 2014, adopted the following decision on the situation in Somalia and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM):

Council,

1. Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in Somalia [PSC/PR/2.(CDLXII)] and the briefings provided by the Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia, Head of AMISOM. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, Ethiopia, as chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Uganda, as a troop contributing country to AMISOM, the United Nations and the European Union (EU), as well as by the representatives of China, France, Nigeria, United Kingdom and United States of America, as members of the UN Security Council, and Italy, as Co-chair of the IGAD Partners Forum;

2. Recalls its previous decisions and press statements on the situation in Somalia, including communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.1(CCCLVI) adopted at its 356th meeting held on 27 February 2013, communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDXIV) adopted at its 414th meeting held on 21 January 2014, and press statement PSC/PR/BR.(CDXXV) adopted at its 425th meeting held on 24 March 2014;

3. Reiterates its commitment to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia;

4. Reaffirms AU’s full support to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and its commitment to continue to assist the FGS in its stabilization and reconstruction efforts, including the implementation of the Government’s Vision 2016 Agenda and the New Deal Somali Compact;

5. Welcomes the FGS-led efforts towards the establishment of interim district and regional administrations in the newly-recovered areas, and underlines the urgent need to complete the establishment of interim regional administrations throughout Somalia by the end of 2014, based on the principles of political inclusivity and transparency and in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution;

6. Further welcomes the establishment of the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission and the Boundaries and Federation Commission, which gives impetus to the FGS’s commitment to conduct legitimate and inclusive national elections in 2016. In this regard, Council requests the relevant structures within the Commission, in close consultation with the United Nations and other international stakeholders, to provide the necessary support to the FGS;

7. Notes with satisfaction the security gains recorded by AMISOM and the Somalia National Army (SNA) during Operations Eagle and Indian Ocean, which made it possible to recover several towns and villages from the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. Council stresses the need to consolidate these gains through the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance and basic social services, as well as the implementation of quick impact projects. Council encourages the FGS, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, to urgently take all necessary steps in this respect. Council further encourages the FGS to ensure that the SNA hold on to and secure the recovered areas;

8. Commends, once again, AMISOM for its outstanding contribution to the improvement of security in Somalia, the stabilization of the country and furtherance of the reconciliation process. Council reiterates its appreciation to AMISOM troop (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Uganda) and police (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda) contributing countries (T/PCCs) for their commitment and sacrifices;

9. Requests the Commission to undertake, in close coordination with the United Nations Secretariat, a joint review of AMISOM, especially the implementation of the AMISOM Concept of Operations (CONOPS), with a view to enhancing the planning and effectiveness of the joint SNA and AMISOM operations;

10. Welcomes the continuing efforts by the Commission and AMISOM to ensure that the Mission and its personnel uphold the highest standards in terms of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including a zero tolerance to all forms of misconduct and indiscipline. In this regard, Council notes with satisfaction the decision taken by the Commission to thoroughly investigate the allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) leveled against some AMISOM personnel. Council further notes with satisfaction the additional measures and steps that the Commission and the AMISOM leadership are planning to take, including the adoption of a one-year plan on SEA, the inclusion of a specific Annex on SEA into the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the T/PCCs, and the improvement of welfare and recreation facilities for all AMISOM personnel;

11. Reiterates its appreciation to IGAD and to its Chairperson, Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, for their continued commitment and sustained efforts towards the promotion of lasting peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia. Council notes in particular IGAD’s central role in facilitating the conclusion and implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement of 28 August 2013, the Agreements to form interim regional administrations in the South-West and Central regions of Somalia, signed on 23 June and 30 July 2014, respectively, and the Agreement of 14 October 2014 between the FGS and Puntland, as important steps forward in the path towards peace and state-building in Somalia;

12. Reiterates AU’s appreciation to the United Nations for its continued support to AMISOM, notably through the support package authorized by the UN Security Council, and expresses appreciation to the Security Council for its historic visit to Somalia on 13 August 2014. Council also reiterates its appreciation to the European Union (EU) and its Member States, the United States of America and other partners for their continued support to AMISOM and to peace and stabilization efforts in Somalia. Council encourages them to continue and enhance their support, especially with regard to the provision of enablers and force multipliers to AMISOM and infrastructure to the SNA and the Somali Police Force (SPF);

13. Welcomes the outcomes of the Conference on Support to the SNA, which took place in London, United Kingdom, from 17 to 18 September 2014, as a key contribution to the ongoing professionalization of the SNA and the SPF. Council calls upon international partners to provide to the SNA and the SPF enhanced and more flexible logistical support, as well as training and capacity building support;

14. Welcomes the convening of the High-Level Meeting on Somalia in New York, on 24 September 2014, which discussed the political process in Somalia, based on the FGS’s Vision 2016 – Agenda for Political Transformation, and looks forward to the Ministerial High-Level Partnership Forum to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 19 to 20 November 2014, which will be an opportunity to agree on the key priorities for 2015, in line with the Vision 2016 Agenda;

15. Welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Maman S. Sidikou, from Niger, as the new Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, and pays tribute to his predecessor, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, for his leadership and outstanding contribution to the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia. Council calls upon the new Special Representative to closely engage the leadership of the FGS on the key elements of the political process and joint military operations;

16. Renews the mandate of AMISOM for a further period of 12 months and, with reference to operative paragraph 1 of resolution 2124(2013), adopted by the UN Security Council on 12 November 2013, requests the Security Council to renew for a further period of 12 months, starting from 31 October 2014, the authorization to the AU Member States to maintain the deployment of AMISOM, to enable the Mission to continue to carry out its mandate and to take all necessary measures to this effect;

17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.