Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo concerned on the situation in Burundi

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo follow with concern the situation in Burundi. Last Saturday, Belgium was one of the first countries to call for the respect of the public space and of human rights. Belgium condemns all forms of violence and intimidation against civilians, the political opposition and human rights activists. Those who commit violent acts or human rights violations will be personally held responsible.

Belgium pays particular attention to the involvement of the Burundi National Police. Together with the Netherlands our country has recently invested in the professionalization of the Burundian police. The task of the police is to protect the people and ensure that demonstrations can proceed peacefully.

In recent years, Belgium financed several projects in support of a free and professional press in Burundi. Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are essential elements that should guide the electoral process. The Ministers express their concern about the restrictive measures taken against a number of independent radio stations and the use of social media via mobile data traffic. They demand that these measures be lifted as soon as possible.

These are very important elections for Burundi. Belgium gives its full support for these elections to be as peaceful and inclusive as possible. Belgium contributes significantly to the UN human rights office, where 14 human rights experts closely monitor the situation. They report to the Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council. Their testimony and their reports are an important source of information in the case of irregularities. Through its development cooperation, Belgium also funds two Burundian NGOs with experience in election observation. In total, thanks to the Belgian support, some 8.000 observers can observe the election process throughout the country.

In a spirit of reconciliation, with the national interest in mind and with the Arusha Agreement as a guideline, Ministers Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo call for a common understanding on the issues that divide the political class, opposition parties and civil society. Violence must be excluded by all political parties, actors and agencies. Only peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections organized in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the institutions can bring Burundi back to the path on which it has made so much progress since the signing of the Arusha Agreement.

Source:: Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo concerned on the situation in Burundi

Categories: African Press Organization

Private Sector Forum on Food Security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region Barcelona, 5-6 May

BARCELONA, Spain, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — How can increasing cooperation between the public and private sectors contribute to promoting a sustainable, regional approach for agriculture and food security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean?

To look at these and related issues, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) are organizing a high-level forum in Barcelona on 5-6 May 2015 that will bring together policymakers, financing institutions and CEOs from leading agribusiness companies, to deepen relationships between the public and private sector and develop initiatives to increase agricultural investment in the region.

Co-chaired by UfM’s Secretary General, Fathallah Sijilmassi, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Laurent Thomas, and EBRD’s Vice-President, Philippe Le Houerou, the forum will address challenging policy and investments dilemmas — from self-sufficiency to trade liberalization; from traditional value chains to innovative food quality paradigms — by exploring:

• best practices for advancing regional integration

• developing strategies for financing food import bills

• improving the efficiency of import supply chains through private sector engagement

• focusing on advantageous agricultural exports

• achieving more efficient use of resources in production processes

• supporting local producers to create higher value products through quality

Where: Headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean. Barcelona, Spain.

When: 5 May from 14:30 to 18:00 / 6 May from 9:00 to 15:30

Press conference

A press conference will be held on 5th May at 14.30h. Participants:

• Carlos Cabanas Godino, Secretary General, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

• Claudio Cortese, Senior Deputy Secretary General, UfM

• Laurent Thomas, Assistant-Director General for Technical Cooperation , FAO

• Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness

Moderator: Jonathan Charles, EBRD Director of Communications

Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Address: Headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean: side entrance to Palacio de Pedralbes at Calle Pere Duran Farell, 11 (red door) – 08034 – Barcelona – Spain

To accredit: To confirm attendance and accreditation, kindly send an email to media@ufmsecretariat.org (T. +34 935 214 169) with the following information: name, surname, media, ID and position, as well as the number plate of the vehicle (vehicles entrance limited to mobile units). Please, confirm your accreditation not later than Thursday 30 April at 16:00h.

More information: http://www.medagri.org/meetings/foodsecurity2015/

Source:: Private Sector Forum on Food Security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region Barcelona, 5-6 May

Categories: African Press Organization

Minister Nicholson Calls for Return to Calm as Burundi’s Elections Approach

OTTAWA, Canada, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over the violence that erupted on Sunday, April 26, in Burundi. This violence, occurring in the lead up to the elections in June, led to the death of protesters:

“We are troubled by the rising political tensions and by credible reports of violence involving the Imbonerakuré, armed militants in the ruling party’s youth movement, who are terrorizing the people of Burundi. As a result, large numbers of Burundians are fleeing to neighbouring countries, mainly Rwanda. Arbitrary arrests of journalists and other opponents are becoming more frequent.

“Canada calls on all Burundian parties to work peacefully and actively to restore a safe and secure environment for all Burundians, which is vital to ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.

“We urge Burundi to comply with the Arusha Accords, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, to which Burundi is a signatory, and Burundi’s international commitments, including within La Francophonie.”

Source:: Minister Nicholson Calls for Return to Calm as Burundi’s Elections Approach

Categories: African Press Organization

Violence not the solution to Burundi crisis

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deploring the violence in Burundi that has led to the reported deaths of several protesters in clashes with police in the past few days, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has urged all sides to exercise utmost restraint and avoid further bloodshed.

IPU has been increasingly concerned by the growing violence following street protests against President Nkurunziza’s bid to stand for a third term and the deployment of armed police to respond to the demonstrations.

The protests are the largest the country has reportedly witnessed since the end of the civil war in 2005, when President Nkurunziza began his first term.

The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental democratic right that has to be respected and protected, IPU states.

The Organization is also calling for a peaceful, transparent and fair electoral process to ensure Burundi continues on its path to democracy following the conflict. This would be critical to preventing further political instability and violence. Burundi is due to hold local and parliamentary elections from May and presidential elections on 26 June.

IPU will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Source:: Violence not the solution to Burundi crisis

Categories: African Press Organization

BRVM Investment Days: West Africa’s financial centre comes closer to the London Stock Exchange

LONDON, United-Kingdom, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On the occasion of the second edition of the BRVM Investment days (http://www.brvminvestmentdays.org), the regional stock exchange for the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and many West-African companies have met investors from the London Stock Exchange.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/brvm.png

The regional stock exchange Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) (http://www.brvm.org) welcomes the success of the second edition of its BRVM Investment days, held on April 28 at the London Stock Exchange. “It is important for the sub regional market’s growth to come and meet British as well as international investors to show them the evolution and performance of the West African Economic and Monetary Union,” said Edoh Kossi Amenounve, CEO of the BRVM in front of more than a hundred personalities, including numerous representatives of the WAEMU market, leaders of both the BRVM and the London Stock Exchange and international investors. Ms Nialé Kaba, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Economy and Finance, who came to London specially for the event, stressed the importance of the BRVM to, at the same time, “mobilize local savings, develop public shareholding and grow the private sector’s contribution to the economy”.

With market capitalisation having doubled in three years – standing at 7458 billion CFA francs (around USD 13.8 billion) on 31 December 2014 – and transaction volumes growing constantly, the BRVM is becoming a destination of choice for many international investors, eager to diversify their asset portfolio while simultaneously contributing to the development of African economies. After a record 2013, which saw the BRVM 10 and BRVM Composite indices swell by 33.85% and 39.28% respectively, that growth was consolidated in 2014, as the BRVM 10 rose by 8.60% and the BRVM Composite by 11.23%. With two new entrants in recent months (Bank of Africa Senegal in December 2014 and Total Senegal in February 2015), the BRVM now has 39 listed companies. The last company to be floated on the exchange had been Bank of Africa Côte d’Ivoire back in April 2010.

“Quite a lot of international investors have already invested on the BRVM, among which Franklin Templeton, Allan Gray, Pictet or Renaissance Securities. It is important for us to amplify this trend in order to deepen the WAEMU market and improve its liquidity”, says Gabriel Fal, Chairman of the BRVM’s Board of Directors. During the last few years, those international investors together represented between 40 and 60% of the transactions’ worth.

The London Stock Exchange is signing numerous agreements with African exchanges for technological purposes, education programs or the development of investment flows between London and Africa: Johannesburg (South Africa), Casablanca (Morocco), Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), Maputo (Mozambique)… “We were delighted today to play host to some of West Africa’s leading companies. Helping to support and drive the region’s economy, our role in London is to work with these businesses, as a conduit for international investment in turn supporting the companies’ development. Today’s event gives us the opportunity to reflect on the increasingly strong partnership between West Africa and London, and explore how we can further strengthen our collaboration.” concludes Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group.

For further information: http://www.brvminvestmentdays.org

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Regional stock exchange – Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM).

Contacts:

Corinne Ormon (BRVM Communications Officer): + 225 57 59 14 74; chormon@brvm.org

Nicolas Teisserenc (35°Nord communications agency): + 33 (0)6 18 09 66 90; nt@35nord.com

Grégoire Schöller (35°Nord communications agency): + 44 74 05 38 69 64; gs@35nord.com

About the BRVM:

Launched on 16 September 1998, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) (http://www.brvm.org) is a regional stock exchange for the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA): Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. It is headquartered in Abidjan. The BRVM comprises 39 listed companies, the three biggest stocks being Sonatel, Ecobank and Solibra. The BRVM also offers extensive bond market activity (both private and sovereign). Since 1998, more than 280 transactions have been completed, raising 3887.1 billion CFA francs (USD 7.2 billion): 644,054 billion CFA francs (USD 1.2 billion) in capital transactions and 3243.55 billion CFA francs (USD 6 billion) in bond issues.

Source:: BRVM Investment Days: West Africa’s financial centre comes closer to the London Stock Exchange

Categories: African Press Organization

Somalia registers record exports of 5 million livestock in 2014 / Long-term sector investment boosts country’s trade with Gulf States

ROME, Italy, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Somalia in 2014 exported a record 5 million livestock to markets in the Gulf of Arabia thanks to heavy investments in animal disease prevention backed by the European Union and the United Kingdom, FAO said today.

This is the highest number of live animals exported from Somalia in the last 20 years.

The export data, collected by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), indicates that Somalia exported 4.6 million goats and sheep, 340,000 cattle and 77,000 camels in 2014, worth an estimated $360 million.

Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy, contributing 40 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“This is a key milestone for the Somalia’s livestock sector that reflects the large investments being made to support the commercial development of the livestock sector to become more competitive in international markets,” said Said Hussein Iid, Somalia’s Minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range. “This is important for both Somalia’s economy in general and for the livelihoods of the millions of livestock owners throughout Somalia.”

“The sector’s potential is enormous,” Iid added.

“This shows that despite the challenges, the Somali people are successfully working to improve their economy and food security,” said Richard Trenchard, head of FAO’s office for Somalia. “FAO and our partners are committed to remaining engaged and involved in supporting those efforts.”

Buyers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait Qatar and United Arab Emirates have all taken advantage of Somalia’s thriving livestock scene and its improved disease surveillance and control mechanisms.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, has contributed to steadily rising exports over the last six years, following a move to lift a 9-year ban on the import of livestock from Somalia aimed at preventing the spread of Rift Valley fever.

Return on investments

For the last five years, FAO, with financial support from the European Union and the UK government, has engaged with the Somali government to invest heavily in livestock infrastructure, fodder production and livestock vaccination and treatment services. Transboundary animal diseases have been a major point of attention because they can kill large numbers of animals, resulting in food shortages, market disruptions and trade and export barriers.

Every year, FAO vaccinates an average of 12 million animals in Somalia against peste des petits ruminants (PPR) – a highly contagious and often deadly viral disease of goats. Another 12 million goats are treated and vaccinated every year against Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), a source of major losses among Somali livestock producers.

In addition to animal health campaigns, four modern slaughterhouses, four meat markets and three livestock markets are also boosting local livestock trade across Somalia.

“There is no doubt that livestock is, and will remain for a long time, central to the Somali economy,” said Trenchard.

Continued investment in building Somali livestock institutions is key to boosting incomes, reducing the vulnerability of rural households, and steering the future growth of the sector, according to Trenchard, who says the livestock sector is at a tipping point.

“An investment in livestock means an investment in economic growth for the whole of Somalia,” he said

Added value from by-products

With trade of live animals booming, FAO is now working with the Somali government and partners to identify other opportunities to derive added value from livestock by-products.

In 2012, under a UK-funded initiative, Somali pastoralists were trained in soap manufacturing using camel bone marrow and trained jewelers carved spoons, necklaces and flower vases out of the dense bones.

In May 2015, FAO will start training 150 Somalis in curing leather, a potentially lucrative opportunity for the entire livestock sector, while an EU-funded programme is currently underway to improve milk quality in northwestern Somalia, one of the country’s main milk production regions.

The 2014 figures represent an optimum level of live animal export for Somalia, according to FAO experts, who urge producers to shift focus towards export of meat and other by-products.

A livestock certification system developed by FAO along the Galkayo-Bossaso livestock corridor will further help to ensure high quality livestock for local consumption and export.

Source:: Somalia registers record exports of 5 million livestock in 2014 / Long-term sector investment boosts country’s trade with Gulf States

Categories: African Press Organization