German Government calls on Malian parties to sign peace agreement

BERLIN, Germany, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement in Berlin today (3 March 2015) in response to the Malian Government and some of the armed groups signing a peace agreement in Algiers on 1 March:

The signing of this peace agreement represents a significant step towards lasting and sustainable peace in Mali, achieved in part thanks to months of effort by international mediators led by Algeria.

All parties which have not yet done so are now expressly called upon also to sign this hard won agreement soon. This is the best chance of peace there will be for the foreseeable future, and it will serve as a basis for reconciliation and development for the people of the whole of Mali.

Source:: German Government calls on Malian parties to sign peace agreement

Categories: African Press Organization

UN and AU envoys call for increased measures to combat sexual violence in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Joint statement by the UN and AU envoys to Somalia

Speaking at a high level panel discussion on sexual violence in Somalia the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Nicholas Kay and the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), Maman S. Sidikou made a joint call for increased measures to protect Somalia’s women and girls and reiterated their commitment to support efforts to combat sexual and gender based violence in Somalia.

The event was organised by an international Non-Governmental Organisation, Legal Action Worldwide in Mogadishu. Other panellists included Somalia’s Minister for Women and Human Rights Development, Hon. Minister Zahra Mohamed Ali Samantar, the European Union Special Representative for Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso, the Director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Ms Fartun Aden and the Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide, Ms Antonia Mulvey.

“Preventing and responding to sexual violence is vital. There should be no impunity for these crimes. The United Nations is committed to working with the Somali people and authorities to increase measures to protect the rights of Somalia’s women and girls.” said SRSG Kay.

SRCC Sidikou reinforced AMISOM’s commitment and determination for efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse.”There should be no safe haven for perpetrators of such heinous crimes against some of Somalia’s most vulnerable women and girls. By working together, sharing our knowledge and our experience, mobilising resources and committing our political will we are determined to end rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict situations. We remain committed to working with the Somali people, the Federal Government, and the United Nations to support all efforts to hold any perpetrators to account and to improve the response and support to victims and their access to Somalia’s justice system.” He said.

Panel members also highlighted the importance of providing better, more timely and comprehensive assistance and care to, including health and psychosocial care that addresses the long term consequences of sexual violence in conflict to victims and their families.

Source:: UN and AU envoys call for increased measures to combat sexual violence in Somalia

Categories: African Press Organization

Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi Uto to Visit Switzerland, Tunisia and Senegal

TOKYO, Japan, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. Mr. Takashi Uto, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, will visit the Swiss Confederation (Geneva), the Republic of Tunisia (Tunis) and the Republic of Senegal (Dakar) from March 2 to 8.

2. In Geneva, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Uto is scheduled to attend the High-Level Segment of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on March 2 and deliver a statement on Japan’s human rights diplomacy, as well as have talks with UN officials and high-level attendees from other countries. Furthermore, he is scheduled to attend the Conference on Disarmament on March 3 and deliver a statement on Japan’s disarmament diplomacy.

3. In Tunis, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Uto is scheduled to express his congratulations to key government officials in the new administration launched in February, on the completion of a series of political processes and progress with domestic reform. He will also exchange views and seek to forge relationships that will enable closer cooperation on bilateral and multilateral frameworks, including Security Council reform.

4. In Dakar, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Uto is scheduled to hold meetings with key government officials in order to strengthen the bilateral relationship as well as the cooperative relationship in the international arena, including Security Council reform, with Senegal, which is one of the major countries an important country in West Africa.

Source:: Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi Uto to Visit Switzerland, Tunisia and Senegal

Categories: African Press Organization

WHO intensifies support to cholera outbreak in Malawi and Mozambique

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The WHO Regional Office for Africa is intensifying country support to prevent cholera from reaching internally displaced person (IDP) camps along the border of Malawi and Mozambique. Since January 2015, extensive flooding has caused 230 000 IDPs to live in opportune refugee camps and temporary shelters.

As of 2 March 2015, 55 cases of cholera have been confirmed by the Malawian Ministry of Health, with two deaths. All of these cases have been identified outside IDP sites. Several cases have been linked to the Jambawe area in Mutarara district – a gold mine in Mozambique 10 km from the Malawian border, where many Malawians work.

“The WHO offices in Malawi and Mozambique are facilitating cross-border meetings for the Ministries of Health in the two countries to agree on a common approach to prevent the outbreak from spreading further,” said Dr Eugene Nyarko, WHO Representative for Malawi.

“Here in Malawi the WHO, UNICEF, Medicines Sans Frontier, Save the Children Fund and the Malawi Red Cross have mobilized and prepositioned cholera kits in all cholera prone districts. Health promotion and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions are being intensified through the district health management teams and the relevant partners at district level to prevent the disease reaching the camps,” Dr Nyarko added.

The first case of cholera in Mozambique was notified on 25th December 2014 in Nampula city and has now affected over 3782 people with 39 deaths in 11 districts of four provinces. The most affected district is Tete followed by Nampula and Moatize.

Cholera can kill within hours if left untreated and thrives in areas of overcrowding, scarcity of safe water, poor sanitation and waste management, poor nutritional status as a result of food shortages, and poor access to health care services. People with low immunity such as malnourished children or people living with HIV are at a greater risk of death if infected.

The mainstay of control measures to be implemented during emergencies should remain (i) implementing interventions to improve water and sanitation, (ii) providing appropriate treatment to people with cholera and (iii) mobilizing communities to prevent transmission.

Primary prevention is possible by observing a few simple rules of good hygiene and safe water and food preparation. These rules include thorough washing of hands with safe water and soap, especially before food preparation and eating, thorough cooking of food, and consumption while hot (“boil it, peel it or leave it”), boiling or treatment of drinking water, and use of sanitary facilities. Safe water is water that has been boiled, treated with a chlorine product, or is bottled with an unbroken seal.

Promoting early detection and timely treatments

Up to 80% of cases can be successfully treated with oral rehydration salts, and early detection and effective case management reduces the case fatality rate to less than 1%. Antibiotic therapy is also recommended for severe cases.

The use of oral cholera vaccine is also being considered to prevent the spread of the outbreak to the IDP camps. If implemented, vaccination should cover as many people as possible who are eligible to receive the vaccine, and should be conducted as quickly as possible.

Oral cholera vaccines (OCVs) can provide immediate, short-term protection while improved access to safe water and sanitation are put into place. Two doses of OCV given two weeks apart are required for fully protective immunity.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa has sent experts to Malawi and Mozambique to provide technical advice and support to implement comprehensive control strategies, including OCV.

Source:: WHO intensifies support to cholera outbreak in Malawi and Mozambique

Categories: African Press Organization

2014 sees flydubai achieve increased revenues of USD 1.2 billion up 19.1% and profits of USD 68 million

Dubai, UAE, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• 14% increase in passenger numbers between 2013 and 2014 in Africa

• 100% increase in number of routes in Africa

• Schedule increased to 63 flights a week across 12 points in North and East Africa

flydubai (http://www.flydubai.com), in its fifth year of operation, today announced its Annual Results for 2014 and reported a net profit of AED 250 million (USD 68 million) an increase of 12.3% compared to 2013 with total revenue of AED 4.4 billion (USD 1.2 billion) for the 12-month period, ending 31 December.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/flydubai.jpg

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1799 (Chief executive Officer of flydubai, Ghaith Al Ghaith)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1798 (flydubai fleet 2015)

Last year saw flydubai, in support of the economic development of the UAE, remain focused on its long-term strategy to open up new routes by expanding opportunities for travel, maintaining efficient operations across its network and continuing to deliver a better customer experience.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, said: “the UAE has firmly established itself as a centre of gravity for aviation. We have long recognised the importance of aviation to our economic growth. flydubai continues to make a key contribution to our economy in particular as a result of its strategy to open up previously underserved routes.”

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, commenting on the Annual Results added: “recording its profitability for the third consecutive full year, the 2014 Results show that the recent order for more aircraft as well as investments in the offering on the ground and in the air have been the right strategy for the airline. flydubai’s role in the aviation sector is now being recognised beyond the region.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, reflecting on last year, said: “2014 saw flydubai open up a record number of new routes in what was a demanding year. To have achieved what we have achieved is significant. The continued investment in our people and operations has strengthened our business and ensures that we are well positioned for sustained growth in the future. It is good to see that more passengers than ever before are travelling with us.”

Operational Performance

Passenger numbers: showing growing demand for its services from its passengers across its network, flydubai carried 7.25 million passengers in 2014 and has carried 24.3 million since it launched its operations. It saw an increase in passenger numbers between 2013 and 2014 in Africa (14%), Central Asia (57%), Europe (11%) and the Subcontinent (11%).

Network: in a year that saw the airline add 23 new routes, creating a network of 86 destinations, flydubai also increased frequency on many of its existing routes. Weekly flight frequencies to Beirut increased from 14 to 21, to Kuwait from 53 to 77, to Muscat from 28 to 41, to Salalah from 3 to 5 and Tbilisi which went to a daily service. The airline now operates 1,400 flights per week.

Its network across its geographic focus grew by the number of routes in Africa (100%), in Central Asia (66%), Europe including Russia (40%), the GCC (7%), Middle East (30%) and in the Subcontinent (38%).

flydubai offers one of the most comprehensive networks in the GCC with 608 weekly flights across 16 points in the region.

Having recognised the potential of the emerging markets in North and East Africa the schedule increased to 63 flights a week across 12 points.

Flights started to the regional economic hubs of Almaty and Moscow further strengthening trade and tourism opportunities with the UAE and onwards to Africa and the Subcontinent.

With the launch of four new points in India, flydubai saw 70% growth in passenger numbers and there remains much opportunity.

Aircraft deliveries: All aircraft delivered since August 2013 have been configured with Business Class. flydubai took delivery of eight new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft and ended the year with a fleet of 43 aircraft.

In October, it completed to schedule its rolling retrofit programme to configure the existing aircraft in its fleet with Business Class. The first seven aircraft it received between 2009 and 2010 were not part of the retrofit programme.

Business Class: flydubai ended the year with 70% of its routes offering Business Class. During the course of the year ahead, it will announce the remaining routes to receive this service and together with the successful completion of the 12-month retrofit programme flydubai will be able to offer a consistent product for its passengers across its network. It also enhanced the business class offering on the ground with the opening of the flydubai Business Lounge at Terminal 2, Dubai International.

Results from the onboard survey and 35 customer touch point measures have shown that 99% of Business Class passengers would fly again and 93% would recommend flydubai. In line with the strategy that led to the launch of Business Class 38% of passengers chose flydubai due to the direct air link. The reason for travel was 37% for business and 39% for leisure with 39% of Business Class passengers being repeat flyers.

Terminal 2, Dubai International: The extension and refurbishment of Terminal 2 has provided a better customer experience. To further enhance the convenience of the airport 15 self-service kiosks have been opened for all passengers travelling to the routes that allow this facility.

Al Maktoum International: the 80-day period of the runway enhancement project between May and July at Dubai International saw flydubai operate a number of flights from this airport ensuring additional capacity for its passengers during this period. With the successful completion of the project all of flydubai’s operations resumed from Terminal 2, Dubai International on schedule.

Staff numbers: flydubai continued to strengthen its experienced team increasing the number of staff to 2,883 including 571 pilots, 1,235 cabin crew and 221 engineers representing more than 111 nationalities across flydubai’s workforce.

Awards: flydubai received a number of Awards during the year recognising its easy to use, technically advanced inflight entertainment system, the achievement of its Cargo division to introduce electronic Air Waybills (e-AWB) across its operations, two Awards for the debut Sukuk issuance as well as the recognition for excellence in its sector by CAPA, the Centre for Aviation.

Ghaith Al Ghaith commenting on flydubai’s operational performance said, “the changing economic landscape not only makes demands on the business but also provides us with opportunities. Achieving a balance as a result of the speed with which we are able to respond to the changing global economic environment is reflected in our operational performance as we are well set to create a network of more than 100 destinations. It is important for us to continue to recognise this global rebalancing as we grow our fleet, expand our network and evolve our business model.”

Cost Performance

Total revenue and operating income increased by 19.1% to AED 4.4 billion (USD 1.2 billion) with a capacity increase (ASKM) of 9.3%.

EBITDAR(1) growth is in line with the increase in revenue and is at a healthy rate of revenue at 22.1%.

Fuel remains the single largest cost at 36% of the total operating costs and though lower than the previous year has benefited from the downward trend in fuel prices starting from the last quarter of 2014. Currently 30% of fuel requirements for 2015 are hedged.

Other ancillary revenue items including inflight entertainment, onboard sales, seat preferences, checked baggage allowance, car rental, hotel bookings, travel insurance and visa facilitation services continue to be strong and comprise 14.4% of total revenue.

flydubai Cargo has secured ACC3 EU certification which will allow the airline to transport Cargo to the new European routes. The busiest cargo routes include Colombo, Doha, Juba, Kiev, Kuwait and Muscat. Continued demand for cargo services saw an average of 3,000 tons carried each month and revenue growth was 11.8% compared to 2013.

Financing: flydubai continued its strategy to diversify its sources of funding. In November it issued a landmark debut Sukuk transaction successfully raising $500 million. The 5-year Sukuk was six times oversubscribed demonstrating the strong international investor appetite for this paper. Funds will be used for general corporate purposes and refinancing.

Outlook for 2015

2015 will continue to be a demanding year due to the global socio-economic landscape. flydubai will see the remaining aircraft from its 2008 order delivered. As in 2014, flydubai launched its first new service of the year to Saudi Arabia. This saw the first international flight land at Nejran on 10 January and became flydubai’s 12th point in Saudi Arabia. In March, a three times a week service to Chennai in India will start.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, commenting on the outlook for flydubai, said: “we will end 2015 with a fleet of 50 aircraft. Together with the new route launches this is an endorsement of the strategy we set out at the beginning and underlines the achievements of the past six years. I’m grateful to the team at flydubai for helping us to ensure that we are well positioned for sustained growth in the years ahead as we start to prepare for the new deliveries in 2016 and the first deliveries of the 737 MAX 8s in 2017 bringing further efficiency to our fleet.”

(1) EBITDAR is calculated as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and rental costs.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of flydubai.

For further information, please contact:

Houda Al Kaissi, Senior Press officer; (+971) 56 683 0336; Email: houda.alkaissi@flydubai.com

About flydubai:

Dubai-based flydubai (http://www.flydubai.com) strives to remove barriers to travel and enhance connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network. Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai has:

• Created a network of more than 90 destinations in 46 countries, with 23 new routes launched in 2014.

• Opened up 57 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.

• Built up a fleet of more than 45 new aircraft and will take delivery of more than 100 aircraft by the end of 2023, all of which will be Boeing 737-800s.

In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets.

For more information about flydubai services, please visit flydubai.com.

Source:: 2014 sees flydubai achieve increased revenues of USD 1.2 billion up 19.1% and profits of USD 68 million

Categories: African Press Organization

The United States Congratulates Lesotho on Peaceful Election

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 2, 2015

The United States congratulates the people of Lesotho for participating peacefully in Lesotho’s snap parliamentary election on February 28.

The U.S. Embassy deployed 18 American and Basotho staff as observers to six of Lesotho’s ten districts, where they witnessed the opening, voting, closing, and counting in approximately 80 polling stations. Every vote counts and every vote was a victory for Lesotho.

The United States shares the hopes of the Basotho that these elections will allow Lesotho to move beyond a period of political uncertainty and strengthen national unity. This commitment is essential to provide a foundation for an effective, accountable government that serves the needs of the people.

We commend Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission for organizing a professional and well-run poll, especially in light of the compressed timeline. We encourage all candidates and political parties to accept the election results when they are announced and to call on their supporters to do so as well.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) deserves great credit for supporting Lesotho’s peaceful election. We welcome SADC’s ongoing commitment to helping Lesotho strengthen its democratic institutions and rule of law.

The United States remains committed to our strong partnership with Lesotho and to achieving our shared objectives of improved health, shared prosperity, and effective and accountable government.

Source:: The United States Congratulates Lesotho on Peaceful Election

Categories: African Press Organization