USAID Joins Nespresso and TechnoServe to Support South Sudan’s Coffee Farmers

Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it will invest $3.18 million to strengthen efforts to rebuild the coffee industry in South Sudan and improve coffee farmer livelihoods.

USAID is partnering with Nespresso and TechnoServe, a non-profit development organization, in this joint effort. The country’s coffee industry was decimated after years of civil war, and oil now comprises the majority of its exports. Since 2011, Nespresso and TechnoServe have worked directly with local farmers to revive high-quality coffee production in South Sudan, while developing commercial channels to enable its sale and export. Nespresso has already invested over $1.5 million in the project.

USAID will invest $3.18 million over three years to help revive South Sudan’s coffee industry, diversify its export market and raise the household incomes of smallholder coffee farmers.

To date, more than 700 farmers have been integrated into the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, which provides support, training and technical assistance to improve sustainability and productivity, while maintaining the highest quality coffee. South Sudan’s first wet mills (equipment to process coffee cherries into coffee beans) have been established, and the first coffee export was sold as a Nespresso Limited Edition variety in France last year.

“In a severely conflict-affected country like South Sudan, it’s important that we invest in people to help improve livelihoods, reduce extreme poverty and give people hope about the future,” said USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Linda Etim. “By helping expand the success that Nespresso and TechnoServe have already achieved in improving the livelihoods of South Sudan’s coffee farmers, USAID is planting seeds of hope at a very fragile and uncertain time for the people of South Sudan.We’re encouraged to see a company like Nespresso investing in long-term growth in South Sudan and look forward to working together to expand economic growth and opportunity in the country.”

George Clooney, NespressoBrand Ambassador commented,”Coffee is a much-needed source of income for farmers in South Sudan – a country still ravaged by war. Investing in grassroots development and empowerment of local farming communities will help provide the foundation for sustainable economic development. This commitment by USAID is a strong signal of the relevance of the program that Nespresso and TechnoServe have built up with these communities, allowing it to reach even more farmers in more areas of the country.”

USAID’s contribution will help expand the existing initiative to support a thriving and inclusive coffee sector in South Sudan by increasing scale and ensuring lasting impact. The funding injection will also enable the program to be extended to new communities, allowing more farmers in South Sudan to benefit from the revival of South Sudan’s coffee industry.

The initiative aims to triple coffee incomes and improve household resilience. By 2019, the program will have trained 1,500 South Sudanese farmers, of whom at least 25 percent will be women, and helped establish nine cooperative-owned wet mills.

“The existence of the programme in South Sudan has helped us recover the coffee trees we had lost during the war; and since we started maintaining our trees and delivering to the wet mills our lives have completely changed,” said South Sudanese coffee farmer Daniel Lomoro. “We can now afford to take our children to good schools and meet the basic needs of the family. This wouldn’t have been possible without that technical support. Nespresso and TechnoServe have strengthened us and taught us to be self-reliant.”

“We can also see that it can lift the family, lift the nation and can bring good things,” added South Sudanese farmer Nicholas Taban Solomon. “One will not be poor as before. The poverty is reducing, and you will have a better life. So we advise that everyone should plant coffee for the future to uplift the nation.”

“This new partnership with USAID will be instrumental to accelerate the progress Nespresso and TechnoServe have already made, working directly with South Sudanese farmers,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso. “This funding injection will allow us to scale up the project and help an even greater number of farmers grow and sell high quality coffee for international export at a higher price, thus creating a better quality of life for farmers and their families.”

“Despite great difficulties, the coffee farmers of South Sudan have shown extraordinary determination to improve the future for their children, their communities, and ultimately, their country,” said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. “Working with us and Nespresso, they have been proud to share their unique coffee with the world and to contribute to a more sustainable economic base for their country. With increased funding from USAID, coffee has the potential to eventually become one of the biggest non-oil exports for South Sudan, which could have important positive economic and political implications down the road.”

Through its focus on improving smallholder livelihoods, this partnership also complements the goals of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, helping to reduce poverty and malnutrition through agricultural development.

Nespresso Sustainable Innovation Fund

Nespresso has also launched its Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund, which has been established to facilitate investment from Nespresso in coffee origin revival and coffee supply chain resilience projects that go beyond the usual business operations of the company. The structure will also enable transparent reporting on the investments made.Nespresso is committing an initial $10 million in specific innovative coffee value chain initiatives in the coming three years (2016-2018). These announcements come as part of the fourth annual meeting of the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board.

About Nestlé Nespresso SA
Nestlé Nespresso SA is the pioneer and reference for highest-quality portioned coffee. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nespresso operates in 64 countries and has more than 12,000 employees. In 2015, it operated a global retail network of over 450 exclusive boutiques. For more information, visit the Nespresso corporate website: www.nestle-nespresso.com.

About the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program
The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, launched in 2003 in collaboration with the NGO The Rainforest Alliance, empowers coffee farmers by investing in community infrastructures, paying cash premiums for superior coffee and best agricultural practices, and providing farmers with training, financing and technical assistance to continuously improve quality, sustainability and productivity – the three pillars represented by the “triple As” in the program’s name. This approach drives improvements in social, environmental and economic conditions for coffee farmers and farming communities. http://www.nestle-nespresso.com/sustainability/the-positive-cup/coffee

About TechnoServe
TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 30 countries, we work with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. By linking people to information, capital and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. TechnoServe has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the last 10 years, placing us in the top 1 percent of all its rated nonprofits. With nearly 50 years of proven results, TechnoServe believes in the power of private enterprise to transform lives. www.technoserve.org

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Categories: AFRICA

What is permissible and what is not when countering terrorism? UN experts welcome new African guidelines

A group of eighteen United Nations independent experts* has welcomed the new Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights while Countering Terrorism in Africa launched this year by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).

Speaking ahead of an upcoming ACHPR’s panel discussion in Banjul, The Gambia (11 April), in which Member States will be briefed on the new Principles and Guidelines, the UN experts called on all African governments to fully implement the Commission’s recommendations in order to respect human rights in the context of fighting terrorism.

“We commend the ACHPR’s effort to draw a clear line of demarcation between what is permissible and what is not, when countering terrorism.

Against a growing trend of countries moving away from international legal norms and standards on a global scale and at a time when terrorist groups, such as ISIS, Boko Haram or less known ones, are bringing harm and suffering to countless people in Africa, this document represents a principled stand on human rights and the rule of law in the Continent.

The essence of lawful State action, when countering terrorism, requires States to protect national security and public safety in full respect of individuals’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, while recognizing that many rights are absolute and that human rights abuses often lead to or exacerbate pre-existing tension and instability.

All strategies and policies adopted by States to counter terrorism must be firmly grounded in and comply with international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. It also remains a priority that the death penalty is not used for terrorism-related cases.

In the exceptional circumstances when rights-limiting measures are considered, their potential impact on women, children, migrants, ethnic and religious communities or any other specific group must also be considered. All measures must be subject to effective parliamentary and judicial scrutiny.

Particular attention should be paid to any impact on freedom of expression, privacy, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as on the legitimate work of human rights defenders. Measures that specifically target individuals or groups, whether in law or practice, must be necessary, proportionally applied and not discriminatory on any basis, including religion, ethnicity, nationality or migratory status. When individuals are subjected to human rights abuses, they must have access to an effective remedy.

We hope that the ACHPR Principles and Guidelines will help to bring additional coherence among national endeavors in Africa to promote and protect human rights while adding value to international efforts relating to the prevention and combating of terrorism.

The effective implementation of these Principles and Guidelines in accordance with United Nations counter-terrorism norms and standards can give Africa a welcome opportunity to further enhance its role as a key partner in the international community towards upholding international law and safeguarding human rights and global security.

Initiatives such as the Principles and Guidelines are undoubtedly steps in the right direction. However, while acknowledging the efforts made in the regional context in attempting to define terrorism, achieving an international consensus on what constitutes terrorism remains equally important.”

NOTE TO EDITORS: The ACHPR Principles and Guidelines outline the fundamental human rights principles, norms and standards applicable in the African region that are most commonly engaged when countering terrorism.

These include the right to life; the absolute prohibition of torture, refoulement, enforced disappearances and discrimination; the independence of justice; the prohibition on arbitrary arrest and detention; the right to due process and fair trial; the protection of civil society actors, including human rights defenders and journalists, as well as the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and the right to participate in public life; the need to ensure accountability of private security contractors; and people’s right to truth and privacy. The Principles and Guidelines also specifically address the human rights of the victims of terrorism and the corresponding obligations of States.

Within the framework of the Principles and Guidelines, States must also cooperate on strengthening and implementing counter-terrorism strategies and measures while always respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Categories: AFRICA

February Demand Growth Stays Strong

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for February showing continuing strong demand growth for domestic and international travel. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 8.6%, compared to the same month last year. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 9.6%, and load factor declined 0.7 percentage points to 77.8%.

“In the first two months of 2016, demand for passenger connectivity is off to its strongest start in eight years. However, February was the first month since the middle of 2015 in which capacity growth exceeded demand, which caused the global load factor to decline. It is unclear whether this signals the start of a generalized downward trend in load factor, but it bears watching,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

February 2016
(% year-on-year)

World share¹

RPK

ASK


PLF
(%-pt)²

PLF
(level)³

Total Market

100.0%

8.6%

9.6%

-0.7%

77.8%

Africa

2.2%

11.6%

11.9%

-0.1%

65.7%

Asia Pacific

31.5%

9.8%

9.6%

0.1%

79.0%

Europe

26.7%

7.5%

7.3%

0.2%

77.7%

Latin America

5.4%

7.2%

7.3%

-0.1%

79.5%

Middle East

9.4%

11.0%

16.7%

-3.8%

73.3%

North America

24.7%

7.1%

9.0%

-1.4%

79.1%

¹% of industry RPKs in 2015 ²Year-on-year change in load factor ³Load factor level

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand rose 9.1% compared to February 2015, which was an increase over the 7.3% yearly increase recorded in January. Airlines in all regions recorded growth. Total capacity climbed 9.9%, causing load factor to slip 0.6% percentage points to 76.6%.

  • European carriers saw February demand increase by 7.7% compared to a year ago. Traffic has recovered following disruptions in the 2015 fourth quarter related to airline strikes and the shutdown of Transaero in Russia. Capacity climbed 7.8% and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage points to 78.3%.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic rose 11.2% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased 10.3% and load factor climbed 0.7 percentage points to 78.3%. Comparisons with 2015 are distorted by the timing of the Lunar New Year celebrations, which took place in February this year. Slower economic growth in many of the region’s economies has been at least partly offset by the 7.3% increase in the number of direct airport connections within the region, which has helped to stimulate passenger demand.
  • North American airlines’ traffic climbed 3.6%, which was the slowest among the regions and was exceeded by a capacity expansion of 4.8%. In turn, this caused load factor to fall 0.9 percentage points to 75.9%. US airlines have been focusing on the larger and more robust domestic market, although that market is showing signs of slowing in recent months.
  • Middle East carriers had an 11.3% demand increase in February compared to a year ago. This was exceeded, however, by a 16.9% rise in capacity that caused load factor to drop 3.7 percentage points to 73%. Traffic growth has now lagged capacity growth for six consecutive months.
  • Latin American airlines saw February traffic jump 10.4% compared to February 2015. Capacity increased by 10.1%, boosting load factor 0.2 percentage points to 79.8%, highest among the regions. Domestic passenger demand remains under pressure from economic difficulties in the region’s biggest economies, but this seems not to be affecting business-related international travel.
  • African airlines posted the strongest demand growth among the regions with February traffic up 12.7% compared to a year ago. The pick-up indicates that carriers here are regaining market share through efforts to rationalize networks and enhance revenue management systems, after several difficult years. It also aligns with a jump in exports from Africa. Capacity rose 13.4%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 63.7%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 7.9% in February compared to February 2015, which was an increase over growth of 6.9% in January. All markets except Brazil showed growth, with the strongest increases occurring in India, the US and China. Domestic capacity climbed 9.0%, and load factor fell back.0.8 percentage points to 79.7%.

February 2016
(% year-on-year)

World share¹

RPK

ASK

PLF
(%-pt)²

PLF
(level)³

Domestic

36.4%

7.9%

9.0%

-0.8%

79.7%

Australia

1.1%

4.6%

5.2%

-0.4%

74.3%

Brazil

1.4%

-3.1%

-1.0%

-1.6%

78.5%

China P.R

8.4%

8.2%

9.5%

-1.0%

82.0%

India

1.2%

24.6%

27.4%

-1.9%

85.2%

Japan

1.2%

1.4%

-0.6%

1.3%

66.8%

Russia Fed.

1.3%

3.4%

-0.8%

2.9%

72.6%

US

15.4%

8.9%

11.5%

-1.9%

80.7%

¹% of industry RPKs in 2015 ²Year-on-year change in load factor ³Load factor level
*Note: the seven domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for 30% of global total RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs

  • India led all domestic markets again with a 24.6% year-on-year growth, supported by the strong economic backdrop, as well as notable increases in services. This trend is expected to continue with flight frequencies in 2016 scheduled to increase by 11.5% year-on-year.
  • Brazil’s domestic market decline may be starting to bottom out but the highly uncertain economic and political outlook could pose challenges for airlines in the near-term.

The Bottom Line

“On March 22 we had a grim reminder that transportation—including aviation—remains a target for terrorism. The attacks in Brussels were an attack on humanity—a terrible tragedy—that was met with resilience. The subway is back in operation. And the airport is working hard to return to normal operations that will reconnect Europe’s capital with the world. Aviation is a force for good. And we are once again proving that terrorists will never succeed in destroying the fundamental urge of people to travel, explore and learn about the world,” said Tyler

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents nearly 260 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures February be revised.
  • Domestic RPKs accounted for about 36% of the total market. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 66% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 46% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45% of the region’s operations. It is less important for Europe and most of Africa where domestic travel represents just 11% and 14% of operations, respectively. And it is negligible for Middle Eastern carriers for whom domestic travel represents just 4% of operations.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
    • ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
    • PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.
  • IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.

Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 31.5%, Europe 26.7%, North America 24.7%, Middle East 9.4%, Latin America 5.4%, and Africa 2.2%.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Air Transport Association (IATA).

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Categories: AFRICA

Orange completes the acquisition of the Liberian mobile operator Cellcom

Orange (www.Orange.com) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of 100% of Cellcom, Liberia’s leading mobile operator(1), through its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire.

Less than three months after signing the agreement with Cellcom Telecommunications Limited for the acquisition of its Liberian subsidiary, Orange has obtained all the official approbations necessary to complete the transaction. Cellcom Liberia has 1.4 million customers.

Liberia will now become the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group. With a population of 4.3 million people and relatively low mobile penetration rate (66% of the population), the country has a high-growth potential for Orange.

Over the next few months, Liberian customers will benefit from the arrival of Orange, one of Africa’s leading players in the telecoms’ industry. Orange will provide its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability to further strengthen the operator’s established network and enhance customer service.

This acquisition is part of the international development strategy of Orange, which aims to accelerate growth by entering new emerging markets with high potential. This will enable Orange to strengthen its positions in Africa, where almost one in ten people are already customers.

(1) Based on the number of subscribers at end December 2015

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

Press contact: +33 1 44 44 93 93
Tom Wright; tom.wright@orange.com
Caroline Simeoni ; caroline.simeoni@orange.com

About Orange
Orange (www.Orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 39 billion euros in 2014 and 157,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 98,000 employees in France. Present in 28 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 200 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

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Categories: AFRICA

Orange completes the acquisition of the Liberian mobile operator Cellcom

Orange (www.Orange.com) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of 100% of Cellcom, Liberia’s leading mobile operator(1), through its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire.

Less than three months after signing the agreement with Cellcom Telecommunications Limited for the acquisition of its Liberian subsidiary, Orange has obtained all the official approbations necessary to complete the transaction. Cellcom Liberia has 1.4 million customers.

Liberia will now become the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group. With a population of 4.3 million people and relatively low mobile penetration rate (66% of the population), the country has a high-growth potential for Orange.

Over the next few months, Liberian customers will benefit from the arrival of Orange, one of Africa’s leading players in the telecoms’ industry. Orange will provide its marketing expertise and world-class technical capability to further strengthen the operator’s established network and enhance customer service.

This acquisition is part of the international development strategy of Orange, which aims to accelerate growth by entering new emerging markets with high potential. This will enable Orange to strengthen its positions in Africa, where almost one in ten people are already customers.

(1) Based on the number of subscribers at end December 2015

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

Press contact: +33 1 44 44 93 93
Tom Wright; tom.wright@orange.com
Caroline Simeoni ; caroline.simeoni@orange.com

About Orange
Orange (www.Orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 39 billion euros in 2014 and 157,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 98,000 employees in France. Present in 28 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 200 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

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Categories: AFRICA

MSF criticises humanitarian community for severe lack of medicine in South Sudan

International donors and the broader humanitarian community must take immediate action to address widespread shortages of essential medicines in South Sudan, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today in an open letter from MSF international president Dr. Joanne Liu.

“The conflict in South Sudan has now continued for over two years, heavily impacting its population,” writes Dr. Liu, calling the worsening drug shortages “an additional and preventable medical emergency.”

Until June 2015, international donors provided for the funding, procurement and provision of essential medicines in South Sudan through a mechanism called the Emergency Medicines Fund (EMF). Although MSF warned that withdrawing this support would lead to a dramatic reduction in access to health care, donors decided not to renew the mechanism without implementing an adequate alternative.

MSF now witnesses shortages of medicines in primary health care centres in a majority of the locations where the organisation works in South Sudan, even in places less affected by conflict. The medical consequences became evident last year when MSF treated more patients than ever before for severe malaria, Dr. Liu wrote. Many sought treatment from MSF after becoming extremely sick because of the lack of access to medicine at the local level.

Specifically MSF has witnessed:

More patients than ever before for severe malaria at our clinics, as people are forced to travel long distances to reach our clinics due to a lack of drugs locally;
In the North West of the country, around Aweil 35 out of the 42 health centres visited by MSF recently were compromised – 12 closed completely, 23 experienced intermittent closures due to shortages.
In the South West of the country, in Ezo and Mundri, every medical facility MSF witnessed experienced drug shortages or ruptures.
Around the town of Pibor, in Jonglei, health centres across the entire region had been closed due to staff and drug shortages, and MSF’s medical centre was looted in February.

Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced by conflict in South Sudan, and the drug shortages are compounding the humanitarian needs. Recent years have been marked by major outbreaks of disease, including malaria and waterborne illnesses, putting thousands of lives at risk. Even prior to the outbreak of hostilities in December 2013, most health care in the country was provided by aid organisations.

“A new rainy season is approaching fast, promising new outbreaks as well as complicated logistics,” Dr. Liu wrote. “It is not a situation that one actor can resolve on their own, but concerted efforts seem to be lacking. We are therefore calling upon all donors, actors and authorities again to come together to avert a complete medical crisis which adds to an already dire humanitarian situation.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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Categories: AFRICA

U.S. Speaker of the House Visits Egypt

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is pleased to welcome to Egypt the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, who is leading a delegation from the U.S. Congress for meetings with Egyptian officials on April 7.

Speaker Ryan and the delegation plan to meet with President Sisi to discuss shared interests related to security, stability, and the fight against terrorism.

They also plan to meet with Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament, Ali Abdel-Al, and to explore opportunities for cooperation between the Egyptian Parliament and the United States House of Representatives.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

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Categories: AFRICA

Robust outlook for global cereal supplies in 2016

World cereal production in 2016 is set to amount to 2 521 million tonnes, just 0.2 percent off last year’s large output and the third-highest global performance on record, according to FAO’s first forecast for the new season, released today.

Large inventory levels and relatively sluggish global demand mean that market conditions for staple food grains appear stable for at least another season, the agency’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief predicts.

Food prices rise

The FAO Food Price Index for March was also released today. Overall, the Index rose by 1.0 percent compared to February, as soaring sugar prices and continued increase in palm oil quotations more than offset plunging dairy product prices.

The Index averaged 151.0 points in March, its highest level in 2016, but still some 12.0 percent below its level of a year earlier.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar. Its decline over the past year reflects ample food supplies, a slowing global economy and a stronger US dollar.

The keystone FAO Cereal Price Index fell slightly in March – marking the fifth straight month of decline- amid a favourable supply outlook in the new season. The drop was far more pronounced if compared to last year, as the sub-index is down 13.1 percent below its March 2015 level.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 17.1 percent from February, reaching its highest level since November 2014. The sharp increase reflects mainly expectations of a larger production deficit during the current crop year, but likely also reported higher use of raw sugar for the production of ethanol in Brazil.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index also rose notably, jumping 6.3 percent from February, as international palm oil prices surged on the back of prolonged dry weather in Malaysia and Indonesia, by far the world main producers. Soy oil prices were stable, while sunflower and rapeseed oil prices declined.

The FAO Dairy Price Index dropped 8.2 percent to its lowest level since June 2009, led by plummeting butter and cheese prices. The FAO Meat Price Index was broadly unchanged from last month.

First harvest forecasts for the year ahead

The small decline in 2016/17 world cereal production portended by FAO would largely result from a lower worldwide wheat production, which is now expected to amount to 712.7 million tonnes, some 20 million tonnes less than in 2015. The decline mostly reflects smaller plantings in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, both affected by dry weather.

Global output of coarse grains is projected at 1 313 million tonnes, up about 11 million tonnes from 2015, with expected increases in maize production more than offsetting declines for barley and sorghum.

Maize output is seen growing by 1.1 percent to 1 014 million tonnes, driven by recovering yields in the European Union and expanding plantings in the United States. At the same time, maize production is expected to fall in Southern Africa and Brazil, due to drought and adverse growing conditions associated with El Niño.

World rice production is predicted to recover with a return to normal weather conditions in northern-hemisphere Asia, where erratic rains have affected planting activity for the past two seasons. Global output, although impacted by unattractive prices, is predicted to rise 1.0 percent to 495 million tonnes.

International trade in cereals in 2016/17, however, is poised to decline for the second consecutive season – by 1.4 percent to 365 million tonnes – due to ample stockpiles and modest demand growth in many importing countries.

Global cereal utilization in 2016/17 is foreseen to grow only modestly, rising by around 1.0 percent to 2 547 million tonnes, according to very preliminary new estimates.

As utilization is anticipated to exceed production, cereal reserves would need to be drawn down to fill the gap. FAO’s first forecast for world cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2017 points to a likely 3.9 percent annual decline to 611 million tonnes. However, the resulting world cereal stock-to-utilization ratio would still approach 23 percent, well above the historical low of 20.5 percent registered in the 2007/2008 season.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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Categories: AFRICA

Robust outlook for global cereal supplies in 2016

World cereal production in 2016 is set to amount to 2 521 million tonnes, just 0.2 percent off last year’s large output and the third-highest global performance on record, according to FAO’s first forecast for the new season, released today.

Large inventory levels and relatively sluggish global demand mean that market conditions for staple food grains appear stable for at least another season, the agency’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief predicts.

Food prices rise

The FAO Food Price Index for March was also released today. Overall, the Index rose by 1.0 percent compared to February, as soaring sugar prices and continued increase in palm oil quotations more than offset plunging dairy product prices.

The Index averaged 151.0 points in March, its highest level in 2016, but still some 12.0 percent below its level of a year earlier.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar. Its decline over the past year reflects ample food supplies, a slowing global economy and a stronger US dollar.

The keystone FAO Cereal Price Index fell slightly in March – marking the fifth straight month of decline- amid a favourable supply outlook in the new season. The drop was far more pronounced if compared to last year, as the sub-index is down 13.1 percent below its March 2015 level.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 17.1 percent from February, reaching its highest level since November 2014. The sharp increase reflects mainly expectations of a larger production deficit during the current crop year, but likely also reported higher use of raw sugar for the production of ethanol in Brazil.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index also rose notably, jumping 6.3 percent from February, as international palm oil prices surged on the back of prolonged dry weather in Malaysia and Indonesia, by far the world main producers. Soy oil prices were stable, while sunflower and rapeseed oil prices declined.

The FAO Dairy Price Index dropped 8.2 percent to its lowest level since June 2009, led by plummeting butter and cheese prices. The FAO Meat Price Index was broadly unchanged from last month.

First harvest forecasts for the year ahead

The small decline in 2016/17 world cereal production portended by FAO would largely result from a lower worldwide wheat production, which is now expected to amount to 712.7 million tonnes, some 20 million tonnes less than in 2015. The decline mostly reflects smaller plantings in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, both affected by dry weather.

Global output of coarse grains is projected at 1 313 million tonnes, up about 11 million tonnes from 2015, with expected increases in maize production more than offsetting declines for barley and sorghum.

Maize output is seen growing by 1.1 percent to 1 014 million tonnes, driven by recovering yields in the European Union and expanding plantings in the United States. At the same time, maize production is expected to fall in Southern Africa and Brazil, due to drought and adverse growing conditions associated with El Niño.

World rice production is predicted to recover with a return to normal weather conditions in northern-hemisphere Asia, where erratic rains have affected planting activity for the past two seasons. Global output, although impacted by unattractive prices, is predicted to rise 1.0 percent to 495 million tonnes.

International trade in cereals in 2016/17, however, is poised to decline for the second consecutive season – by 1.4 percent to 365 million tonnes – due to ample stockpiles and modest demand growth in many importing countries.

Global cereal utilization in 2016/17 is foreseen to grow only modestly, rising by around 1.0 percent to 2 547 million tonnes, according to very preliminary new estimates.

As utilization is anticipated to exceed production, cereal reserves would need to be drawn down to fill the gap. FAO’s first forecast for world cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2017 points to a likely 3.9 percent annual decline to 611 million tonnes. However, the resulting world cereal stock-to-utilization ratio would still approach 23 percent, well above the historical low of 20.5 percent registered in the 2007/2008 season.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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Source:: Robust outlook for global cereal supplies in 2016

Categories: AFRICA

Top UN Development Official commends Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, Helen Clark, congratulated H.E. Abdel Fattah El Sisi President of the Arab Republic of Egypt for his leadership on Egypt’s forward-looking Sustainable Development Strategy that he launched last month.

Ms. Clark commended the emphasis that Egypt’s 2030 vision puts on key economic, social and environmental challenges and aspirations for Egypt’s future in close alignment with the global Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 that world leaders agreed upon at the last UN General Assembly Summit. She promised UNDP’s continued support to Egypt’s 2030 development quest.

H.E. President El Sisi received Ms. Clark at the conclusion of her visit to Cairo, where she opened the “Arab Ministerial Conference on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab States.”

“The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 is a comprehensive agenda which is highly relevant to the Arab States region. Now the hard work must begin to implement it,” underlined Ms. Clark In her opening speech at the conference. “I am encouraged that so many of the issues which are critical to implementation of the SDGs are reflected in the agenda of the conference. UNDP stands ready to play its full part in support of implementation of the SDGs in this region,” she added.

The Administrator held meetings with Egypt’s Prime Minister H.E. Sherif Ismail, Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Sameh Shukry, and Minister of Social Solidarity H.E. Ghada Waly, in the presence of Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau of Arab States. Ms. Anita Nirody, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and Mr. Ignacio Artaza, UNDP Country Director, also took part in those meetings where they discussed cooperation between UNDP and the Government of Egypt as well as future plans to continue supporting Egypt in achieving sustainable development.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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Source:: Top UN Development Official commends Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030

Categories: AFRICA

UK special Representative for Climate Change to visit South Africa

Sir David King, the UK Foreign Secretary’s permanent Special Representative for Climate Change, will visit South Africa from 10-12 April 2016.

His visit will focus on the Mission Innovation agreement as a follow up to the COP21 discussions in Paris in 2015. In June this year, Mission Innovation’s 20 signatory states, of which the UK is one, will collectively commit to a framework for doubling investment in renewable energy research and development to $20 billion over five years. This public and private finance is a critical component for increasing the momentum of the uptake of renewables, and plays a key role in improving access to energy, energy security, and socioeconomic development.

There will be a strong overarching economic and business focus to the visit with Sir David meeting members of the business community and South African government.

Notes for Editors:

1. Sir David will be speaking at a public seminar on Renewable Energy: Investment, Innovation and Opportunity in a Post-COP21 World. This will take place at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria at 1400 on Monday 11 April 2016. Please RSVP to janine.ablas@fco.gov.uk.

2. Mission Innovation aims to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.

Accelerating widespread clean energy innovation is:

An indispensable part of an effective, long term global response to our shared climate challenge;
Necessary to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth; and
Critical for energy security.

While important progress has been made in cost reduction and deployment of clean energy technologies, the pace of innovation and the scale of transformation and dissemination remains significantly short of what is needed.

Mission Innovation will help accelerate the global clean energy revolution.

Mission Innovation was launched at the COP21 in Paris last December, and has been signed by a mix of developed and developing countries, including the UK, US and Australia, as well as Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia.

Sir David King:

The Foreign Secretary appointed Sir David King as his new permanent Special Representative for Climate Change in September 2013. Sir David was previously the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 – 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the Energy Technologies Institute. He also served as the Founding Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at Oxford; was Head of the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University 1993-2000 and Master of Downing College at Cambridge 1995 -2000.

Sir David has published over 500 papers on science and policy, for which he has received numerous awards, and holds 22 Honorary Degrees from universities around the world. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and knighted in 2003, Sir David was also made an Officier of the French Legion d’Honneur’ in 2009, for work which has contributed to responding to the climate and energy challenge.

Link to report: http://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/projects/climate-change-risk-assessment/

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Pretoria.

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Source:: UK special Representative for Climate Change to visit South Africa

Categories: AFRICA

The Nation Brand Staying Power Captured Through Consistency and Visibility: Nigeria and South Africa – Wealth of Opportunities in Collaboration

The most important aspects of nation branding is ensuring consistency in the marketing initiatives and a visible presence in order to keep the brand top-of-the-mind of the targeted audience. I have observed with interest in the recent past that Brand South Africa has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at developing and managing South Africa’s reputation in my country and the rest of the continent. I have had a pleasure of engaging with them in 2014 (as an interviewee for their Africa Perceptions Study), 2015 (as a discussant in the Roundtable Dialogue entitled, towards agenda 2063: the ties that bind us) and this year in a bilateral session with their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Ms. Linda Magapatona-Sangaret.

My interaction with the Brand SA team led by their CMO is a practical example of what I stated in my opening comment, consistency and visibility. I have observed commitment of the Team in communicating a clear message that South Africa is an integral part of the continent. Our discussions on Monday were a follow-up on the previous engagements in order to craft a way forward that will strengthen collaboration between the two African economic giants.

My field of expertise (i.e. the film industry) is one of the platforms that are readily available to tell a positive narrative about our beloved continent. I believe that we need to tell this narrative first to ourselves as Africans in order to get to know each other better and appreciate our differences as strengths that each of us can tap into at any given moment. Then share with the world our story from our own perspective through film and any other form of creative arts. This form of marketing communication will influence the perceptions that we have about one another as the continent.

We have a common history and heritage, for example we still need to tell the common narrative about Africa’s role in supporting the initiatives that dismantled the shackles of apartheid in South Africa. To undertake such initiatives requires resolute leadership, it is for this reason that I assert that Nigeria and South Africa need to lead the continent to attain its greatness. Therefore, Brand South Africa’s initiatives, not only in Nigeria but also to the continent, are commendable efforts to drive Africa’s competitiveness. As we journey towards the centenary since the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU), we need to emphasise more on our commonalities as we build the ‘Brand Africa’ that we all want to see by 2063.

*Mr. Alex Eyengho is the President of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP. He writes in his personal capacity.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Brand South Africa.

For more information contact:

Ms. Sindiswa Mququ, General Manager: Africa & Middle East Programme, Brand South Africa sindiswam@brandsouthafrica.com

Source:: The Nation Brand Staying Power Captured Through Consistency and Visibility: Nigeria and South Africa – Wealth of Opportunities in Collaboration

Categories: AFRICA