GENEVA, Switzerland, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Following attacks since 5am this morning in Bangui, Central African Republic, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are responding and have treated wounded in hospitals in the city. Sylvain Groulx, the general coordinator of MSF in CAR, reports that around 65 wounded have been taken to the hospital Communautaire, 20 of them in critical condition, 8 have died. An MSF team has been dispatched to the hospital to support the staff. The volatile situation in Bangui means it is difficult to report a reliable number of dead and wounded at this time. MSF has also set in place contingency plans to support health centres and hospitals in the capital, with available supplies of surgical material, drugs, fuel and water, if needs arise.
MOGADISHU, Somalia, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has strongly condemned a violent attack on Puntland government forces today.
At approximately 11 am this morning, a suicide car bomber targeted Puntland forces in the port city of Bossaso; reports suggest that several people were killed and dozens injured in the attack.
Puntland is in the midst of an electoral process that should lead to a new parliament this year and presidential elections in January 2014.
“Such cowardly acts will serve no purpose,” SRSG Kay said. “We stand by the people of Puntland as they strive for stability and prosperity.”
He expressed his sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones and wished all those injured in the attack a quick recovery.
PARIS, France, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Schneider Electric (http://www.schneider-electric.com) announces that two projects in its BipBop (1) access to energy program have been chosen to participate in the “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” taking place in Paris on 4 and 5 December 2013. This forum was initiated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prompted by the Deputy Minister responsible for Development, Pascal Canfin, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD).
Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/mohammed_saad_president_africa_schneider_electric.jpg (Mohammed Saad, President Africa, Schneider Electric)
The “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” aims to highlight innovative concrete examples and practical solutions on a national or local scale, in such varied fields as health, the environment, agriculture and food safety, education and new technology. In addition to the entrepreneurial nature and economic viability of these innovations, their contributions to sustainable development and their social and environmental dimensions will be recognized. The event follows on from the Development and international solidarity forums, closed on March 1st 2012 by the French President. It is evidence of France’s support, via the AFD Group, for the promotion of innovative sustainable development in Africa.
Two projects developed by Schneider Electric in the context of BipBop, its access to energy program, were selected from the 100 projects presented:
- “Energy and Microfinance” project in Cameroon – Sponsored by the PAMIGA (Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa) association, in collaboration with Schneider Electric and the MIFED in Cameroon, this project consists of offering micro-credit solutions in rural and urban areas to finance the purchase of solar solutions. Such schemes can boost the economic development of individual tradesmen and small businesses. Schneider Electric provides solutions which meet the needs identified by microfinance institutions (MFIs) and uses its local partners (distributors, integrators, installers) to assure the customers of these MFIs of the availability of these affordable solutions, combined with a quality service. The customers of these MFIs are offered two types of credit: “light” credits which offer low-energy solar lighting systems; and “energy” credits, designed to provide solar solutions suitable for the needs of an income-generating activity. This project has also been initiated in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
- The decentralized rural electrification project at Abu Monkar in Egypt – This Schneider Electric project paved the way for development of the first solar power plant built in the Egyptian province of New Valley. The solar power plant at Abu Monkar, built more than 75 miles from the nearest grid, delivers 108 kWh/day, enough to meet all the village’s basic needs (school, mosque, homes, etc.). Schneider Electric also trains the residents of Abu Monkar to ensure optimal operation and maintenance of the power plant.
“The strength of the BipBop program relies on the combination between the R&D capabilities of Schneider Electric and the engagement of our local employees who all know perfectly their own countries’ problematic and ecosystems. Answering the rural energy challenge is key both for the continent’s economical development and for the people who directly benefit from light, from a better agriculture, education or healthcare. It is an exciting challenge and I think all our employees who made these two BipBop projects happen can be very honored and proud to see their efforts recognized by the French government”, states Mohammed Saad, President of Schneider Electric in Africa.
In the context of the Forum, René Pierrot Ekoé, Sustainable Development Engineer at Schneider Electric Cameroon and sponsor of the “Energy and Microfinance” project, was selected with 20 other project sponsors to speak on 5 December 2013 and share the Group’s ideas on best practice.
(1) Acronym for Business and Innovation for the People at the Base Of the Pyramid
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Schneider Electric SA.
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About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric (http://www.schneider-electric.com) offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities and Infrastructure, Industries and Machine Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group’s 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 24 billion euros in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.
NAIROBI, Kenya, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa recently installed a new weather system at the Kenyan Military Airport in Nairobi.
The team included U.S. service members from the J3 Meteorological and Oceanographic Office, J3 Special Operations Command and Control Element Weather System and Support Cadre and the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.
Before the new system was installed, the Kenyan Defense Forces relied on data from a civilian weather system which can be very time consuming.
The system, officially called the TMQ-53 Tactical Meteorological Observing System, assists war planners and combat weather teams through a collection of weather sensors connected to a computer. The system uses low-earth orbiting satellites to collect data, enabling the transmission of mission-critical weather data within an hour after receiving it.
The new system provides current weather conditions to the Kenyan Defense Forces, which will enhance the safety of future missions.
“Enhancing safety and effectiveness of the Kenyan Defense Forces ground and air operations was one of many positive results of the mil-to-mil engagement,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Martin, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Joint Meteorological and Oceanographic Officer.
Joining the mission with METOC were J3 WSSC technicians to help install and provide working knowledge of the system to KDF personnel.
“As subject matter experts, we went there to ensure the location was right for the system and properly installed,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Harlan Rogers, noncommissioned officer in charge of the cadre. “The Kenyans we were working with were very sharp, fast learners, and their attention to detail was amazing.”
Senior Airman Michael Becker, the cadre’s lead technician, explained how the TMQ-53 system worked.
“The event in Kenya was a unique experience and very rewarding,” Becker said. “Going to Kenya to install the TMQ-53 while communicating to the Kenyan Defense Force how proper maintenance and handling the equipment helps it last longer builds that trust in our relationship with them.”
Becker also noted that he enjoyed learning some of their language and culture, and liked trying their cuisine. He said it was an experience he will never forget and would love to go there again.
CJTF-HOA supports partner nations such as Kenya in military to military engagements in order to defeat violent extremist organizations in East Africa.
CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, December 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — South African financial services group Sanlam (http://www.sanlam.co.za) announced today that it had opened its prestigious financial journalism awards to reporters across Africa for the first time. The group aims to recognise and celebrate the contribution journalists across the continent are making towards the African growth story. The Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism have been rewarding exceptional reporting in South Africa since 1974.
Through a newly introduced award, Sanlam will award outstanding, in-depth reporting that highlights and contributes towards the economic rise of the continent. News value, rigour in reporting, originality, impact and storytelling are among the criteria that will be used in the judging of the ‘African Growth Story’ award. The category is open to journalists from across the continent who work for African media vehicles (i.e. print, TV, radio or online media that are based in Africa and are targeted at African audiences).
Established 96 years ago, Sanlam is a JSE-listed South African financial services group which has expanded steadily across the African continent. It now boasts one of the largest African footprints of any South African financial services group with a presence in 10 countries in Africa – over and above South Africa – namely Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania.
Dr Johan van Zyl, chief executive officer of Cape Town-headquartered Sanlam, says the group is delighted to extend the invitation to journalists across Africa. “Our own growth story has made us very aware of the amazing journey that the continent is on. We believe in the potential of Africa, and in the contribution good journalism is making towards unlocking this potential and are therefore delighted to use these awards as a vehicle to honour outstanding reporting.”
The special category will recognise reporting that specifically covers and highlights the African growth story, and that deals with the economic awakening and rise of the continent as a whole in a meaningful, effective way. Stories should focus on the growth of the continent in terms of investments, infrastructural development, economic and monetary policies and related issues and challenges. Stories can be presented from a particular country’s perspective, but should pertain to issues which have broader relevance for the continent.
The Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism are judged by an independent panel of judges, which includes media experts, an academic and an economist. Journalists interested in submitting their work can do so online at http://www.sanlam.co.za/journoawards, where full details can be found.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Sanlam Group Communications.
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