Expression of Interest: Nigeria: EPC and O&M Contractors for Gas-Fired Power Plant

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Background:

In 2014, USTDA funded the Royal Power Gas-Fired IPP Feasibility Study for the Royal Power Integrated and General Services Limited Company (RPIS), a private sector independent power producer and energy advisory company in Nigeria. The objective of the feasibility study was to assist RPIS in completing the technical and financial feasibility analyses that are required to obtain a power generation license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as obtaining a license is a prerequisite to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Study also helped the grantee prepare the necessary documentation to secure financing support for implementing and operating a 275 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas-fired power plant based in Badagry, Lagos State, Nigeria. The contractor for this project was NOVI Energy, Inc. The Final Report was submitted in February 2016 and approved by RPIS in April 2016.

RPIS invites interested EPC Contractors to submit Expressions of Interest in providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services necessary for turnkey implementation of its power plant.

Interested EPC and O&M contractors are requested to submit via email an Expression of Interest with a detailed background including the company’s profile and information regarding past and current projects.

Key criterion for shortlisting will be:

– Overall contractor experience for similar power plants;

– Experience in African terrain;

– Ability to provide both EPC as well as O&M services; and

– Track record of completing such projects in a timely manner.

Based on an evaluation of the Expressions of Interest received, successful applicants will be issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) and other bidding documents. RPIS is expected to complete the evaluation process by the end of August.

Proposal Deadline: July 15, 2016

Point of Contact:

Project Director

Royal Power Integrated & General Services Limited,

1218/B, Sam Adegbite Close,

Off Amodu Ojikutu Street,

Victoria Island, Lagos

Nigeria

E- Mail: [email protected]

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

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Source:: Expression of Interest: Nigeria: EPC and O&M Contractors for Gas-Fired Power Plant

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Expression of Interest: Nigeria: EPC and O&M Contractors for Gas-Fired Power Plant

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Background:

In 2014, USTDA funded the Royal Power Gas-Fired IPP Feasibility Study for the Royal Power Integrated and General Services Limited Company (RPIS), a private sector independent power producer and energy advisory company in Nigeria. The objective of the feasibility study was to assist RPIS in completing the technical and financial feasibility analyses that are required to obtain a power generation license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as obtaining a license is a prerequisite to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Study also helped the grantee prepare the necessary documentation to secure financing support for implementing and operating a 275 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas-fired power plant based in Badagry, Lagos State, Nigeria. The contractor for this project was NOVI Energy, Inc. The Final Report was submitted in February 2016 and approved by RPIS in April 2016.

RPIS invites interested EPC Contractors to submit Expressions of Interest in providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services necessary for turnkey implementation of its power plant.

Interested EPC and O&M contractors are requested to submit via email an Expression of Interest with a detailed background including the company’s profile and information regarding past and current projects.

Key criterion for shortlisting will be:

– Overall contractor experience for similar power plants;

– Experience in African terrain;

– Ability to provide both EPC as well as O&M services; and

– Track record of completing such projects in a timely manner.

Based on an evaluation of the Expressions of Interest received, successful applicants will be issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) and other bidding documents. RPIS is expected to complete the evaluation process by the end of August.

Proposal Deadline: July 15, 2016

Point of Contact:

Project Director

Royal Power Integrated & General Services Limited,

1218/B, Sam Adegbite Close,

Off Amodu Ojikutu Street,

Victoria Island, Lagos

Nigeria

E- Mail: [email protected]

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

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Source:: Expression of Interest: Nigeria: EPC and O&M Contractors for Gas-Fired Power Plant

Categories: AFRICA

Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Evaluation Purpose and Questions

This performance evaluation examines the appropriateness and effectiveness of livelihoods programs for refugee returnees in Burundi funded by DOS/PRM (PRM) during fiscal years 2009-2013 and implemented by three implementing partners (IPs). The purpose of this evaluation is to provide PRM with guidance and learning to improve PRM’s livelihoods programming strategy as well as its capacity to support the design and implementation of livelihoods projects that contribute to helping refugees and returned refugees become self-reliant.

The evaluation seeks to answer the following overarching questions, each of which included several sub-questions that have been thoroughly addressed in the body of this report.

1. What types of assistance/programs were provided?

2. Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

3. Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

4. What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

PRM Livelihoods Strategy

Building sustainable livelihoods is believed to facilitate achievement of PRM’s goal of durable solutions and supporting self-reliance for refugees. In May 2014, PRM adopted an internal livelihoods strategy, which outlines the following three goals:

1. Improve design and implementation of livelihoods programming;

2. Develop and disseminate tools and guidance for program officers and refugee coordinators; and

3. Exert diplomatic efforts to improve livelihoods prospects for populations of concern.

Program Response

World Relief (WR) began programming in the Makamba and Rutana Provinces of Burundi in 2005 however, the projects for which it received PRM funding and that were evaluated as part of this contract began in 2009. WR’s livelihood activities included the distribution of seeds and chickens as well as the establishment of village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). Christian Outreach for Relief and Development (CORD) has worked with PRM funding in Burundi since 2009 with a focus on peacebuilding. CORD’s livelihoods activities targeted HHs with assistance including seeds, tools, animals, and cuttings as well as training in animal husbandry, agricultural production, and composting. Food for the Hungry (FH) also began implementing livelihoods activities with PRM funding in 2009. FH’s main activities included seed and tool distribution, goat distribution, and training in animal husbandry, stable construction, and improved agriculture techniques.

Evaluation Design, Data Collection Methods, and Limitations

This mixed-methods evaluation employed the standard rapid appraisal methods of document review, preliminary interviews, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits within Ruyigi, Rutana, and Makamba provinces. The two-person evaluation team interviewed various stakeholders, including PRM staff members, IP staff members, UNHCR, communal authorities, program beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries, and local partner organizations. Several limitations affected the data collection and analysis, including lack of baseline and monitoring data, selection and response bias, restricted fieldwork timeframe, and the absence of baseline and robust monitoring data, among others.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Evaluation Question 1: What types of assistance/programs were provided?

IPs in Burundi included livelihoods activities as part of a larger package of interventions for returned refugees, IDPs, and “stayees” (individuals who remained in Burundi during the conflicts). In most cases, livelihoods activities constituted the smallest component of IPs’ annual budgets. Most livelihoods activities were designed as a one-time distribution of goods rather than a long-term intervention with on-going services. A small number of activities included training components for certain participants, while other activities focused on the creation of income-generating and savings and loans activities. It was difficult for the team to assess the extent to which IPs’ activities were able to meet beneficiary needs and preferences due to the lack of useful baseline data. Needs assessment data, as well as systematic information gathered on individual and HH situations, community and market contexts, as well as ethnic and gender dynamics would have greatly facilitated this evaluation and enabled the team to feasibly answer this evaluation question. The substantial time lapse between the end of the programs and the evaluation made it very problematic for participants to recall their experiences; identify changes over the course of the programming; and differentiate between the inputs and activities they received from FH, CORD, or WR in light of the many other organizations also providing nearly identical support, distributions, and training.

Evaluation Question 2: Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

All IPs discussed targeting criteria in the implementation of their livelihoods activities, however criteria were loosely defined and clear policies and procedures for applying and following the criteria were lacking. Feedback from village leaders and association members underscores the ad-hoc nature in which many activities were targeted and participants were selected. The team found a range among interviewed participants regarding levels of vulnerability, with some participants in need of assistance to meet basic needs and others who appeared well off and not in need of assistance. Several activities were not designed to assist the most vulnerable due to requirements of either a financial or asset-based contribution such as land, while the targeting and selection processes of other activities were not accessible to all eligible community members due to the way in which the process was executed at the village level.

The team found an overwhelming lack of sustainability due to the one-time nature of activities and the absence of sufficient, on-going support, particularly for individuals who are more vulnerable.

Evaluation Question 3: Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

The team found the activities to be poorly designed and poorly implemented with minimal sustainability and few tangible outcomes. In addition to the weaknesses in activity design and implementation, the team found a widespread deficiency of technical knowledge and experience among IP program staff about livelihoods and livelihoods interventions. Moreover, the evaluation team found that IPs were not engaged in routine, systematic monitoring of their activities during the period of implementation. In some cases where monitoring data was collected by the IPs, this data was found to be quite accurate, although insufficient for the purposes of determining if a livelihoods program effected a change in the self-sufficiency of the beneficiaries. In particular, the absence of outcome-level indicators limits the depth of learning about these programs that can be achieved.

Evaluation Question 4: What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

Due to the lack of baseline data, the team is not able to determine the impact of the activities or attribute changes in beneficiaries’ livelihoods to the IPs’ interventions. All aspects of the activities for which the team was able to collect information are discussed in the other sections of this report.

SELECTED RECOMMENDATIONS

For IPs

IPs need to ensure that their field-based staff members in charge of implementing and overseeing livelihoods programs are properly trained and skilled in the field/discipline of livelihoods. HQ staff need to develop systems and tools to provide their field-based colleagues with stronger technical guidance and support to do their jobs, as field-based staff lack education and training in livelihoods.

IPs should include, at a minimum, one full staff position dedicated to monitoring livelihoods programs. Requiring existing staff members and refugee social worker assistants to undertake program monitoring is not feasible. Including M&E directly in budgets, both in terms of staff time and additional, needed resources, will help to ensure that program monitoring is given the necessary attention and dedication. While having a staff person for each project may not be feasible or necessary, a country-level or regional coordinator may be well-suited for such work.

IPs need to place more importance on developing livelihoods activities that are appealing to the needs of women and girls. Activities should be based on sound evidence as collected through a gender analysis with a focus on livelihoods capacities and gaps. Activities should not only demonstrate a nuanced and informed design, but also an implementation approach that considers how best to recruit and support women and girls to maintain their participation in activities as well as to find success following the termination and/or completion of activities.

For PRM

PRM should consider its capacity for supporting IPs working on livelihoods assistance. This includes the presence of a clear strategy with well-articulated priorities and operational procedures. This framework should be used as the basis for how awards are made and how IPs are monitored and evaluated over time.

PRM should ensure that needs assessments are conducted by each IP prior to program design and implementation. Needs assessments should also seek to understand the community context in terms of land ownership and use, markets, politics, ethnicity, gender, social structures and networks, wealth, and religion, among others.

PRM should insist on proper M&E of its programs and should require sufficient M&E budget lines in all proposals for livelihoods programs. Specifically, PRM should require all IPs to develop project logical frameworks that clearly state their program or activity objectives and the series of activities that will produce the required outputs, outcomes, and intermediate results to those objectives. The project logical framework should include the necessary custom and standard indicators (as offered by PRM) to monitor program or activity implementation over time. Indicator targets can also be set where necessary. The logical framework should be designed in a way that demonstrates careful consideration of the pre-design and implementation assessments that have been conducted of the needs and context.

PRM should review its vulnerability criteria for livelihoods programs vis-à-vis the types of activities IPs are proposing to implement. This review should be made in consideration that program participants will be well-placed to find success and ultimately to benefit from the activity or program being implemented and that proposed activities are appropriately designed for inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

Categories: AFRICA

Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Evaluation Purpose and Questions

This performance evaluation examines the appropriateness and effectiveness of livelihoods programs for refugee returnees in Burundi funded by DOS/PRM (PRM) during fiscal years 2009-2013 and implemented by three implementing partners (IPs). The purpose of this evaluation is to provide PRM with guidance and learning to improve PRM’s livelihoods programming strategy as well as its capacity to support the design and implementation of livelihoods projects that contribute to helping refugees and returned refugees become self-reliant.

The evaluation seeks to answer the following overarching questions, each of which included several sub-questions that have been thoroughly addressed in the body of this report.

1. What types of assistance/programs were provided?

2. Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

3. Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

4. What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

PRM Livelihoods Strategy

Building sustainable livelihoods is believed to facilitate achievement of PRM’s goal of durable solutions and supporting self-reliance for refugees. In May 2014, PRM adopted an internal livelihoods strategy, which outlines the following three goals:

1. Improve design and implementation of livelihoods programming;

2. Develop and disseminate tools and guidance for program officers and refugee coordinators; and

3. Exert diplomatic efforts to improve livelihoods prospects for populations of concern.

Program Response

World Relief (WR) began programming in the Makamba and Rutana Provinces of Burundi in 2005 however, the projects for which it received PRM funding and that were evaluated as part of this contract began in 2009. WR’s livelihood activities included the distribution of seeds and chickens as well as the establishment of village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). Christian Outreach for Relief and Development (CORD) has worked with PRM funding in Burundi since 2009 with a focus on peacebuilding. CORD’s livelihoods activities targeted HHs with assistance including seeds, tools, animals, and cuttings as well as training in animal husbandry, agricultural production, and composting. Food for the Hungry (FH) also began implementing livelihoods activities with PRM funding in 2009. FH’s main activities included seed and tool distribution, goat distribution, and training in animal husbandry, stable construction, and improved agriculture techniques.

Evaluation Design, Data Collection Methods, and Limitations

This mixed-methods evaluation employed the standard rapid appraisal methods of document review, preliminary interviews, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits within Ruyigi, Rutana, and Makamba provinces. The two-person evaluation team interviewed various stakeholders, including PRM staff members, IP staff members, UNHCR, communal authorities, program beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries, and local partner organizations. Several limitations affected the data collection and analysis, including lack of baseline and monitoring data, selection and response bias, restricted fieldwork timeframe, and the absence of baseline and robust monitoring data, among others.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Evaluation Question 1: What types of assistance/programs were provided?

IPs in Burundi included livelihoods activities as part of a larger package of interventions for returned refugees, IDPs, and “stayees” (individuals who remained in Burundi during the conflicts). In most cases, livelihoods activities constituted the smallest component of IPs’ annual budgets. Most livelihoods activities were designed as a one-time distribution of goods rather than a long-term intervention with on-going services. A small number of activities included training components for certain participants, while other activities focused on the creation of income-generating and savings and loans activities. It was difficult for the team to assess the extent to which IPs’ activities were able to meet beneficiary needs and preferences due to the lack of useful baseline data. Needs assessment data, as well as systematic information gathered on individual and HH situations, community and market contexts, as well as ethnic and gender dynamics would have greatly facilitated this evaluation and enabled the team to feasibly answer this evaluation question. The substantial time lapse between the end of the programs and the evaluation made it very problematic for participants to recall their experiences; identify changes over the course of the programming; and differentiate between the inputs and activities they received from FH, CORD, or WR in light of the many other organizations also providing nearly identical support, distributions, and training.

Evaluation Question 2: Who are the recipients of assistance/programs?

All IPs discussed targeting criteria in the implementation of their livelihoods activities, however criteria were loosely defined and clear policies and procedures for applying and following the criteria were lacking. Feedback from village leaders and association members underscores the ad-hoc nature in which many activities were targeted and participants were selected. The team found a range among interviewed participants regarding levels of vulnerability, with some participants in need of assistance to meet basic needs and others who appeared well off and not in need of assistance. Several activities were not designed to assist the most vulnerable due to requirements of either a financial or asset-based contribution such as land, while the targeting and selection processes of other activities were not accessible to all eligible community members due to the way in which the process was executed at the village level.

The team found an overwhelming lack of sustainability due to the one-time nature of activities and the absence of sufficient, on-going support, particularly for individuals who are more vulnerable.

Evaluation Question 3: Were PRM-supported programs designed and implemented using best practices?

The team found the activities to be poorly designed and poorly implemented with minimal sustainability and few tangible outcomes. In addition to the weaknesses in activity design and implementation, the team found a widespread deficiency of technical knowledge and experience among IP program staff about livelihoods and livelihoods interventions. Moreover, the evaluation team found that IPs were not engaged in routine, systematic monitoring of their activities during the period of implementation. In some cases where monitoring data was collected by the IPs, this data was found to be quite accurate, although insufficient for the purposes of determining if a livelihoods program effected a change in the self-sufficiency of the beneficiaries. In particular, the absence of outcome-level indicators limits the depth of learning about these programs that can be achieved.

Evaluation Question 4: What was the impact of the programs/assistance?

Due to the lack of baseline data, the team is not able to determine the impact of the activities or attribute changes in beneficiaries’ livelihoods to the IPs’ interventions. All aspects of the activities for which the team was able to collect information are discussed in the other sections of this report.

SELECTED RECOMMENDATIONS

For IPs

IPs need to ensure that their field-based staff members in charge of implementing and overseeing livelihoods programs are properly trained and skilled in the field/discipline of livelihoods. HQ staff need to develop systems and tools to provide their field-based colleagues with stronger technical guidance and support to do their jobs, as field-based staff lack education and training in livelihoods.

IPs should include, at a minimum, one full staff position dedicated to monitoring livelihoods programs. Requiring existing staff members and refugee social worker assistants to undertake program monitoring is not feasible. Including M&E directly in budgets, both in terms of staff time and additional, needed resources, will help to ensure that program monitoring is given the necessary attention and dedication. While having a staff person for each project may not be feasible or necessary, a country-level or regional coordinator may be well-suited for such work.

IPs need to place more importance on developing livelihoods activities that are appealing to the needs of women and girls. Activities should be based on sound evidence as collected through a gender analysis with a focus on livelihoods capacities and gaps. Activities should not only demonstrate a nuanced and informed design, but also an implementation approach that considers how best to recruit and support women and girls to maintain their participation in activities as well as to find success following the termination and/or completion of activities.

For PRM

PRM should consider its capacity for supporting IPs working on livelihoods assistance. This includes the presence of a clear strategy with well-articulated priorities and operational procedures. This framework should be used as the basis for how awards are made and how IPs are monitored and evaluated over time.

PRM should ensure that needs assessments are conducted by each IP prior to program design and implementation. Needs assessments should also seek to understand the community context in terms of land ownership and use, markets, politics, ethnicity, gender, social structures and networks, wealth, and religion, among others.

PRM should insist on proper M&E of its programs and should require sufficient M&E budget lines in all proposals for livelihoods programs. Specifically, PRM should require all IPs to develop project logical frameworks that clearly state their program or activity objectives and the series of activities that will produce the required outputs, outcomes, and intermediate results to those objectives. The project logical framework should include the necessary custom and standard indicators (as offered by PRM) to monitor program or activity implementation over time. Indicator targets can also be set where necessary. The logical framework should be designed in a way that demonstrates careful consideration of the pre-design and implementation assessments that have been conducted of the needs and context.

PRM should review its vulnerability criteria for livelihoods programs vis-à-vis the types of activities IPs are proposing to implement. This review should be made in consideration that program participants will be well-placed to find success and ultimately to benefit from the activity or program being implemented and that proposed activities are appropriately designed for inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Evaluating the Effectiveness of PRM Livelihoods Programs for Returned Refugees in Burundi, August 2015

Correction : full joint communique Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia

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At the invitation of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia paid a three day Official Visit to Kenya from 6th to 8th June, 2016.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Dadaab Refugee Camp on Monday 6th June, 2016 and addressed the refugees. He assured them that the Government of Somalia is committed to receive them back home to participate in the process of state building, peace building and national reconciliation. He reassured them that the repatriation will be orderly, humane and dignified as per the Tripartite Agreement. President Mohamud expressed deep gratitude for the generosity and hospitality of Kenyans for hosting his people for the past quarter of a century.

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held bilateral talks at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, 7th June, 2016. The meeting reviewed a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues in particular peace, security and stability in Somalia, repatriation of refugees from Dadaab and economic cooperation.
In this regard, the two leaders:

1. Reaffirmed the good neighborliness, bonds of heritage, shared destiny and the cordial relationship that exists between Kenya and Somalia, which are de
2. Appreciated the contribution of African countries within the framework of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in stabilizing Somalia and commended the value of cooperation between AMISOM and the Somalia Security Forces in securing a stable environment for state building in line with Somalia’s Vision 2016.
3. Further Appreciated the key role Kenya continues to play in promoting peace, security, unity and stability in Somalia.
4. Noted the progress made in the political process and expressed confidence that the upcoming election will lead to a foundation for stable and prosperous Somalia.
5. Committed to working jointly on the orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees back to Somalia as per the Tripartite Agreement.
6. Underscored that the Tripartite Agreement provides the framework for fast-tracking orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees.
7. Noted with appreciation that this cooperation endeavour will enhance the spirit of proactive collaboration over and above the framework of the Tripartite Agreement.
8. Called upon the international community in line with the principles of burden sharing to support this process by providing adequate support to the Federal Government of Somalia to receive the returnees.
9. On bilateral cooperation, Directed/ the immediate convening of the Joint Commission for Co-operation to follow up on its implementation particularly on joint border crossing and security, trade and investment, health, education, sports and youth, culture and scientific research and communication.
10. Agreed that in the short term, the customs and immigration clearance procedures for flights from Somalia to Kenya be carried out at one point of entry to be determined soon; and, in the long term develop modalities for a direct flight between Somalia and Kenya.
11. On regional issues, Agreed, to consult the Chair of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the convening of the IGAD Summit in Mogadishu.
12. Reaffirmed their firm commitment to work together on areas of mutual interest.

President Mohamud thanked his brother and colleague President Kenyatta and his Government for the gracious invitation. He invited President Kenyatta to visit Somalia in the near future. President Kenyatta accepted the invitation.

The two Presidents rededicated themselves and their Governments to enhance and further deepen the cordial relations that exist between Kenya and Somalia.

Nairobi, Kenya
8th June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Federal Republic of Somalia – Office of the President.

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Source:: Correction : full joint communique Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia

Categories: AFRICA

Facebook Sponsored CyberXchange Hackathon Competition is Here! Register Now to Win Amazing Prizes

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Clear your calendar – It’s going down! First ever CyberXchange Hackathon (www.CyberXchange.com) sponsored by Facebook to touch Nigerian soil. Come not just by yourself but your team to compete against other university and young professionals with less than 2 years experience throughout Nigeria. You will have the opportunity to build a hack against a cyber security issue. So what’s in it for you besides being part of the CyberXchange 2016, the largest cyber security conference to set foot in Nigeria? prizes, worldwide exposure of your company and university team, and so much more.

How to Register:

-Visit www.CyberXchange.com

-Click on the Hack-a-thon registration page to register

-Enter your details and you will instantly receive an email

-Follow the link in your e-mail to answer the pre-qualification questions

-You will be contacted once you qualify for the finale

The pre-qualifier registration closes August 30th. Notifications to those who are accepted will be sent out by end of day on September 24th. The final competition will hold on November 2nd-3rd 2016 at the Landmark event Center Lagos.

Qualifiers will be required to start brainstorming ideas & form a team of up to 4 people. Refreshments, fun diversions, prizes, and some expert guidance from Facebook’s team of experts will be provided. All participants need bring is a laptop, appetite, skills and ideas. Judges include; Regina Wallace-Jones Head of Security Operations Facebook, popular celebrity, Eldee amongst others.

According to Facebook; sponsors of the competition “We hope to discover new talents, methods and ideas; and to encourage development in the field of information security. It is our hope that besides discovering gifted hackers and cyber-defenders, the CyberXchange 2016 Hack-a-thon will inspire the development of West Africa’s Information security professionals of the future”.

Hack-a-thon is a competition geared towards finding the best prototypes by starting from scratch to build a workable idea with the help of collaborating colleagues on their teams. This event tests the skills of the brightest and best within programming, cyber security, information assurance, security engineer, and other IT fields within teams of 4 to 6 people.

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

Media contact:
Damilola Sobajo
+(234) 1 295 3849, 705 977 5650
+234(0) 817 777 0495
[email protected]

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Source:: Facebook Sponsored CyberXchange Hackathon Competition is Here! Register Now to Win Amazing Prizes

Categories: AFRICA

Joint communique – Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia

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At the invitation of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, HIE. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia paid a three day Official Visit to Kenya from 6th to 8th June, 2016.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Dadaab Refugee Camp on Monday 6th June, 2016 and addressed the refugees. He assured them that the Government of Somalia is committed to receive them back home to participate in the process of state building, peace building and national reconciliation. He reassured them that the repatriation will be orderly, humane and dignified as per the Tripartite Agreement. President Mohamud expressed deep gratitude for the generosity and hospitality of Kenyans for hosting his people for the past quarter of a century.

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held bilateral talks at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, 7th June, 2016. The meeting reviewed a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues in particular peace, security and stability in Somalia, repatriation of refugees from Dadaab and economic cooperation.
In this regard, the two leaders:

1. Reaffirmed the good neighborliness, bonds of heritage, shared destiny and the cordial relationship that exists between Kenya and Somalia, which are defined by a common desire for peace, stability and prosperity.
2. Appreciated the contribution of African countries within the framework of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in stabilizing Somalia and commended the value of cooperation between AMISOM and the Somalia Security Forces in securing a stable environment for state building in line with Somalia’s Vision 2016.

3.Further Appreciated the key role Kenya continues to play in promoting peace, security, unity and stability in Somalia.

4.Noted the progress made in the political process and expressed confidence that the upcoming election will lead to a foundation for stable and prosperous Somalia.

1. Committed to working jointly on the orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees back to Somalia as per the Tripartite Agreement.
2. Underscored that the Tripartite Agreement provides the framework for fast-tracking orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees.
3. Noted with appreciation that this cooperation endeavour will enhance the spirit of proactive collaboration over and above the framework of the Tripartite Agreement.
4. Called upon the international community in line with the principles of burden sharing to support this process by providing adequate support to the Federal Government of Somalia to receive the returnees.
5. On bilateral cooperation, Directed/ the immediate convening of the Joint Commission for Co-operation to follow up on its implementation particularly on joint border crossing and security, trade and investment, health, education, sports and youth, culture and scientific research and communication.
6. Agreed that in the short term, the customs and immigration clearance procedures for flights from Somalia to Kenya be carried out at one point of entry to be determined soon; and, in the long term develop modalities for a direct flight between Somalia and Kenya.
7. On regional issues, Agreed, to consult the Chair of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the convening of the IGAD Summit in Mogadishu.
8. Reaffirmed their firm commitment to work together on areas of mutual interest.

President Mohamud thanked his brother and colleague President Kenyatta and his Government for the gracious invitation. He invited President Kenyatta to visit Somalia in the near future. President Kenyatta accepted the invitation.

The two Presidents rededicated themselves and their Governments to enhance and further deepen the cordial relations that exist between Kenya and Somalia.

Nairobi, Kenya
8th June 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Federal Republic of Somalia – Office of the President.

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Source:: Joint communique – Republic of Kenya and Federal Republic of Somalia

Categories: AFRICA

MSF update: Niger: new attacks displace tens of thousands in Diffa

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On June 3, the town of Bosso in Niger’s Diffa region was attacked by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also known as Boko Haram. The raid, during which dozens of soldiers were reportedly killed, was one of the deadliest ever in the region. And it forced tens of thousands of people—including most of the population of Bosso and the neighboring towns of Yébi and Toumour—to flee.

The majority of these newly displaced people had been displaced by violence previously; Bosso and surrounding areas were supposed to be a sanctuary.

After the initial attack, people living in Bosso escaped to Toumour, a few kilometers to the west. People from several locations are now on the move again. Some are heading towards Diffa, the capital of the region, although the chaos and fear in the area make it difficult to know where these people will settle.

With each passing day, these people become more vulnerable. A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team has been conducting an evaluation to determine how best to respond to their most urgent needs.

“MSF is trying to help the displaced population, to provide basic assistance, including water and sanitation activities, shelter and health care,” says Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF’s head of mission in Niger. “A lot of people are heading in different directions. Some are in the middle of nowhere and it is very difficult to assist them. Together with the different actors and the government, we need to see how to facilitate access and organize help.”

In Yébi, MSF was managing a health post that provided assistance to people who had already been displaced—until it was destroyed in an earlier attack, on May 19. Activities were resumed a few days later, but now the MSF program in Yébi is suspended due to the wholesale lack of security. MSF is still providing care in Nguigmi, another district north of Bosso, and in Diffa.

MSF has been working in the Diffa region since December 2014. The organization is supporting several health centers there, as well as the main maternal and child center in Diffa town and the Nguigmi district hospital. MSF is also providing medical care in the camp in Assaga. In 2015, MSF carried out more than 142,000 medical consultations in the region.

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

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Source:: MSF update: Niger: new attacks displace tens of thousands in Diffa

Categories: AFRICA

Queen’s 90th Birthday Party in Uganda

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Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa was the guest of honour as the High Commissioner welcomed over 500 guests to her Residence to celebrate the official 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Guests were treated to a range of British specialities, including Pimm’s, fine Scotch single malt whisky, British cheese and sparkling wine, British ales and a traditional English sweet shop.

A range of entertainment was provided by a Scottish bagpiper, the brass band of Brass for Africa, a British NGO supporting street children through music education, British Army drummers and a jazz band playing music including a medley of James Bond theme songs.

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

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Source:: Queen’s 90th Birthday Party in Uganda

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Staff Concludes Visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Norbert Toé, visited Kinshasa from June 1 to June 8 to evaluate economic and financial developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to discuss the medium-term prospects. At the end of the visit, Mr. Toé issued the following statement:

“Since mid-2015, the DRC has been hit by negative shocks stemming mainly from falling prices for its main export commodities but has been able to preserve its hard-won macroeconomic stability. In 2015 the economy grew by 6.9 percent, inflation remained low at 1.0 percent, and the exchange rate was stable. However, the difficult external environment, coupled with uncertainties related to the domestic environment, continued to weigh on the economy in 2016, impacting negatively on economic growth, public finances and the balance of payments. As a result, the increase in gross domestic product (GDP) has been revised down to 5.1 percent, inflation is forecast to rise to 1.7 percent, and the overall fiscal balance is expected to shift into deficit. The balance of payments deficit is also projected to widen in 2016 from a small deficit in 2015 and the decline in net international gross reserves to continue. The exchange rate has come under pressure during the first five months of 2016, leading to a depreciation of 2.9 percent and 4.4 percent in the official and parallel markets, respectively.

“The Congolese authorities are implementing a package of measures to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability. They have submitted a revised budget to the National Assembly that will reduce expenditures by 22 percent relative to the initial budget adopted in December 2015. The package also includes measures to mobilize domestic resources, including tax revenues, growth-enhancing spending to be financed through tapping the domestic debt market, and improve the business and investment climate. The authorities are also taking steps to moderate pressures on the exchange rate with the objective of containing the depreciation of the currency.

“Going forward, the economy is expected to continue to face headwinds, notably slow growth in advanced and emerging-market economies, tightening external financial conditions, and a difficult domestic environment. With only a modest projected recovery in commodity prices, economic growth is projected to recover gradually over the medium term while inflation is expected to accelerate, but contained below 5 percent per annum.

“Consistent with the 2015 Article IV policy recommendations, which have taken an added urgency, the team recommended allowing a larger adjustment in the exchange rate, supported by effective monetary policies to lessen the impact on inflation. At the same time, the team commended the authorities for reaffirming their commitment to the fiscal anchor of not resorting to central bank financing of government deficits. The team also commended the authorities for intensifying their efforts to diversify the economy away from the mining sector and reduce its excessive reliance on the sector to accelerate economic growth. The team stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive reform program to help the Congolese economy weather the impact of the headwinds.

“Based on the team’s findings, the IMF will prepare an assessment letter required by some international financial institutions as they consider providing financial assistance to the DRC.

“The IMF staff team met with the Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, the Minister of State for Budget Michel Bongongo, the Minister of Finance Henri Yav Mulang, the Governor of the Central Bank of Congo Déogratias Mutombo Mwana Nyembo, and the Chief of Staff of the President, Néhémie Mwilanya. The team also met with other senior government officials, representatives of the private sector, and development partners.

“The mission thanks the DRC authorities for the fruitful discussions and their warm hospitality.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Categories: AFRICA

Antoinette Sayeh, Director of the African Department, to Retire from the Fund

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Ms. Antoinette Sayeh, Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has notified IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde of her intention to retire from the Fund, effective August 31, 2016.

“As the Director of the African Department for the past eight years, Antoinette has been enormously influential in cementing the IMF’s relations with our African member countries,” Ms. Lagarde said.

Ms. Sayeh joined the IMF in July 2008, just as surging food and fuel prices and the global financial crisis were undercutting living standards on the African continent.

“Antoinette navigated these and later challenges with her trademark skills of quiet, effective diplomacy, deep analytical capability, and an unrivalled understanding of the challenges facing her continent,” Ms. Lagarde added.

Ms. Sayeh’s approach was shaped by her own experience as Finance Minister of Liberia during 2006-08, when she led efforts to clear her country’s debt arrears as it emerged from a decade of civil war, and her 17 years of experience at the World Bank.

She and her team contributed to the reform of the Fund’s concessional lending facilities in 2010, and subsequently the reform of the Fund’s debt limits policy. More reforms have since followed, including the changes that enabled the Fund to provide emergency financing and debt relief to the three countries hit by the Ebola crisis in 2014.

She also oversaw efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Fund’s technical assistance in Africa, with a sharper focus on institution building, especially in fragile states.

Ms. Lagarde said that Ms. Sayeh “has been a great leader of the African Department, a respected colleague, a friend and a mentor to many. Her dedication is unparalleled and her contribution to the Fund has been truly outstanding.”

The search process to identify a successor to Ms. Sayeh will begin right away.

See Ms. Sayeh’s biographical information: http://www.imf.org/external/np/bio/eng/ams.htm

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Source:: Antoinette Sayeh, Director of the African Department, to Retire from the Fund

Categories: AFRICA

UNAIDS and PEPFAR announce dramatic reductions in new HIV infections among children in the 21 countries most affected by HIV in Africa

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UNAIDS and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) announced today that there has been a 60% decline in new HIV infections among children since 2009 in the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have been most affected by the epidemic.

New HIV infections among children in the 21 countries dropped from 270 000 [230 000–330 000] in 2009 to 110 000 [78 000–150 000] in 2015. Equally impressive are gains made in bridging the treatment gap among children. In 2005, fewer than one in 10 children had access to antiretroviral treatment—this gap has now been reduced to one in two. In the past five years alone, treatment scale-up for children grew twofold. The impact is that AIDS-related deaths among children were reduced by 44%.

“These astounding results show that the world is on the Fast-Track to eliminating new HIV infections among children and ensuring that their mothers are alive and healthy,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “It’s beautiful to know that we could soon have a new generation free from HIV.”

The results were published in a new report, On the Fast-Track to an AIDS-free generation, which was launched at an event hosted by UNAIDS and PEPFAR on the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, taking place in New York, United States of America, from 8 to 10 June.

“This shows what is possible through the combined power of science, communities and focused action,” said Deborah Birx, United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “PEPFAR is building on this success, driving harder and smarter to prevent HIV infections and end AIDS among children, adolescents and young women through our DREAMS Partnership, Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment initiative and other efforts.”

During the event, UNAIDS also released global data for children that showed that new HIV infections among children have declined globally by 50% since 2010—down from 290 000 in 2010 to 150 000 in 2015. It also showed that 49% of children living with HIV around the world now have access to life-saving treatment. On the eve of the event, UNAIDS and partners announced that Armenia, Belarus and Thailand have joined Cuba in receiving official certificates of validation from the World Health Organization for eliminating new HIV infections among children. Thailand is the first country with a major HIV epidemic (450 000 people living with HIV in 2014) to receive such a validation.

It was during the High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2011 that UNAIDS and PEPFAR joined with partners to launch the Global Plan towards the elimination new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive (Global Plan). The focus of the Global Plan was to increase efforts to prevent new HIV infections in all countries, but particularly in the 22 countries that, in 2009, accounted for 90% of pregnant women living with HIV.

The new report released today shows the progress made since the Global Plan was launched. It outlines that seven countries have reduced new HIV infections among children by more than 70% since 2009 (the baseline for the Global Plan), including: Uganda, by 86%; South Africa and Burundi, by 84%; Swaziland, by 80%; Namibia, by 79%; Mozambique, by 75%; and Malawi, by 71%. In Nigeria, however, the decline was much smaller, at just 21%. In India, the only Global Plan country outside of sub-Saharan Africa, new HIV infections in children dropped by 44% and coverage of services to pregnant women increased from less than 4% in 2010 to 31% in 2015.

The new report demonstrates that treatment or prophylaxis (excluding the less-effective single-dose nevirapine) coverage for pregnant women living with HIV in the countries most affected by the epidemic increased dramatically from 2009. By 2015, more than 80% of pregnant women living with HIV in the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had access to medicines to prevent transmission of the virus to their child—up from just 36% (excluding the less-effective single-dose nevirapine) in 2009.

The World Health Organization recommends that all pregnant women living with HIV should be offered lifelong HIV treatment, extending beyond Option B+ to include all women diagnosed with HIV regardless of pregnancy. By 2015, all of the Global Plan countries, with the exception of Nigeria, were routinely offering lifelong HIV treatment to all pregnant women living with HIV. The massive scale-up of treatment has helped to reduce AIDS-related deaths among women of reproductive age, which declined by 43% between 2009 and 2015.

Incredible journey

Six countries—Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda—met the Global Plan goal of ensuring that 90% or more of pregnant women living with HIV had access to life-saving antiretroviral medicines. Six additional countries provided antiretroviral medicines to more than 80% of pregnant women living with HIV—Burundi, Cameroon, Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Major successes have also been seen in increasing access to treatment for children living with HIV in the 21 countries: access has increased more than threefold since 2009—from 15% in 2009 to 51% in 2015. However, this is still only half of all children in need of treatment. Major efforts are required to ensure that all children born to HIV-positive mothers are tested for HIV within the first two months of life. Without immediate access to treatment, around 30% of children living with HIV will die within the first year of life and more than 50% will die before they reach their fifth birthday.

The Global Plan also aspired to reduce new HIV infections among women of reproductive age by 50%. The actual decline was just 5%—well below the target. This suggests that women, including young women, continue to be left behind and are not being reached with HIV prevention services. Between 2009 and 2015, around 4.5 million [3.8 million–5.4 million] women became newly infected with HIV in the 21 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death among adolescents on the continent.

At the launch of the report, UNAIDS, PEPFAR and partners also launched a Super Fast-Track framework for ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women—Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free. The initiative will build on the progress already made to Fast-Track action to end the AIDS epidemic and sets ambitious targets to eliminate new infections among children, find and ensure access to treatment for all children living with HIV and prevent new HIV infections among adolescents and young women. Together, these steps will put the world on a path to ending AIDS among children.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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Source:: UNAIDS and PEPFAR announce dramatic reductions in new HIV infections among children in the 21 countries most affected by HIV in Africa

Categories: AFRICA