GENEVA, Switzerland, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Disease outbreak news
10 September 2014
Between 2 and 9 September 2014, there have been 31 more cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in t…
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Disease outbreak news
10 September 2014
Between 2 and 9 September 2014, there have been 31 more cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in t…
DAKAR, Senegal, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Aerocomm Ltd has named APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) the official wire service of Aviation Africa 2015 (http://www.aviationafrica.aero), a 2-day Summit & Exhibition, which takes place 10-11 May 2015 in Dubai, UAE.
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JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — CEOs in Africa are optimistic about their company’s prospects for revenue growth over the medium term, according to PwC’s ‘Africa Business Agenda, 2014′ report issued today (http://www.pwc.com). Suresh Kana, Senior Partner for PwC Africa, says: “CEOs in Africa feel more positive about their ability to generate revenue growth and about prospects for the economy now that they are emerging from the global financial recession.”
Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=952 (Suresh Kana, Senior Partner for PwC Africa)
“It is interesting to note however that CEOs are slightly more anxious about their prospects for growth over the short-term,” adds Kana. Although 84% remain confident overall, only 40% say they are ‘very confident’. “CEOs acknowledge that a lot more needs to be done in terms of transforming the continent’s potential for exponential growth into tangible business opportunities,” he says. “CEOs are looking on multiple fronts for growth opportunities – for many, the search for growth will not be an easy task.”
‘The Agenda’ compiles results from 260 CEOs in Africa and includes insights from business and public sector leaders from 18 countries. The report shows that most CEOs in Africa feel confident about their approach to managing risk, despite some volatility and uncertainty.
The pace of change in the world is speeding up with a series of transitions, known as global megatrends that will transform business and society. African CEOs rank technological advances (69%), urbanisation (67%) and demographic shifts (63%) as the top three defining trends that will transform their businesses over the next five years. They are aware of the implications of these changes for their businesses, as well as the outlook for Africa. Many have recognised the need for change or are making changes to their businesses.
“Every day breakthroughs in frontiers of research and development are opening up new opportunities for businesses. As technologies progress, they will generate more improvements in efficiency and productivity. In turn, these advances are expected to trigger a strong acceleration in economic growth towards the end of the coming decade,” comments Kana.
The growth agenda
Confidence is on the rise among Africa’s CEOs. In general, they are more confident about their own company’s growth than they are about their industry’s prospects. While less than half are ‘very confident’ about their company’s growth prospects in the short term, less than a third (26%) are ‘very confident’ about industry growth. CEOs in Africa say that their desire to create something is what drives their organisation’s strategic planning. They rank products/service innovation (31%), increased share in existing markets (27%), followed by new geographic markets (20%) as opportunities for growth but are equally concerned about shifts in consumer spending and behaviours.
Going forward, African CEOs say that they will be more actively looking for partners, while keeping an eye on costs. Almost half of them plan to initiate a new strategic alliance or joint venture in the next 12 months, and nearly a third are anticipating an acquisition, mainly in their home country or elsewhere in Africa. China is emerging as a key for consideration for growth prospects, followed by the US and South Africa, respectively. This is an indication of overall better economic prospects, higher availability of finance, and the growing presence of potential local and international partners attracted by the continent’s potential.
“We are also seeing more use of technological innovation and products, with no less than 91% of African CEOs either recognising the need to change their investments or in the process of doing so. Similarly, 85% said the same about data analytics,” says Kana. Following a decade of rapid urbanisation, Africa is undergoing a digital revolution. However, there are still many hurdles and obstacles to overcome to the development of digital economy on the continent – and many of these hurdles are related to the development of a stable political and legal environment for companies, citizens and investors.
Main risks to doing business in Africa
Infrastructure is important in driving economic growth and employment on the continent. However, 45% of African CEOs believe that their governments have been ineffective in improving the country’s basic infrastructure, such as electricity, water supply, transport and housing. CEOs also identified the creation of a skilled workforce (64%), the reduction of poverty and inequality (62%), and creating more jobs for young people (74%) as areas in which governments should be taking more decisive action and creating a business-friendly environment.
“In our view, one of the big challenges is for government to find new ways to form strategic collaborations and partnerships with people from other sectors, such as business. Tomorrow’s public body will need to act differently – governments of the future will need to embrace a lot of private-public partnerships.”
The report shows that for CEOs in Africa, government responses to over-regulation (80%), exchange rate volatility (79%) the fiscal deficit and debt burdens (78%) and adequate infrastructure are key areas of concern, and that governments have their work cut out for them. Other areas of concern are the increasing tax burden, slow or negative growth in developed economies (70%) and the lack of stability in capital markets (65%). But the report does show that 45% of CEOs say that governments have effectively achieved the outcome of ensuring financial sector stability and access to affordable capital.
Kana says that CEOs in South Africa share many of the concerns with their peers on the continent, with the survey showing that they have common worries about high or volatile energy costs (South Africa: 82%, Africa 76%); the availability of key skills (South Africa: 87%; Africa 83%); and new market entrants (South Africa: 63%; Africa: 58%).
Most companies in Africa have some degree of risk management in place. The report shows that 31% of respondents have implemented plans to manage risk more effectively and 37% are strengthening their corporate governance structure. To prevent fraud, many CEOs in Africa are focused on supply chain management. For 83% of CEOs in Africa, bribery and corruption is a significant and frustrating threat to business growth.
Kana adds: “An effective risk management approach requires organisations to think differently and the main challenge is good communication. By setting the tone from the top, boards and management can prioritise risk management and grow stronger, more resilient organisations.”
As governments make strides worldwide to improve their fiscal systems, more than half of African CEOs (53%) say the international tax system hasn’t changed to reflect the way multinationals do business today and is in need of reform. Just 32% of CEOs said their government had been effective in creating a more internationally competitive and efficient tax system.
The skills challenge
CEOs globally remain concerned as ever about the availability of key skills. The survey shows that nowhere is the shortage of skills more acute than in fast-growing markets such as Africa, where CEOs are particularly concerned about skills shortages (83%). Most CEOs expect to maintain or increase their company’s headcount over the next 12 months.
Furthermore, the competitive market for top talent influences compensation, with many companies under significant pressure to match or exceed pay conditions among peer companies to recruit or retain top talent.
African CEOs also report that they are using a range of leadership development programmes intended to develop and grow more diversity within the talent pool. “To be successful, leadership development programmes must work to grow capacity and agility among top talent,” adds Kana.
Adapting to change
“Africa is a complex and diverse continent. Doing business on the continent can be a daunting experience for any organisation as they are faced with a myriad of uncertainties and challenges in different political, economic and legal environments.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties and challenges ahead, many African organisations have learnt to brace themselves and adapt quickly, overcoming many of these challenges, including mitigating the risks – and turning Africa into the next frontier of growth,” concludes Kana.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
Suresh Kana, PwC Senior Partner for Africa
Office: +27 11 797 4312
Lindiwe Magana, Media Relations Manager
Office: +27 11 797 5042
PwC (http://www.pwc.com) firms help organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com.
LUANDA, Angola, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Said Djinnit completed a two day visit in Luanda, Angola. The Special Envoy met with President Dos Santos as well as Ministers of Externa…
NEW YORK, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the last days of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Member States adopted Resolution A/68/L.60, “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” by consensus on September 10th.
Recognizing progress made through political leadership and a broad range of national and international actions to scale-up malaria control interventions, this annual resolution urges governments – together with United Nations agencies, private organizations and foundations – to work together to overcome challenges and accelerate efforts toward the targets set out in Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“With just less than 500 days until the 2015 deadline of the MDGs, the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly reiterates the commitment of UN Member States to keep malaria high on the international development agenda,” said RBM Executive Director Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré. “We have seen tremendous progress against this killer disease in recent years, but continued success will require increased political and financial commitment from donor and endemic governments alike. Together we can scale-up efforts and continue saving lives.”
Since 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that malaria death rates have decreased by nearly 50% in Africa alone – where 90% of all malaria-related deaths still occur – contributing to a 20% reduction in global child mortality and helping drive progress towards UN MDG 4. Between 2001 and 2012, collective efforts helped avert an estimated 3.3 million deaths – 69% of which were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden in 2000 – and more than half of the 103 countries that had ongoing malaria transmission in 2000 are meeting the MDG of reversing malaria incidence by 2015.
Despite these advances, almost half of the world’s population remains at risk from malaria, with an estimated 207 million cases of infection around the world each year and 627,000 deaths. Around the world, a child still dies from malaria every minute.
The resolution calls for donor and endemic governments alike to support global malaria control efforts, including through the secretariat of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and to intensify efforts to secure the political commitment, partnerships and funds needed to continue saving lives. Increased financing will be critical to further advancements, as current international and domestic financing for malaria of US $2.5 billion in 2012 amounts to less than half of the US $5.1 billion RBM estimates is needed annually through 2020 to achieve universal coverage of malaria control interventions.
In 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named malaria as a top priority of his second mandate. Malaria control has consistently proven to be a strong global health investment, generating high return on low investments. Impacting all 8 of the United Nations MDGs, malaria prevention and treatment serves as an entry point to help advance progress against other health and development targets across the board by reducing school absenteeism, fighting poverty, and improving maternal and child health.
NAIROBI, Kenya, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nairobi plays host to one of the largest gatherings of start-up social and environmental enterprises ever, as 41 green entrepreneurs are celebrated at the 2014 SEED Awards Africa Symposium, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
The SEED Awards identify and support innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises which can tackle key sustainable development challenges at community level, in developing and emerging economies. As in previous years, the 2014 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 28 Awards made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further ten SEED Low Carbon Awards go to climate-smart enterprises across the globe that contribute towards grassroots climate change mitigation and/or adaption. Special recognition is also given to three women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.
Every SEED Award Winner will receive a financial contribution, technical assistance, access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills.
From an enterprise that produces premium outdoor furniture out of recycled plastic and organic waste materials in Colombia, to a women’s farming cooperative that improves food security in Nepal, to enterprises that market solar electricity kiosks in rural off grid areas of Malawi and promote bikes as subsidised moving billboards for the rural poor in Mozambique – this year’s SEED Winners again demonstrate that innovation, working in partnerships, and a dedicated focus on sustainability contribute significantly towards building a world of flourishing communities in which eco-entrepreneurship drives sustainable development.
The 2014 call for applications saw contributions from 84 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of partnerships between enterprises, non-governmental organizations, women’s and youth groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies, and academia. Most of the applications were in the agricultural and rural development sectors; others were in energy and climate change, and ecosystem management. Many entries at the same time addressed IT applications, and education and training.
All the 2014 SEED winners were honoured at a high-level International Awards Ceremony at The Nairobi Safari-Park Hotel in Kenya. The Award winners will receive from SEED a package of individually tailored support for their businesses, technical assistance, access to other supporting institutions, and a financial contribution of US$5,000.
The winners were selected by the independent SEED International Jury of experts (details below).
The International Awards Ceremony was a highlight of the SEED Africa Symposium, which brought together over 250 entrepreneurs and business people, policymakers, and representatives from civil society and support institutions from across Africa around the theme “Making growth sustainable: co-creating solutions through social and green entrepreneurship.”
Representatives of the SEED Partners said about the SEED Winners:
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, UNEP Executive Director: “The SEED Winners are visionaries who are spearheading the green economy among diverse communities and across a wide range of sectors. We are especially proud of the SEED’s acknowledgement of women-led green enterprises having introduced the Gender Equality component since 2011.”
“We salute the vision, innovation and resilience of these trailblazers as they lead the way towards a greener and more sustainable future,” he said.
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator: “The 2014 SEED Winners, have followed enlightened social and environmental pathways in their entrepreneurial activities. They offer good examples of how local entrepreneurs can contribute to successful and sustainable development.”
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General IUCN: “With the environment at their heart, these innovative enterprises create economic opportunities for communities that are often located close to natural resources, but are nonetheless deprived of sustainable livelihoods and social facilities. Speaking as Chairman of the SEED Board, we are impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment these new SEED Winners bring to their communities. They can count on our support to help them to scale up and replicate, and so to inspire others to follow suit.”
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women: “Women’s economic empowerment is central to achieving gender equality. It’s more than a matter of basic fairness: it’s an established positive cycle. With a livelihood and an income of their own, women have increased status, can provide for their families, and become empowered in other parts of their lives as well, such as making decisions about education, housing, food choices, and medical care. We are pleased to be working with SEED and supporting the SEED Gender Equality Awards for the outstanding women-led social and environmental enterprises that are leading the way.”
Li Yong, Director General UNIDO: “Economic growth, environmental sustainability and the alleviation of poverty cannot take place without women. Women’s empowerment is crucial for inclusive and sustainable industrial development and UNIDO is committed to promote gender equality in its work. This year’s SEED Gender Equality Award Winners are best case examples of how women-led enterprises can be leading the way towards a green industry growth path and we are eager to see their businesses flourish in the months and years ahead.”
The 2014 SEED Gender Equality Award winners (by country) are:
• “JITA Social Business” is an innovative rural distribution network, providing jobs and a regular income for women from low socio-economic communities across Bangladesh. Called Aparajitas – meaning “women who never accept defeat” – the women earn commissions selling a range of products from solar lamps to food and sanitary items on a door-to-door basis.
• “Women’s Off-season Vegetable Production Group” is a women-led initiative growing and marketing organic vegetables in a climate where weather usually limits year-round production. The enterprise deploys agricultural techniques, notably poly-tunnels and greenhouses, to help improve food security and nutrition while empowering marginalised women through job creation.
• “Precious Life Foundation’s Outgrower Project” teaches bio-intensive, organic agricultural techniques to vulnerable women living at its shelter who then pass on their knowledge to the community. The enterprise empowers these women as teachers while working towards improved food security in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South Region. Women farmers who benefit from the training donate labour or produce back as a form of payment for service.
NEW YORK, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has allocated US$3.8 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to support humanitarian operations in the Ebola-struck West Africa region.
Reduced commercial travel in the region has hindered the urgent deployment of healthcare personnel and supplies. This has severely affected the scale up of the urgent life-saving response to the Ebola outbreak in the region.
The funding will assist the World Food Programme (WFP), which runs UNHAS, to move humanitarian personnel, medical supplies and equipment, and other essential humanitarian cargo rapidly and efficiently to multiple remote locations within Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
“UNHAS is a vital service to the Ebola response. Non-governmental organizations, UN personnel and other responders will be able to use the service to travel and deliver supplies to people in need. The pilots, crew and support staff are a vital part of the response,” said Dr. David Nabarro, the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease.
To date, humanitarian partners have received $7.6 million from CERF in support of their initial response to the Ebola outbreak in four countries, including emergency health care and food assistance: Guinea ($2.7 million), Liberia ($1.9 million), Nigeria ($1.5 million) and Sierra Leone ($1.5 million).
CERF was established in 2006 to help humanitarian agencies respond rapidly to new or deteriorating humanitarian crises. Member States and Observers, regional and local authorities, the private sector, foundations and individuals have contributed $3.6 billion to CERF. The Fund has disbursed almost $3.5 billion to help millions of people affected by crises in 88 countries.
WASHINGTON, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
September 10, 2014
The United States is deeply concerned by the arrest of newspap…
WASHINGTON, September 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
September 10, 2014
U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the DRC, Russell Feingold, is traveling in Rwanda,…
DAKAR, Sénégal, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gathered at a Forum on Ebola communication and prevention convened in Dakar by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, representatives from global, regional and community media, civil societies and National Red Cross Societies from West Africa, committed to scale up community engagement and social mobilization as top priorities in all prevention and epidemic control plans related to the outbreak currently crippling parts of West Africa.
Recalling that the size and scope of the outbreak are unprecedented, the Declaration of Commitments adopted by the Forum stresses that ‘communities are fearful and worried that the health system has not been able to contain the disease. Rumours, myths, lack of information and misinformation about Ebola are fuelling anxiety and confusion at all levels, hindering an effective response’.
Forum participants also emphasized that socio-cultural practices and beliefs, including burial practices, as well as the interconnectedness of families within and between affected countries facilitate the spread of the outbreak.
‘Rising to the challenge requires immediate response and preventive measures that are massive and coordinated’ stated participants, who committed to mitigating the effects of the outbreak, including its social and economic impact, through coordinated information dissemination, targeted communications and advocacy and effective social mobilization’.
The call and commitment for providing accurate, timely and effective information goes beyond the affected or at-risk country plans, and should be extended to regional and global media platforms. Fear or panic generated by the disease are limiting factors in common mobilization efforts to help national and regional authorities stop the outbreak at the earliest, and further prevent its propagation.
‘We commit to monitor and follow up on these commitments for collective accountability through strengthened coordination efforts at all levels’ concluded the Declaration.
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Business enterprises, governments, civil society and national human rights institutions from across Africa will meet in Addis Ababa from 16 to 18 September to discuss key business and human rights challenges for the continent.
The African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights is convened by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights with the support of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It will bring together 250 participants.
“This meeting has no precedent in the region. It is the first time such a wide range of stakeholders will gather to openly discuss how better to ensure that human rights, business and economic development work together. It is a unique opportunity to promote national and regional action plans on business and human rights and the scaling up of responsible business practice,” said Michael K. Addo, who chairs the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
“African economies have experienced impressive growth and attracted rising investment in recent decades. At the same time there is increasing attention to the adverse impact on human rights. Preventing and addressing such impacts is key,” said Margaret Jungk, vice-chair of the UN Working Group.
The Regional Forum will look at initiatives, opportunities and challenges to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In particular, it will focus on issues such as ensuring access to remedy for victims, development of regional and national action plans on business and human rights, and challenges related to extractive industries, land investment, human rights defenders and conflict situations.
The event follows last year’s Regional Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean and it will feed into the 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December.
The African Regional Forum is open to the media. For press accreditation, please contact: email@example.com.
The UN Working Group will give a press conference together with some of the participants and supporting organizations at 2 pm on Thursday 18 September 2014 at the UN Conference Centre (Press Briefing Room), Addis Ababa.
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia should not sign a new Criminal Code amendment that would increase the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” to life in prison, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The measure would further add to the climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Gambia.
Several provisions of the law violate international human rights law and amount to persecution on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Sections of the law are similar to the harsh homophobic legislation that was annulled in August 2014 in Uganda.
“President Jammeh should not approve this profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law,” said Stephen Cockburn, deputy regional Director for West and Central Africa director at Amnesty International. “Gambia’s National Assembly and the President should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia.”
The National Assembly passed the bill for the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2014 on August 25.The president has 30 days from that date to sign the law or return it to the National Assembly for further review.
Consensual sex between same-sex adults is already a crime in Gambia, in violation of international human rights law. However, the proposed amendment introduces even harsher sentences for those suspected of being lesbian, bisexual or gay.
The charge of “aggravated homosexuality” carries a life sentence. The charge is vaguely worded and could enable wide-ranging abuses by the authorities. Among those who could be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” and imprisoned for life are “repeat offenders” and people living with HIV who are suspected to be gay or lesbian.
“This new law will only heap further stigma on people who are already marginalized and living in a climate of deep fear and hate in Gambia,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch.
President Jammeh has made numerous public statements attacking LGBTI rights, including at the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, where he declared: “Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence, it is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior.” In February, he stated, “We will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes – if not more aggressively.”
In May, President Jammeh threatened Gambians seeking asylum as a result of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, telling the African news service APA, “If I catch them I will kill them.”
In 2012, the authorities arrested 18 men and two women during a raid on a nightclub. They were charged with attempting to commit “unnatural acts” and “conspiracy to commit a felony.” Their pictures and names were displayed in the newspapers. The charges against them were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.
In May, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The resolution condemned “the situation of systematic attacks by State and non-state actors against persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.”
For more Amnesty International reporting on LGBTI rights, please visit:
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on LGBTI rights, please visit: