Robust outlook for global cereal supplies in 2016

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

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

Food prices rise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First harvest forecasts for the year ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source:: Robust outlook for global cereal supplies in 2016

Categories: AFRICA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: AFRICA

UK special Representative for Climate Change to visit South Africa

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

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

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

Notes for Editors:

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

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

Accelerating widespread clean energy innovation is:

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

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

Mission Innovation will help accelerate the global clean energy revolution.

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

Sir David King:

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: AFRICA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information contact:

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

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

Categories: AFRICA

ICAO Council president Aliu and Nigerian president Buhari find common ground on aviation development priorities

The President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, met and held high-level discussions this week with the President and Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H. E. Muhammadu Buhari.

The two officials covered topics including projected aviation growth and associated human resource capacity and infrastructure challenges, ongoing threats from terrorist organizations in the region, as well as Nigeria’s potential to position itself as a leader in the provision of air services and aviation facilities including training for aviation professionals. President Aliu also welcomed Nigeria’s confirmation of its pending financial contribution to the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for Africa.

President Buhari was accompanied during the discussions by Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, its Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and other high officials. President Aliu was joined by the Representative of Nigeria on the ICAO Council, Mr. Nwafor Emeka Martins, and ICAO’s Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow.

“Civil aviation in Africa is an essential enabler of growth and social development, and ICAO has been very encouraged by Nigeria’s recent leadership and commitments with respect to aviation safety, capacity, security and human resources development,” President Aliu highlighted. “Consistent with the principles and priorities of ICAO’s No Country left Behind initiative, ICAO will collaborate with Nigeria towards the enhancement of aviation training capacity here and the upgrading of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to full status as an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence (RTCE). The establishment of an Aerospace University in Nigeria has also been proposed.”

Additional topics covered by the senior officials included the need to strengthen the autonomy of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority and to ensure that revenues accruing from aviation activities are returned to the sector in the form of investments for training and other priorities.

It was agreed that a concrete roadmap and masterplan for aviation development will be put in place as a follow up to the discussions held.

During his mission, President Aliu also met with heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, as well as the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. He visited the new Abuja International Airport terminal project, meteorological installations and weather forecasting facilities, and the Accident Investigation Agency’s laboratories.

In addition, meetings were held with the Vice President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr.Edward Singhatey, the Executive Director and Staff of the Banjul Accord Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), and the Regional Director of IATA for Africa and the Middle East, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi. Discussions with these stakeholders focused on the need for greater collaboration and mutual cooperation between ICAO and the respective organizations for the advancement of aviation safety, security, capacity building, infrastructure development and air transport liberalization.

In the course of the visit an MOU for cooperation was signed between ECOWAS and BAGASOO in a bid to support the Regional Safety Oversight Organization.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

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Source:: ICAO Council president Aliu and Nigerian president Buhari find common ground on aviation development priorities

Categories: AFRICA

AU respects Congo’s Constitutional Court ruling, calls for calm and non-violence to address post-elections grievances

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said the AU respects the decision of the Republic of Congo’s Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, to validate the results of the presidential elections of 20 March 2016.

The Chairperson of the Commission calls for calm, while encouraging all political leaders and stakeholders to make use of recognized and legal channels to seek a peaceful resolution to disputed election results,

The Chairperson has condemned all acts of violence that have followed the 20 March elections, particularly the fighting that broke out in Brazzaville on 4 April 2016. She has called on all political actors and the general public to exercise restraint in order to avoid further degeneration of an already fragile post-elections context.

The Chairperson reiterates the AU’s support respect for the rule of law and principles of democratic practices before, during and after elections.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: AU respects Congo’s Constitutional Court ruling, calls for calm and non-violence to address post-elections grievances

Categories: AFRICA

Africa urged to show a unified sense of purpose by financing Agenda 2063 and the SDGs

H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission is challenging African member States to demonstrate commitment in developing financing mechanisms towards the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Agenda 2030; the Sustainable development Goals. Speaking during the “9th Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development”- Round table on Financing, the Deputy Chairperson noted that a harmonized financing of both the Agenda 2063 and the SDGs provides Africa with a unique environment to optimize the opportunities presented by the collective development Africa.

Though cognizant of the challenge of finding a formula for a holistic financing mechanism for sustainable development to realize the ambitions of Agenda 2063 and SDGs, H.E Mr. Mwencha called on Africa to focus on increasing investments to support job creation, food security and industrialization, as the key elements of sustainable development.

The Deputy Chairperson outlined potential mechanisms for financing Africa’s development, emphasizing among other issues; the enhancement of the domestic environment for attracting investments through the development of continental risk mitigation mechanisms such as the African Unions African Trade Insurance Agency and the African Risk Capacity. The two institutions, he noted, provide assurance against political risks, credit and investment insurance which are key in reducing the cost of doing business in Africa.

In the area of investments, His Excellency highlighted that over the last 15 years, Africa has experienced a steady decline in Foreign Direct Investments however, this can be addressed if Africa was keen on mobilizing domestic Financing by putting in place policies that encourage the flow of the Foreign Direct Investments into industrialization for transformation.

H.E Mr. Mwencha says developing continental capital markets to scale up support for industrialization is key for realization of substantial revenues. This he says should be backed by continental legal and regulatory frameworks for integrated payment systems to reduce transaction costs. This would be complimented by strong effective regional regulatory bodies, to facilitate the implementation of trans-boundary projects. H.E Mr. Mwencha underscores that this relies heavily on commitments from African governments.

The Deputy Chairperson also called for the establishment of special instruments for financing regional projects, noting that there currently exists no instrument for financing regional projects. The lack of Special Purpose Vehicles, he observed, impedes the implementation of regional projects, beneficial for continental development

Curbing illicit financial flows through which Africa loses about USD 50 billion annually also provides the much sought economic and human development in Africa. H.E Mr. Mwencha stressed the need to work with foreign governments and corporations to track and reduce the illicit financial flows.

Other financing opportunities available for exploration to finance the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable development Goals are, tapping into the international instruments and reserves by encouraging sovereign wealth holders such as China, Norway, the Gulf States, Russia and Singapore to invest directly in Africa within a mutually beneficial framework. Also, mobilizing Remittances for development, which have increased over the past decade to about USD 21 billion to fuel consumption within the social sectors. In this regard, Africa needs to relook and address the cost of remittances and transform the way they are invested to spur entrepreneurship and development.

The implementation of Agenda 2063 development framework, having been drawn largely from the National aspirations of 35 African countries, provides a great opportunity for enhanced alignment of national aspirations to the continental goals. A coherent implementation of the Pan African Agenda with the SDGs therefore calls for commitment by members states to finance harmonized implementation of both frameworks.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Africa urged to show a unified sense of purpose by financing Agenda 2063 and the SDGs

Categories: AFRICA

Africa urged to show a unified sense of purpose by financing Agenda 2063 and the SDGs

H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission is challenging African member States to demonstrate commitment in developing financing mechanisms towards the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Agenda 2030; the Sustainable development Goals. Speaking during the “9th Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development”- Round table on Financing, the Deputy Chairperson noted that a harmonized financing of both the Agenda 2063 and the SDGs provides Africa with a unique environment to optimize the opportunities presented by the collective development Africa.

Though cognizant of the challenge of finding a formula for a holistic financing mechanism for sustainable development to realize the ambitions of Agenda 2063 and SDGs, H.E Mr. Mwencha called on Africa to focus on increasing investments to support job creation, food security and industrialization, as the key elements of sustainable development.

The Deputy Chairperson outlined potential mechanisms for financing Africa’s development, emphasizing among other issues; the enhancement of the domestic environment for attracting investments through the development of continental risk mitigation mechanisms such as the African Unions African Trade Insurance Agency and the African Risk Capacity. The two institutions, he noted, provide assurance against political risks, credit and investment insurance which are key in reducing the cost of doing business in Africa.

In the area of investments, His Excellency highlighted that over the last 15 years, Africa has experienced a steady decline in Foreign Direct Investments however, this can be addressed if Africa was keen on mobilizing domestic Financing by putting in place policies that encourage the flow of the Foreign Direct Investments into industrialization for transformation.

H.E Mr. Mwencha says developing continental capital markets to scale up support for industrialization is key for realization of substantial revenues. This he says should be backed by continental legal and regulatory frameworks for integrated payment systems to reduce transaction costs. This would be complimented by strong effective regional regulatory bodies, to facilitate the implementation of trans-boundary projects. H.E Mr. Mwencha underscores that this relies heavily on commitments from African governments.

The Deputy Chairperson also called for the establishment of special instruments for financing regional projects, noting that there currently exists no instrument for financing regional projects. The lack of Special Purpose Vehicles, he observed, impedes the implementation of regional projects, beneficial for continental development

Curbing illicit financial flows through which Africa loses about USD 50 billion annually also provides the much sought economic and human development in Africa. H.E Mr. Mwencha stressed the need to work with foreign governments and corporations to track and reduce the illicit financial flows.

Other financing opportunities available for exploration to finance the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable development Goals are, tapping into the international instruments and reserves by encouraging sovereign wealth holders such as China, Norway, the Gulf States, Russia and Singapore to invest directly in Africa within a mutually beneficial framework. Also, mobilizing Remittances for development, which have increased over the past decade to about USD 21 billion to fuel consumption within the social sectors. In this regard, Africa needs to relook and address the cost of remittances and transform the way they are invested to spur entrepreneurship and development.

The implementation of Agenda 2063 development framework, having been drawn largely from the National aspirations of 35 African countries, provides a great opportunity for enhanced alignment of national aspirations to the continental goals. A coherent implementation of the Pan African Agenda with the SDGs therefore calls for commitment by members states to finance harmonized implementation of both frameworks.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) cordially invites Nairobi-based journalists to the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwand on 07 April 2016 from 10.00 am at the United Nations Headquarters Complex in Gigiri.

The theme of this year’s Observance is “Fighting genocide ideology”.

Background:

International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda was mandated by the UN General Assembly on 23 December 2003, through resolution A/RES/58/234. The resolution encourages member states, Organizations of the UN system and other relevant international Organizations, as well as civil society organizations, to observe the Day and hold special observances and activities in memory of the victims of genocide. The resolution also calls upon all states to act in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide so as to ensure that there is no repetition of events of the kind that occurred in Rwanda in 1994.
The Government of Kenya will be represented by the Speaker of the Senate, His Excellency Ekwe Ethuro.

Amongst the other attendees will be students from 11 Universities and members of the diplomatic community in Kenya.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Information Center in Nairobi.

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Source:: International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Staff Reaches Staff-Level Agreement on a Staff-Monitored Program with Somalia, Marking Milestone in Normalizing Relations with IFIs

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Rogerio Zandamela visited Nairobi from March 30 to April 5, 2016 to discuss a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) with the Somali authorities.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Zandamela issued the following statement:

“Since 2012, the Federal Government of Somalia has embarked on an ambitious process of rebuilding the state and the economic and social infrastructure. Although much progress has been made, the security situation remains difficult and institutions and governance capacities need to be rebuilt. Considerable development efforts are essential for the reconstruction of Somalia.

“Despite the difficult socioeconomic conditions, recent efforts by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) are bearing fruit. Economic growth in 2015 was estimated at 3.7 percent and inflation at 1 percent. However, in the fiscal area, insecurity and the war-induced destruction continue to hamper revenue collection and the delivery of services to the population.

“The FGS is committed to addressing the difficult challenges the country faces. It is embarking on policies and reforms to improve economic governance, strengthen the fiscal framework, and rebuild the financial system.

“To support the authorities’ reform effort, we have reached a staff-level agreement on a 12-month SMP starting in May 2016. This is a significant milestone for Somalia, marking the move toward normalizing relations with International Financial Institutions. The program will focus on policies to improve governance and fiscal management, strengthen institutions, foster financial sector development, and fill considerable data gaps. Technical assistance and capacity building will be an integral part of the program.

“In particular, the program envisages reforms to raise domestic revenue and improve budget preparation and execution. It emphasizes the implementation of a recently-adopted arrears management strategy, and the continuation of public financial management reforms to enhance the transparency of, and accountability for, government operations. To support financial sector development, the program will initiate a comprehensive currency reform, and strengthen licensing, supervision and regulation of commercial banks and money transfer businesses.

“The SMP will be submitted to IMF management for its consideration in April/May 2016. 1

“The IMF will continue to support institutional and capacity building through the IMF multi-donor trust fund. The success of the SMP will hinge on continued support of the international community.

“During the mission, the team met with Finance Minister Mohamed Adan Ibrahim; Central Bank Governor Bashir Issa Ali; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Abdi Dirshe; and other officials. The mission also met representatives from development partners. The team would like to thank the Somali authorities for their cooperation and the open and productive discussions.”

1 An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

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

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Source:: IMF Staff Reaches Staff-Level Agreement on a Staff-Monitored Program with Somalia, Marking Milestone in Normalizing Relations with IFIs

Categories: AFRICA

CEMAC Officials Take Stock of Public Financial Management Reforms

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) held a regional seminar in Yaoundé on April 4–6, 2016. The event took stock of public financial management (PFM) reforms in the CEMAC countries since the adoption five years ago of regional directives that aim at modernizing and improving the management of public finance and strengthening the regional integration process. It also highlighted the major contribution of Japan to support their implementation in partnership with the IMF and to foster fiscal institutions in Central Africa.

In addition to representatives of the Japanese government, the seminar gathered officials from the CEMAC Commission and member states’ governments and parliaments, as well as representatives from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Commission and some of its member states. Donors and technical assistance partners, including the World Bank, the European Union (EU), the French and German cooperation agencies and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), also participated in the seminar.

The IMF, in close coordination with the above-mentioned development partners, has provided extensive technical assistance to support the directives’ drafting and implementation, assisted by the generous support of Japan. Despite a wide diversity of national contexts and capacity level, significant results have been achieved at the country level. However, important challenges remain to be addressed.

Mr. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Finance of Cameroon noted that “these reforms contribute to achieve our Chiefs of States’ vision to make the CEMAC zone a dynamic and virtuous monetary zone.” He thanked the IMF for the technical assistance that it has provided to the CEMAC Commission and Member States for the past five years. Mr. Paul Tasong, the CEMAC Commissioner in charge of Economic, Monetary and Financial Policies, also highlighted the high impact of the seminar to “identify progress achieved, difficulties and challenges encountered in order to give further impetus to reforms implementation” in the CEMAC zone. Mr Kunio Okamura, the Ambassador of Japan in Cameroon, confirmed Japan’s commitment to continue its support to African countries in general, and CEMAC countries in particular, to improve public financial management. During the seminar, Mr. Hironori Shoji, the Advisor to the IMF’s Executive Director for Japan, discussed Japan’s continuing support to promote sound PFM and strategies for PFM reform.

The technical assistance to the CEMAC zone is part of the Fiscal Affairs Department of IMF’s longstanding commitment to strengthen public financial management in CEMAC countries.

Background

The six CEMAC Member States are: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The six PFM regional directives of the CEMAC, adopted in December 2011, include directives on transparency and good governance of public finances, budget law, accounting regulations, budget nomenclature, chart of accounts, and the summary fiscal table. The deadline for their transcription in national laws was December 2013, and was recently extended to December 2017. However, their full implementation is progressively planned over the next eight to ten years.

Providing capacity development (technical assistance and training) to help countries design and implement economic policy is one of the IMF’s core functions alongside its surveillance and lending activities. The IMF shares its expertise with member countries and provides training to build strong institutions, boost economic skills and formulate sound financial policies. Capacity development is closely integrated with the IMF’s surveillance and lending work and is highly appreciated by member countries.

Japan is the biggest and longest-standing partner in capacity development for IMF member countries. Since 1990, Japan has contributed over US$430 million and has been the largest donor, among external donors, to IMF technical assistance activities. Japan’s support has covered the full range of IMF assistance across 125 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

The Chairperson of the Commission appoints Mr.Edem Kodjo as facilitator for the national dialogue in the Democratic Republicof Congo

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has appointed Mr. Edem Kodjo, Former Prime Minister of Togo and Former Secretary- General of the OAU, as the Facilitator for the national dialogue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The appointment of Mr. Edem Kodjo aims at assisting in convening an all-inclusive dialogue in order to address issues related to the upcoming elections in that country.

This appointment is in line with the commitment underlined in the joint Communiqué of the African Union, the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) of 16 February 2016 to continue to assist the Democratic Republic of Congo in this endeavour.

The Chairperson of the Commission calls on all Congolese stakeholders to extend full cooperation to the Facilitator for the successfully discharge of his mandate in the best interest of the DRC.

– See more at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/the-chairperson-of-the-commission-appoints-mr-edem-kodjo-as-facilitator-for-the-national-dialogue-in-the-democratic-republic-of-congo#sthash.4bWPEXw5.0nwpSd29.dpuf

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: The Chairperson of the Commission appoints Mr.Edem Kodjo as facilitator for the national dialogue in the Democratic Republicof Congo

Categories: AFRICA