BISSAU, Guinea Bissau, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte visited Bissau during February 10-13, 2014. The mission met with the interim government’s authorities, including Minister of Finance Gino Mendes and Minister of Economy Soares Sambu. The mission also met with National Director of the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) Joao Fadia and development partners. At the conclusion of the visit, the mission issued the following statement:
“The mission conducted a preliminary assessment of macroeconomic developments in 2013 and the prospects for 2014. Economic activity has been severely affected by the enduring economic and political consequences of the 2012 coup. After having contracted by 1.5 percent in 2012, the economy has yet to recover. The mission is estimating a GDP growth rate of 0.3 percent for 2013, given that the recovery in cashew export volumes was offset by a sharp decline in prices—particularly farm-gate ones, a significant fiscal contraction, and frequent interruptions in electricity and water supply. In the context of weak domestic demand, inflation has remained subdued in the past two years.
“Lower fiscal revenue and weak international financial support have led to an accumulation of salary arrears in recent months. Despite a fall in government expenditure the overall fiscal deficit on a commitment basis was 2.2 percent of GDP in 2013, while arrears amounted to about 1.2 percent of GDP. Given the limited revenue prospects in coming months, particularly before the start of the cashew campaign, the mission urged for strict spending controls and prudent cash management to minimize further accumulation of arrears.
“Growth and fiscal prospects for 2014 hinge on the success of the cashew campaign and external support. The mission highlighted the importance of setting clear policy guidelines as soon as possible to avoid the uncertainty that undermined last year’s cashew campaign. In this context, the mission suggested to suspend contributions toward the industrialization program (FUNPI).
“The mission looks forward to a positive resolution of the political instability and to the start of a dialogue with a newly-elected government to help address the country’s economic and development challenges.”
TOKYO, Japan, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. On Monday February 17, the Government of Japan decided to provide emergency relief goods worth 12 million yen (plastic sheets and blankets) to the Republic of Burundi, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
2. On Sunday February 9, heavy rain attacked Bujumbura, capital city of the Republic of Burundi. The Government of the Republic of Burundi reported, as of February 14, that 77 persons were dead, 180 persons were wounded, and 5,000 houses were collapsed because of this disaster. According to the UN Office in Burundi, as of February 12, about 20,000 people are affected.
3. In response to the request from the Government of the Republic of Burundi, the Government of Japan has decided to provide emergency assistance for the victims from a humanitarian point of view as well as in light of friendly relations between the two countries. On February 14, Foreign Minister Kishida also sent a condolence message to Mr. Kavakure, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi.
LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — FCO Minister, Hugh Robertson, visits Tunisia, welcomes progress and pledges continued UK support for the democratic transition.
The Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Hugh Robertson, said:
“I was delighted to visit at a historic moment in Tunisia’s democratic transition.
“In my discussions with the Tunisian Foreign Minister and other political leaders, I conveyed my warm congratulations for the impressive progress on the transition, including the adoption of a new democratic Constitution. This Constitution not only embodies the fundamental rights the Tunisian people called for three years ago but also symbolises a spirit of compromise. It provides inspiration and a model for the region and beyond.
“During my visit to the Medina in Tunis with the Tourism Minister we discussed the record number of UK tourists and how to boost this in the years ahead.
“In my meeting with Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, I welcomed the strength of the UK-Tunisia relationship and underlined our desire to develop this further. I reiterated the UK’s commitment, bilaterally and through international fora, to support economic reform and political transition. We also discussed deepening our security cooperation to support a stable and prosperous future for the Tunisian people.”
KHARTOUM, Sudan, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, is saddened to hear that a volunteer with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society was killed by a land mine near Abu Jubaiha in South Kordofan late last week. Other volunteers were also critically injured by the explosion.
“The humanitarian community in Sudan extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of those killed and injured by this land mine blast.
Sudan has one of the largest land mine problems in East Africa. Sadly it is often humanitarian workers and civilians, mostly children, who are injured or killed by these mines. To help prevent such tragedies, more resources need to be directed to humanitarian demining efforts, mine risk education, and clearing the explosive remnants of war in Sudan,” said Mr Al Za’tari.
LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ICS Financial Systems Ltd. – ICSFS (http://www.icsfs.com), the global software and services provider for banks and financial institutions, is pleased to announce that it has won “Best Core Banking Systems Technology Provider” in Africa for its ICS BANKS