Sep 182014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Secretary announces further support to tackle Ebola in West Africa, including the UK leading on provision of 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond chaired a meeting this afternoon of the Government’s COBR emergency committee, on the UK’s response to the Ebola crisis. After the meeting the Foreign Secretary said:

“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is already an unprecedented humanitarian emergency for the affected countries. If we fail to act now it could become a global catastrophe with disastrous consequences.

“Following today’s meeting I can announce a significantly increased package of UK support to tackling Ebola in West Africa, closely coordinated with the UN. At the heart of the package is a commitment to lead and underwrite the provision of a total of 700 treatment beds.

“More than 200 of these beds are already in the delivery pipeline. The UK will now deliver a further 500 beds over the coming months, working with partners to provide and train the international staff and support needed to operate those beds.”

This approach will use the experience that the UK already has in Sierra Leone to allow other countries to provide support that can be quickly turned in to effective aid.

The UK Armed Forces have played a pivotal role in delivering the current construction pipeline and will continue to play a critical role in the UK’s response. Military personnel will work with the government of Sierra Leone to identify sites for the additional beds and to provide engineering, logistics and planning expertise to support its wider efforts, including through training.

The Foreign Secretary said:

“Bringing this outbreak under control needs significant international cooperation. The UK has committed to taking a leading role in Sierra Leone, a country we know well. We will establish the beds and the operating framework, and encourage the international community to step forward to meet the international staffing requirement, in coordination with the UN. I look forward to discussing this with other UN Member States next week at the UN General Assembly, and the UK will host a pledging meeting in London in early October, at which partner nations will be able to confirm their contribution to Sierra Leone.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“Health teams in Sierra Leone, including many funded by the UK, are working tirelessly to contain this disease but it is clear that the international community needs to do much more.

“Britain is increasing dramatically our support to the Government of Sierra Leone to 700 beds, a surge bringing Ebola treatment beds in country to 1,000 in order to save lives and contain the spread of disease.”

Sep 182014
 

PARIS, France, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirms that one of its international staff members in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

The French MSF staff member currently on assignment in Monrovia was placed in isolation on Tuesday, September 16, after she developed a fever. Laboratory tests performed on the same day confirmed an Ebola infection.

Following MSF medical evacuation procedures, she will be soon transferred to a specialised treatment centre in France.

“MSF applies very strict protocols of protection for its staff – before, during and after their time in a country affected by the current Ebola outbreak”, said Brice de le Vingne, MSF Director of Operations. “This dramatically reduces the risk of transmission of the disease. However, the risk is part of such an intervention, and sadly our teams are not spared.”

The circumstances under which the contamination took place have not been determined at this time. This is being investigated by MSF teams, under the standard management procedures for such events.

For reasons of medical confidentiality and to preserve the privacy of its staff member and her family, MSF will not provide any further comment at this time.

MSF has been responding to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March 2014. More than 2,000 MSF staff are currently working in the region, including some 200 international staff.

Sep 182014
 

NEW YORK, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced today the appointment of Abiodun Oluremi Bashua of Nigeria as Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Mr. Bashua brings to the position a wealth of knowledge on the political context and operating environment in Darfur. He has served in UNAMID since August 2009 at various senior levels, including as Director of Political Affairs and most recently as Director of the Joint Support and Coordination Mechanism. Mr. Bashua has extensive experience in several United Nations Peacekeeping operations in Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. He has also served as Secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Mr. Bashua holds a Postgraduate Diploma in French Language from the University of Besancon, France and a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Mr. Bashua was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1951.

Sep 172014
 

KHARTOUM, Sudan, September 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team headed by Mr. Edward Gemayel visited Khartoum from September 3-16, 2014, to conduct the second review under Sudan’s 2014 Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and the 2014 Article IV Consultation discussions.

Mr. Lodewyk Erasmus, the IMF’s Resident Representative in Sudan, issued the following statement in Khartoum at the conclusion of the mission:

“Economic conditions are mixed. Preliminary data suggest that economic growth, at 3.1 percent, supported by gold extraction and a strong harvest, is broadly in line with expectations for the year. Fiscal consolidation is helping to contain the large deficits and reduce reliance on central bank financing of the deficit. External imbalances are gradually declining as a result of last September’s exchange rate adjustment and the improvement in the fiscal position. However, monetary policy needs to be further tightened. Inflation through the end of August has remained high at about 46 percent. Though this is partly due to the one-off effect of the September 2013 price adjustments of fuel prices, the injection of excess liquidity by the central bank through gold purchases at the parallel market rate is significantly contributing to inflation while also adding to the wide gap (52 percent) between the parallel and official exchange rates.

“Performance under the authorities’ economic reform program is broadly satisfactory. All of the end-June quantitative targets, with the exception of the indicative target on reserve money growth, were met. Also, the authorities have met their end of June structural benchmarks, with the exception of the restructuring plan of Omdurman bank, which is underway. The mission welcomes the authorities’ commitment to meeting the program’s objectives. They include implementation of the required measures to ensure the end-year target on reserve money will be achieved, as well as fully implementing exchange rate flexibility to gradually close the gap with the parallel market. Full implementation of these policies is critical for achieving the authorities’ objective of restoring macroeconomic stability.

“The implementation of the government’s medium-term program faces challenges, including a lack of access to external financing, an unsustainable external debt burden, and economic and financial sanctions against the country. In addition, the impact of recent actions against a major international bank for violating U.S. financial sanctions is having a significant impact on foreign correspondent banking relations with Sudan, which could have a negative implication on medium-term growth.

“Resolving Sudan’s unsustainable external debt is of paramount importance for the successful adjustment to the impact of South Sudan’s secession, implementation of the government’s poverty reduction policies, and for supporting inclusive growth. While Sudan has made some progress toward meeting the requirements for debt relief, the mission reiterated the importance of securing broad support for comprehensive debt relief from Sudan’s bilateral external creditors. In this regard, the mission urged the authorities to reach out to their external creditors, including under the framework of the Joint Approach with South Sudan and the African Union High-level Implementation Panel. The mission welcomes the agreement between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to treat the deadline for the “zero option” with flexibility.[1]

“The mission thanks the authorities for their hospitality, cooperation, and the frank and constructive discussions.”

The mission met with Minister of Finance and National Economy Bader Eldin Mahmmood Abbas Mukktar, Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan Abdelrahman Hassan Abdelrahman Hashim, and other senior government and central bank officials. The mission also met with members of the Finance and Budget Committee of the National Assembly, as well as donors and members of the business community.

[1] In September 2012, Sudan and South Sudan reached the so-called “zero option” agreement under which Sudan would retain all the external liabilities after the secession of South Sudan, provided that the international community gave firm commitments to the delivery of debt relief to Sudan within two years. Absent such a commitment, Sudan’s external debt would be apportioned based on a formula to be determined.

Sep 172014
 

BANJUL, Gambia, September 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Bhaswar Mukhopadhyay, visited Banjul from September 4 – 17, 2014. The mission assessed the authorities’ progress in implementing policies since its April visit as part of the second review of the government’s reform program supported by an Extended Credit Facility arrangement with the IMF.1 The first review was completed in May 2013. Policy slippages in the second half of that year have delayed the completion of the current review.

The mission held discussions with Vice-President Isatou Njie Saidy, Finance Minister Kebba S. Touray, Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley, other senior officials, members of parliament, senior officials in public enterprises, the banking sector, and development partners.

At the end of the mission Mr. Mukhopadhyay issued the following statement:

“The macroeconomic environment stabilized in early 2014, with a successful tourism season leading to improved revenues, a stable exchange rate, and moderate inflation. Government spending was contained and interest rates appeared to be edging downward slowly. Since that time spending pressures have reemerged, led by financial difficulties of the public utility provider (NAWEC), as well as some spending in excess of budgeted levels. These borrowing needs have kept interest rates high while putting pressure on the Dalasi. Public debt, which stood at more than 80 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of 2013, is projected to exceed 90 percent of GDP by the end of this year. The burden of government borrowing will exert further pressure on inflation, international reserves, and the exchange rate.

“The Gambia remains Ebola-free, but news from the subregion appears to be deterring tourists and this will pose an additional challenge. At the same time the delayed start of the rainy season will have a substantial impact on the harvest. Agriculture is The Gambia’s largest economic sector and its second largest exporter, after tourism. Together the impact of these two external shocks will be felt on economic growth, the government budget, trade, and the banking system, though more information is needed to quantify these risks.

“In light of substantially higher borrowing by the government and looming risks, it is imperative to reinforce corrective measures and to make bold choices about spending priorities. The target of limiting net domestic borrowing to 2.5 percent in 2014 is no longer realistic but efforts will be required to limit borrowing and steer the budget toward zero net domestic borrowing in the medium-term. Moving forward, a deeper restructuring of the government budget would be required to limit the sources of spending pressures and make space for priority spending.

“Implementation of reforms is also urgently needed to put NAWEC on a sound financial footing and limit its strain on the state budget. The mission welcomes the authorities’ commitment to implement recommendations of a comprehensive energy sector study being conducted with the help of consultants and the World Bank to restructure the energy sector. It will equally be important to ensure that other public enterprises are operated on a sound financial basis, to minimize contingent fiscal risks and provide effective support to private sector activities.

“Commendable progress has been made in liberalizing fuel imports, reducing the size of fuel subsidies, and improving revenue collection. The authorities are encouraged to sustain such progress, ensuring that competition drives lower prices for businesses and consumers, and strengthen the social safety nets that better target vulnerable populations. These reforms promote competitiveness and investment, and allow the government to focus resources on those who need it most.

“The Mission thanks the authorities for the candid and constructive discussions during the mission, and looks forward to an active and continued dialogue with the aim of restoring macroeconomic stability as a foundation for economic development in The Gambia.”

1 The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the Fund’s main tool for providing medium-term support to low-income countries, with higher levels of access to financial resources, more concessional financing terms, more flexible program design features, as well as streamlined and more focused conditionality.

Sep 172014
 

PARIS, France, September 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With “Orange Fab Ivory Coast” and “Fab Israel”, Orange’s network of start-up accelerators is now present on four continents (http://www.orange.com). The programme, which is a pillar of the Group’s open innovation approach, reflects the determination of Orange to support the new digital players and help them grow by accelerating innovation.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/orange-logo.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1376 (Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Senior Executive Vice President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies of Orange)

the 4 start-ups of Orange Fab Ivory Coast

4 start-ups were selected from 86 submissions:

- ICT4Dev.ci: a platform for managing agricultural cooperatives composed of an information web portal (Lôr Bouôr); a distribution system for the agricultural prices via mobile (Djori Djori); a vocal booth (Djassi); and a virtual market.

- Samartsell: a management solution for points of sale with the following functions: remote management and automation of inventory, billing with mobile devices and selling of airtime from cash registers in order to solve the problems of currency.

- Sycelim: responds to the needs of the insurance and healthcare programmes for asset management, billing management and pension payments. Sycelim also supports the management of the patient’s follow-up: registration of benefits, conditions, prescriptions and medical dispensations pharmacies.

- Sportif 225: a sports web agency whose main activity is the sale of web and mobile services adapted to the sport environment, the production of sport contents and the creation of sport events.

The aim of Orange Fab Ivory Coast is to facilitate the development of start-ups in the Ivorian economic system. In order to be eligible, the start-ups must already have a product / service in one of the following fields : customer experience, digital solutions for the company connected objects, social networks and community services, e-commerce, everyday life, local content, mobile payment and money transfer, e-education, e-agriculture and e-health. The selected start-ups will be supported for 3 months in the development of their product and their business. They will benefit from the valuable mentoring of fifty coaches, including Orange mentors, entrepreneurs and local academics. Moreover, six workshops will be offered to them. They will also have the opportunity to test their products in the customers’ testing center of Orange in Abidjan, have access to Orange’s APIs and will receive financial support in the form of a convertible note of 15,000 euros. They will also benefit from workspaces and from communication services made available by Orange Ivory Coast and the Technocentre of Orange, based in Abidjan. Finally they can participate in two demo days (in Abidjan and Paris) and two investment forums.

Besides its commitment with start-ups, Orange has also attracted the interest of African partners and of the ecosystem of developers in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mali and Senegal by organising an API challenge this summer via Orange Partner, the programme for developers exposing Orange APIs. Developers received the SMS, USSD and credit airtime API’s and were challenged to develop various applications for different sectors (agriculture, transportation, voting and games). Orange will use the feedback from developers in order to launch an API portfolio in 2015, dedicated to the AMEA region, starting with the launch of the SMS API.

the 5 start-ups of Fab Israel

5 start-ups were selected from150 submissions:

- Parko: a traffic data management application with a ‘smart’ navigation that offers a real-time estimation of how long it will take to find a parking space.

- Idomoo: delivers large-scale personalised video solutions for companies in order to improve communication across every stage of the customer lifecycle.

- mpharma: reinvents how pharmaceuticals are prescribed, delivered and monitored in Africa.

- LogDog: protects online accounts from hacking (Facebook, gmail, Twitter…) and sends you an alert if there is any suspicious activity.

- Evolero: a platform for event organisers which facilitates the creation of events’ websites while using a variety of social tools.

Fab Israel supports start-ups that are based in Israel and which change the way people are connected and communicate. Its proposal to the selected start-ups is to accompany them for 3 months in the development of their product and to help them reach the European and African markets. The programme will host the selected start-ups in SOSA, an accelerator based in south Tel Aviv, housed in a former industrial building which has been transformed into an entrepreneur’s paradise.

“With the opening of two new accelerators in Israel and Ivory Coast, the network of Orange Fab is now present on four continents. We believe it is our role to support, internationally, the growth of start-ups, which is a win-win situation”, declares Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Senior Executive Vice President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies of Orange.

Orange engages closely with start-ups and entrepreneurs

The Orange Group has set a range of measures to support innovative entrepreneurs through its accelerator Orange Fab, the Orange Partner program dedicated to developers and funding, through Iris Capital, a venture capitalist of which Orange is a shareholder. Orange is also working with Deutsche Telekom as part of their respective acceleration start-ups programs and with AppCampus in order to promote the creation of mobile applications. Furthermore, Orange is a founding member of the « Startup Europe Partnership » and of the « European Digital Forum », two initiatives of the “Action Plan for Entrepreneurship 2020″ of the European Commission. Finally, Orange also supports innovation in Africa through the three incubators that it opened, in Dakar, Senegal, in Mauritius and in Niamey, Niger.

Find out more:

http://orangefab.co.il/Accueil

www.orangefab.ci

www.orangepartner.com

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

Press contact:

Héloïse Rothenbühler, 01 44 44 93 93 – heloise.rothenbuhler@orange.com

about Orange

Orange (http://www.orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2013 and has 161,000 employees worldwide at 30 June 2014, including 101,000 employees in France. Present in 30 countries, the Group has a total customer base of more than 236 million customers at 30 June 2014, including 179 million mobile customers and 16 million fixed broadband customers worldwide. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.

Orange is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trade marks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

Sep 172014
 

PARIS, France, September 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the coming months, BANK OF AFRICA and Orange Money customers will be able to transfer money directly from their Orange Money account to their BOA account and vice versa simply with their mobile.

Logo Orange: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/orange-logo.jpg

Orange (http://www.orange.com) customers will have the opportunity to carry out safe and real-time banking operations, to transfer money, pay for goods and services (water, electricity, education, television bills, etc.) and purchase airtime credit without going to the bank or to the shop.

The large network of licensed Orange Money distributors will supplement the network of 450 BANK OF AFRICA branches, offering a maximum number of cash withdrawal points to the customers of the two companies.

“The partnership between Orange and BANK OF AFRICA illustrates Orange’s ambition to offer its customers high-quality services that are both easily accessible and easy to use. Our respective businesses complement each other making it easier for customers to manage their money using their mobile, wherever they are in the country and at any time of the day,” said Marc Rennard, Senior Executive Vice President, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia, Orange.

“The partnership with Orange Money enhances our range of services enabling us to increase customer proximity while offering high-quality, simple and useful services. This new service is also a ideal solution that meets our customers’ desire to carry out financial transactions any time and wherever they are,” says Alfa Barry, Deputy Director in charge of Marketing for the BANK OF AFRICA Group.

This new service, which is designed for both individuals and professionals, is already available in Madagascar since August and will be extended to Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the coming months. BOA Madagascar is the first bank in sub-Saharan Africa to launch this service with Orange.

This is also the first step in a range of innovative financial services that will be developed by the two companies.

Orange Money currently has more than 11 million customers in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Subscription to Orange Money is free of charge.

BANK OF AFRICA currently has millions of customers in 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

Press contacts:

BANK OF AMERICA :

Alfa Barry, abarry@boaholding.com

Orange :

Tom Wright, tom.wright@orange.com, +33 1 44 44 93 93

Vanessa Clarke, vanessa.clarke@orange.com +44 718 848 848

Nicole Clarke, nicole.clarke@orange.com +44 7811 128 457

About BOA Group

BANK OF AFRICA Group is presently established in 17 countries, of which 8 are in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo and Senegal), 7 in East Africa and Indian Ocean (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda), in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in France, through a network of 15 commercial banks, 1 finance company, 1 housing bank, 1 stock brokerage firm, 2 investment companies, 1 asset management firm and 1 representative office in Paris.

Since 2010, BMCE Bank (the second largest private bank in Morocco) is the majority shareholder of BOA Group. BMCE Bank provides it with strong strategic and operational support as well as direct access to international markets thanks to its presence in Europe and Asia.

Established almost 30 years ago in Mali, BOA Group presently has 5000 staff members, as at 31 December 2013 a consolidated total balance sheet of EUR 4.8 billion and it made a consolidated net profit of EUR 56.8 million.

http://www.bank-of-africa.net/

about Orange

Orange (http://www.orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2013 and has 161,000 employees worldwide at 30 June 2014, including 101,000 employees in France. Present in 30 countries, the Group has a total customer base of more than 236 million customers at 30 June 2014, including 179 million mobile customers and 16 million fixed broadband customers worldwide. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.

Orange is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.