Somalia registers record exports of 5 million livestock in 2014 / Long-term sector investment boosts country’s trade with Gulf States

ROME, Italy, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Somalia in 2014 exported a record 5 million livestock to markets in the Gulf of Arabia thanks to heavy investments in animal disease prevention backed by the European Union and the United Kingdom, FAO said today.

This is the highest number of live animals exported from Somalia in the last 20 years.

The export data, collected by the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), indicates that Somalia exported 4.6 million goats and sheep, 340,000 cattle and 77,000 camels in 2014, worth an estimated $360 million.

Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy, contributing 40 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“This is a key milestone for the Somalia’s livestock sector that reflects the large investments being made to support the commercial development of the livestock sector to become more competitive in international markets,” said Said Hussein Iid, Somalia’s Minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range. “This is important for both Somalia’s economy in general and for the livelihoods of the millions of livestock owners throughout Somalia.”

“The sector’s potential is enormous,” Iid added.

“This shows that despite the challenges, the Somali people are successfully working to improve their economy and food security,” said Richard Trenchard, head of FAO’s office for Somalia. “FAO and our partners are committed to remaining engaged and involved in supporting those efforts.”

Buyers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait Qatar and United Arab Emirates have all taken advantage of Somalia’s thriving livestock scene and its improved disease surveillance and control mechanisms.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, has contributed to steadily rising exports over the last six years, following a move to lift a 9-year ban on the import of livestock from Somalia aimed at preventing the spread of Rift Valley fever.

Return on investments

For the last five years, FAO, with financial support from the European Union and the UK government, has engaged with the Somali government to invest heavily in livestock infrastructure, fodder production and livestock vaccination and treatment services. Transboundary animal diseases have been a major point of attention because they can kill large numbers of animals, resulting in food shortages, market disruptions and trade and export barriers.

Every year, FAO vaccinates an average of 12 million animals in Somalia against peste des petits ruminants (PPR) – a highly contagious and often deadly viral disease of goats. Another 12 million goats are treated and vaccinated every year against Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), a source of major losses among Somali livestock producers.

In addition to animal health campaigns, four modern slaughterhouses, four meat markets and three livestock markets are also boosting local livestock trade across Somalia.

“There is no doubt that livestock is, and will remain for a long time, central to the Somali economy,” said Trenchard.

Continued investment in building Somali livestock institutions is key to boosting incomes, reducing the vulnerability of rural households, and steering the future growth of the sector, according to Trenchard, who says the livestock sector is at a tipping point.

“An investment in livestock means an investment in economic growth for the whole of Somalia,” he said

Added value from by-products

With trade of live animals booming, FAO is now working with the Somali government and partners to identify other opportunities to derive added value from livestock by-products.

In 2012, under a UK-funded initiative, Somali pastoralists were trained in soap manufacturing using camel bone marrow and trained jewelers carved spoons, necklaces and flower vases out of the dense bones.

In May 2015, FAO will start training 150 Somalis in curing leather, a potentially lucrative opportunity for the entire livestock sector, while an EU-funded programme is currently underway to improve milk quality in northwestern Somalia, one of the country’s main milk production regions.

The 2014 figures represent an optimum level of live animal export for Somalia, according to FAO experts, who urge producers to shift focus towards export of meat and other by-products.

A livestock certification system developed by FAO along the Galkayo-Bossaso livestock corridor will further help to ensure high quality livestock for local consumption and export.

Source:: Somalia registers record exports of 5 million livestock in 2014 / Long-term sector investment boosts country’s trade with Gulf States

Categories: African Press Organization

Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the issue of the Boko Haram terrorist group

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 500th meeting held on 27 April 2015, was briefed on the issue of the Boko Haram terrorist group and follow-up to the relevant communiqués of Council on the matter. Council also listened to the statements made by the representatives of Benin, Cameroon and Nigeria, as members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), as well as by the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, the European Union (EU), France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, in their capacity as members of the UN Security Council.

Council recalled its earlier pronouncements on the situation, in particular communiqués PSC/AHG/COMM.2(CDLXXXIV) and PSC/PR/COMM.CDLXXXIX)-Rev.1, adopted by Council at its 484th and 489th meetings held on 29 January and 3 March 2015, authorizing the deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established by the Member States of the LCBC and Benin, endorsing the MNJTF Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and welcoming the steps taken to develop the operational level CONOPS for the MNJTF.

Council noted with satisfaction the progress made on the ground in neutralizing the Boko Haram terrorist group, in particular the continued recovery of locations previously controlled by this group. Council commended the countries of the region for their efforts and commitment.

Council stressed that, while the Boko Haram terrorist group is being weakened on the ground, it continues nonetheless to pose a serious threat to regional peace and security, as demonstrated by the attacks carried out recently by the group, including in Northern Nigeria and against a Niger military position on the Island of Karamga, on Lake Chad. Council strongly condemned these attacks, and reiterated its solidarity with the countries of the region and full support to their efforts.

Council took note of the steps being taken in follow-up to its relevant decisions, as contained in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM(CDLXXXIX). In this respect, Council encouraged the Commission to pursue the efforts being made to assist in the operationalization of the MNJTF Headquarters in Ndjamena, and facilitate the mobilization and provision of the required support, including the early dispatch of an assessment team to Ndjamena for further consultations with the LCBC Secretariat. Council also took note of the efforts made by the African members of the UN Security Council (A3), under the coordination of Chad, towards the adoption of a resolution endorsing the deployment of the MNJTF and authorizing the establishment of the required support mechanisms. Council agreed to review this matter in due course, on the basis of the recommendations made by the A3.

Council noted with satisfaction the pledge by Nigeria to contribute 100 million dollars to the fight against Boko Haram within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and recalled the earlier pledge by the Extraordinary Summit of the Peace and Security Council (COPAX) of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 16 February 2015, to provide a financial assistance of up to 50 billion CFA, as well as a logistical support, to Cameroon and Chad. Council encouraged the other Member States to support the efforts of the countries of the region. Council also welcomed the contribution made by the United Kingdom, as well as the on-going discussions between the AU and the EU, towards the provision of funding in support of the MNJTF, within the framework of the Africa Peace Facility (APF).

Council encouraged the humanitarian agencies to continue to provide support to the affected populations. Council also reiterated the need to complement the on-going military and security efforts with sustained development, educational human rights promotion programmes, in order to ensure lasting stability in the affected areas.

Source:: Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the issue of the Boko Haram terrorist group

Categories: African Press Organization

World Immunization Week Aims to “Close the Immunization Gap” and Provide “a Gift for Life” in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The World Health Organization’s World Immunization Week (WIW) from 24th to 30th April this year aims to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination to people of all ages and increase rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases around the world. This year WIW focuses on ‘closing the immunization gap.’ African Vaccination Week is being celebrated under the theme “Vaccination, a gift for life”.

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

Did you know that:

• Immunization can protect against 30 different infectious diseases, from infancy to old age; and

• Immunization saves the lives of 2 to 3 million people worldwide each year?

Africa has made several gains beyond increasing reach of immunisation; some diseases have been eliminated through wide-scale immunisation programmes. Vaccines are available in public vaccination programmes in the vast majority of African countries, thanks to sustained political will, international support and innovative public/private partnerships(1).

Despite recent progress within African countries, there are still significant opportunities provided by immunization, particularly to help protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.

Africa and Human Papillomavirus

• An estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer. Over 85% of those deaths occur among women in developing countries. Without changes in prevention and control, cervical cancer deaths are forecast to rise to 416,000 by 2035; and virtually all of those deaths will be in developing countries(2).

• Cervical cancer is the most common of all cancers in Africa and thus continues to be a significant threat that demands urgent attention in the African Region. In 2012, over half a million new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide with 1 in 5 being in sub-Saharan Africa(3).

• The primary cause of cervical pre-cancerous lesions and cancer is persistent or chronic infection with one or more types of the high risk HPV. HPV is the most common sexually acquired infection and is most often acquired in adolescence and young adults upon sexual debut(3).

• Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Immunisation, together with screening and treatment, is the best strategy to rapidly reduce the burden of cervical cancer(4).

“For more than 100 years, scientists at MSD (http://www.merck.com) has been discovering and developing vaccines to help prevent certain diseases in children, adolescents and adults,” said Henrik Secher, associate vice president and managing director, MSD Africa. “We have an important responsibility to improve access to our life-saving vaccines and quality healthcare worldwide.”

“MSD commends the great progress in HPV immunization efforts in Africa and supports it through continued partnership in a range of HPV immunization programs – currently in 12 countries across African continent,” he said. “We do this by working in partnership with others – governments, donors, patient organizations, healthcare professionals, NGOs, multilateral organizations and others in the private sector – to lend our expertise and knowledge. Our commitment is steadfast as we work to increase access to vaccines now and in the future.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme).

Contacts for Media:

Charlie McCurdy,

Global Communications | Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa

T: +1 267-305-7545

E: charles.mccurdy@merck.com

Farouk Shamas Jiwa,

Director, Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility in Africa

T: +41 799623934

E: farouk.jiwa@merck.com

About MSD

Today’s MSD (http://www.merck.com) is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.

References:

1. http://sa.au.int/en/sites/default/files/2014_Status_Report_on%20MNCH%20-%20English_1.pdf

2. http://www.gavi.org/support/nvs/human-papillomavirus-vaccine-support/?utm_source=The+Alliance+at+work&utm_campaign=c7db6ec405-The_Alliance_at_Work_Issue_7&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b075913875-c7db6ec405-407303021

3. http://www.afro.who.int/en/media-centre/pressreleases/item/7550-implementing-cervical-cancer-interventions-key-to-save-african-women.html

4. http://www.gavi.org/support/nvs/human-papillomavirus-vaccine-support/

Source:: World Immunization Week Aims to “Close the Immunization Gap” and Provide “a Gift for Life” in Africa

Categories: African Press Organization

Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Libya

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 500th meeting held on 27 April 2015, reviewed the situation in Libya on the basis of the report submitted by the Chairperson of the Commission [PSC/PR/3(D)] and the update provided by the AU Special Envoy for Libya, Dileita Mohamed Dileita. Council also listened to the statements made by the representative of Libya, as well as by those of Algeria and Egypt, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee of Libya’s neighbours, Ethiopia, the League of Arab States, the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) Secretariat and the following members of the UN Security Council: France, Nigeria, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Council reiterated its deep concern at the collapse of state structures and the prevailing security situation in Libya. In this respect, Council noted the fighting that is taking place in various parts of Libya between the armed belligerents, as well as the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian institutions and public infrastructures, including airports and oil installations, in total disregard of international humanitarian and human rights laws. Council expressed dismay at the disastrous humanitarian impact of the current situation.

Council further noted the worsening of the scourge of terrorism in Libya, with the continued activities of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups and individuals, the increasing presence of the Islamic State (IS) and the declarations of allegiance to the IS by terrorist groups operating in Libya. Council reaffirmed the AU’s total rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and strongly condemned the terrorist groups operating in Libya and their criminal activities, including the gruesome killing of African migrants of Egyptian and Ethiopian origin. Council renewed the AU’s solidarity with the peoples and Governments of Egypt and Ethiopia, and Africa’s resolve to do all it can to contribute to the elimination of the terrorist groups active in Libya.

Council also noted that the prevailing anarchy in Libya has facilitated the activities of the criminal networks involved in human trafficking towards Europe, leading to the loss of countless human lives during attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Council underlined the need for effective international action to address both the immediate and long-term aspects of the problem, through enhanced cooperation involving all concerned stakeholders. In view of the gravity of the situation and the need for Africa to fully play its role in the search for a lasting solution to this problem, Council requested the Commission to urgently submit to it a comprehensive report, with practical recommendations on the way forward.

Council reiterated its conviction that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya. Council, once again, called on the Libyan stakeholders to genuinely commit themselves to dialogue, in order to bring to an end the suffering being inflicted upon their own people, complete the transition process and live up to the hope generated by the popular uprising of February 2011. In this respect, Council reiterated its support to the UN-led political dialogue, and urged all concerned Libyan stakeholders to extend the necessary cooperation to this process. Council also reiterated its appreciation to the countries of the region for their continued involvement in the search for peace, security and reconciliation in Libya. Council looks forward to the holding, in due course, of the reconciliation conference planned by Algeria, as well as to the meeting of tribal leaders scheduled to take place in Egypt.

Council welcomed the steps taken by the Commission in follow-up to the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/MIN/COMM.(CDLIX) adopted at its 459th meeting held in New York, on 23 September 2014. In this respect, Council noted with satisfaction the operationalization of the International Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) and the conclusions adopted by the three meetings the Group has held so far. Council stressed the central role of the ICG-L in ensuring a coordinated international engagement in Libya and encouraged the Commission, working with all concerned international stakeholders, to take the necessary steps towards the enhancement of the Group, to enable it more effectively discharge its mandate.

Council also welcomed the efforts deployed by the AU Special Envoy, in particular the consultations he held with various Libyan stakeholders and the countries of the region. Council called for the intensification of these consultations, with a view to increasing the AU’s role and contribution to the search for a solution.

Council requested the Commission to make further recommendations on how best to enhance the AU’s contribution to the search for a solution to the current crisis, bearing in mind the responsibilities of Council and the provisions of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter on the role of regional arrangements in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Council agreed to meet, as early as possible, to further review the situation. Council noted, in this respect, the proposal put forward by Ethiopia for the convening of a meeting of Council at ministerial level.

Source:: Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Libya

Categories: African Press Organization

Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Libya

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 500th meeting held on 27 April 2015, reviewed the situation in Libya on the basis of the report submitted by the Chairperson of the Commission [PSC/PR/3(D)] and the update provided by the AU Special Envoy for Libya, Dileita Mohamed Dileita. Council also listened to the statements made by the representative of Libya, as well as by those of Algeria and Egypt, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee of Libya’s neighbours, Ethiopia, the League of Arab States, the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) Secretariat and the following members of the UN Security Council: France, Nigeria, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Council reiterated its deep concern at the collapse of state structures and the prevailing security situation in Libya. In this respect, Council noted the fighting that is taking place in various parts of Libya between the armed belligerents, as well as the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian institutions and public infrastructures, including airports and oil installations, in total disregard of international humanitarian and human rights laws. Council expressed dismay at the disastrous humanitarian impact of the current situation.

Council further noted the worsening of the scourge of terrorism in Libya, with the continued activities of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups and individuals, the increasing presence of the Islamic State (IS) and the declarations of allegiance to the IS by terrorist groups operating in Libya. Council reaffirmed the AU’s total rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and strongly condemned the terrorist groups operating in Libya and their criminal activities, including the gruesome killing of African migrants of Egyptian and Ethiopian origin. Council renewed the AU’s solidarity with the peoples and Governments of Egypt and Ethiopia, and Africa’s resolve to do all it can to contribute to the elimination of the terrorist groups active in Libya.

Council also noted that the prevailing anarchy in Libya has facilitated the activities of the criminal networks involved in human trafficking towards Europe, leading to the loss of countless human lives during attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Council underlined the need for effective international action to address both the immediate and long-term aspects of the problem, through enhanced cooperation involving all concerned stakeholders. In view of the gravity of the situation and the need for Africa to fully play its role in the search for a lasting solution to this problem, Council requested the Commission to urgently submit to it a comprehensive report, with practical recommendations on the way forward.

Council reiterated its conviction that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya. Council, once again, called on the Libyan stakeholders to genuinely commit themselves to dialogue, in order to bring to an end the suffering being inflicted upon their own people, complete the transition process and live up to the hope generated by the popular uprising of February 2011. In this respect, Council reiterated its support to the UN-led political dialogue, and urged all concerned Libyan stakeholders to extend the necessary cooperation to this process. Council also reiterated its appreciation to the countries of the region for their continued involvement in the search for peace, security and reconciliation in Libya. Council looks forward to the holding, in due course, of the reconciliation conference planned by Algeria, as well as to the meeting of tribal leaders scheduled to take place in Egypt.

Council welcomed the steps taken by the Commission in follow-up to the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/MIN/COMM.(CDLIX) adopted at its 459th meeting held in New York, on 23 September 2014. In this respect, Council noted with satisfaction the operationalization of the International Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) and the conclusions adopted by the three meetings the Group has held so far. Council stressed the central role of the ICG-L in ensuring a coordinated international engagement in Libya and encouraged the Commission, working with all concerned international stakeholders, to take the necessary steps towards the enhancement of the Group, to enable it more effectively discharge its mandate.

Council also welcomed the efforts deployed by the AU Special Envoy, in particular the consultations he held with various Libyan stakeholders and the countries of the region. Council called for the intensification of these consultations, with a view to increasing the AU’s role and contribution to the search for a solution.

Council requested the Commission to make further recommendations on how best to enhance the AU’s contribution to the search for a solution to the current crisis, bearing in mind the responsibilities of Council and the provisions of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter on the role of regional arrangements in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Council agreed to meet, as early as possible, to further review the situation. Council noted, in this respect, the proposal put forward by Ethiopia for the convening of a meeting of Council at ministerial level.

Source:: Press Statement of the 500th meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Libya

Categories: African Press Organization

U.S. Condemns Boko Haram Attacks in Niger

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jeff Rathke

Acting Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 28, 2015

We condemn the attacks by Boko Haram on Karamga Island in Lake Chad, which killed 48 Nigerien security forces and wounded another 37, with others still missing. We offer our condolences to the Government and people of Niger and to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives and who are missing.

We condemn the violent actions of Boko Haram and its continued disregard for human life. Boko Haram has perpetrated countless unprovoked attacks on men, women, and children in their homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses. Their brutality and barbarism know no bounds.

The United States is committed to supporting the efforts of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to help the countries of the region increase their capabilities to degrade and destroy Boko Haram. We commend efforts by the African Union and Lake Chad Basin Commission countries and Benin to stand up the MNJTF.

Source:: U.S. Condemns Boko Haram Attacks in Niger

Categories: African Press Organization