Professor Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp receives the “African Alliances HE for SHE” Award for Women Empowerment to recognize “Merck More than a Mother Campaign”

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During the 11th African Congress for Women Entrepreneurs, Professor Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and Family Board of E. Merck KGaA received the “African Alliances He for She Award” for Women Empowerment. This was in recognition of Merck’s efforts to empower women in the field of research and healthcare through the Merck Capacity Advancement Program and UNESCO – Merck Africa Research Summit.

The award also recognizes Merck’s significant contribution to empower infertile women in Africa through the ‘Merck More than a Mother’ campaign.

“I am very happy to receive this important award. The “Merck More than a Mother” campaign is a very important initiative to empower an unprivileged segment of women in Africa,” Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg –Haverkamp said upon receiving his award. “Women who suffer infertility have been neglected, mistreated and discriminated because they cannot bear children, while we must also consider that 50% of infertility is caused by male factor and yet women are solely blamed for it.”

Dr. Amany Asfur, President of African Alliances of Women Empowerment explained, “We are very proud to acknowledge Merck’s efforts to empower infertile women in Africa by improving their access to information, awareness, health and change of mindset through their historic ‘Merck More than a Mother’ campaign.”

“Through the ‘Merck more than a Mother’ campaign we started an important project called ‘Empowering Berna.’ The project seeks to help infertile women, who cannot have children anymore, start their own businesses and build their independent and happier lives. I am very passionate about this project and I will follow it up by myself with women organizations across Africa.” mentioned Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer of Merck Healthcare.

The “African Alliances He for She Award” award also recognizes the UNESCO- Merck Africa Research Summit- MARS’s new initiative to empower African women researchers. The initiative is very critical for Africa’s future, and its social and economic development, which cannot be achieved except with the economic empowerment of women and youth.

During the same conference, the African Women Empowerment Award was granted to H.E. Samba-Panza, Former President of Central African Republic and H.E. Prof. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, who was represented by H.E. Julia Duncan-Cassell Liberian Minister of Gender.

During the African conference for women entrepreneurs, a high level panel of Merck More Than a Mother was conducted during which, Hon. Sarah Opendi the Ugandan Minister of Health, Hon. Jean Kalilani the Malawian Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Hon. Julia Duncan-Cassell the Liberian Minister of Gender and social affairs, Hon. Dr. Lanre Tejuoso the Nigerian Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Hon. Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu MEC Health Gauteng Government, South Africa, and parliamentarian members and academics from Uganda, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ivory Coast, discussed Merck More Than a Mother objectives and intervention across Africa and a commitment was made to kick off the campaign in each country during 2016 and 2017.

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

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 40,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2014, Merck generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 66 countries. Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

About African Alliance for Women Empowerment

African Alliance for Women Empowerment was established in 2006 with focal points across Africa with the main objective of Empowering Women of Africa to Meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is through economic, political and social empowerment of Women.

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Source:: Professor Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp receives the “African Alliances HE for SHE” Award for Women Empowerment to recognize “Merck More than a Mother Campaign”

President Museveni signs Children Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 into Law

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) congratulates the Government of Uganda on the recent signing of The Children Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 thereby turning it into law.

The President assented to the Bill on 20th May 2016, which came after the Bill was passed by the Parliament of Uganda in March 2016.

“This is a milestone for the children of Uganda!” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda. “I congratulate the President and the Government of Uganda for this major achievement, which now puts in place the legislation required for all children’s fundamental rights to be legally protected.”

The amended Children’s Act is significant in that it establishes new protective legislation regarding the guardianship of children, inter-country adoption, and corporal punishment, among other issues.

The old Act, Cap. 59, focused on the basic needs of the child, leaving gaps in the legal protection of all child rights according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) and other international Conventions that protect child rights.

The Children Act Amendment process

Uganda ratified the UN CRC in 1990, committing itself to putting children first so that they grow, survive and reach their full potential.

The ratification was followed by the enactment of the Children’s Statute in 1996, which defined child rights as meeting the basic needs of the child such as food, shelter, housing, clothing, education and health; but, critically, did not include the protection of other human rights, such as civil and political rights.

Due to the gaps contained therein, Civil Society began calling for a more rights-focused Statute which led to the amendment process that ended in March 2016, when the Children Act Amendment Bill 2015 was passed by the Parliament of Uganda.

Key amendments

Key amendments in the Children Act Amendment Bill include:

Clause 4: which now comprehensively provides for the full rights of the child. The old Act limited child rights to basic needs. The new Act introduces rights of children to: express their opinions in matters affecting the child; birth registration; privacy; legal representation in court; access to information to which a parent or guardian deems necessary for the child’s growth and well-being; freedom of expression; inheritance of property; and to be treated without discrimination.

Clause 7: which introduces protection of children from harmful customary practices such as child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, as well as penalties for offenders, among other harmful practices.

Clause 8: which protects children from harmful employment. It clarifies on employment and restates what is in the Employment Act, 2006. Here harmful employment is prohibited including the Worst Forms of Child Labour/hazardous labour. This includes work that exposes a child to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and work underground, among dangerous heights, and with dangerous machinery. It stipulates that the age of admission for employment is 16 years of age, in line with the Employment Act.

Clause 10: which protects children from violence and provides the right to access child protection services. It addresses issues such as: sexual abuse and exploitation, child marriage, child sacrifice, child Labour, child trafficking, institutional abuse of children, female genital mutilation (FGM), other forms of physical and emotional abuse; provides for preventive and response services for victims of child abuse and neglect; and the mandatory reporting of child abuse by medical practitioners, teachers and social workers/counsellors.

Clause 11: which offers clarity on Guardianship. It introduces legal Customary Guardianship – according to customs; that Guardianship is only possible if there are no relatives willing to look after the child or if alternative care options have been exhausted; and is restricted to only Ugandans. Non Ugandans can only adopt, which requires: the child to be in foster care for at least 12 months; adoptive parents to provide periodic reports on the child; an Adoption Agency to be created to handle adoption applications; and stops when a child turns 18 years. Inter-country adoption will be a matter of last resort after other alternative care options have been exhausted and clarifies on the offences of an administrator of the estate of a child to ensure that children’s property is not abused. All provisions on Guardianship are fully in line with the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.

Clause 24: which prohibits the death sentence for a person below 18 years and adults whose offence was committed when s/he was below the age of 18 years.

Clause 106A: which prohibits corporal punishment in schools. Breaking this law attracts imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding 100 currency points or both. A currency point is equal to 20,000 Uganda Shillings.

“We now look forward to supporting the implementation of the Act across different sectors; popularising the new Act through the production and dissemination of child friendly materials in both English and local languages; and advocating for the scale-up of national programmes related to the Act at both national and sub-national levels,” noted Ms. Girma.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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

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Source:: President Museveni signs Children Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 into Law

Categories: AFRICA

European Union technical delegation arrives for talks on Migration

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The Delegation of the European Union to Sudan announced the arrival of a team of migration experts from Brussels. The pledged development assistance to Sudan on migration is on the agenda, as well as issues related to migration routes through the borders. The discussions are to ensure that the agreed projects comply with the highest levels of transparency, accountability and respect for human rights.

The initial EU assistance is addressing the root causes of migration which includes conflict, poverty and instability in the Horn of Africa. The pledged assistance will benefit migrants, refugees, displaced people and the Sudanese host communities in the exposed areas. The focus of recently agreed EU projects in Sudan and the region is on building the capacities of the countries of the Horn of Africa to manage migration and, in particular, to fight against the trafficking of human beings and smuggling of migrants. Further projects support resilience of refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities and improve access to basic services and food security policy and decision-making through data collection and analysis. The experts will also attend a Khartoum process event on prevention of human smuggling and trafficking.

The European Commission launched an “Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa” at the Valletta migration summit last November. The Fund is made up of €1.8 billion from the EU budget and European Development Fund, combined with contributions from EU Member States and other donors.

The EU Delegation will continue to work with local and international non-governmental organisations including the UN agencies like UNHCR and IOM to ensure the projects will benefit the people of Sudan and protect the rights of refugees in a transparent way.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan.

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Categories: AFRICA

WHO condemns attack on Benghazi Medical Center in Benghazi, Libya

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WHO condemns the multiple attacks on 27 and 28 May 2016 on the Benghazi Medical Center in Benghazi, Libya. More than 600 patients and health workers were in the medical center at the time of the attacks. No casualties inside the center have been reported, although there are substantial damages to infrastructure.

Benghazi Medical Center is the only health facility providing tertiary health care to more than 500,000 people in Benghazi. Damages to the intensive care unit and other parts of the medical centre have now further reduced the availability of health services in Benghazi.

The bombing represents a serious setback for the affected community and an additional challenge to humanitarian work in Libya. It is estimated that nearly 60% of public hospitals in conflict areas in Libya have shut down or are inaccessible.

WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities. Such attacks must be avoided. Warring parties need to consistently observe International Humanitarian Law and take all necessary precautionary measures to avoid depriving populations of urgently needed health services.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Categories: AFRICA

Support for the UN Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities (ARDEC)

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1. Japan will dispatch 17 instructors from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and 1 support personnel from the Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office to a training which aims to instruct engineering personnel from the Kenya Defence Forces on the operation of heavy equipment required for engineering activities. The training will take place in Kenya from June 6th as part of the UN Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities (ARDEC), which is implemented by the UN Department of Field Support.

2. In recent UN PKOs, the lack of heavy equipment of engineering units and their operators has been a great challenge for conducting humanitarian assistance activities and ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers. To overcome these challenges, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed a commitment to contribute to the rapid deployment of these equipment and personnel with engineering capabilities at the Summit Meeting on UN PKOs held in September 2014.

3. Following Prime Minister Abe’s commitment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan provided financial contribution to the UN for the procurement of heavy equipment and the implementation of training, and dispatched 11 trainers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to the trial training held in Kenya last year. This year, Japan will continue to dispatch trainers from the Ministry of Defense, as well as support personnel from the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office.

4. The UN plans to conduct this training on heavy equipment again from August to October 2016.

【Reference】Outline of the training

Period of training : June 6th – July 29th, 2016
Location of training : Nairobi (Kenya International Peace Support Training Centre)
Instructors : 17 personnel led by Major Hiroyuki Tamaki, and International Peace Cooperation Programme Adviser Ms Risa Arai
Contents of the training : Instructing engineering personnel from the Kenya Defence Forces on the operation and maintenance of heavy equipment required for engineering activities

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

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Source:: Support for the UN Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities (ARDEC)

Categories: AFRICA

Standard Chartered & USAID’s USD60 million partnership boosts Zambia’s power grid

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Standard Chartered (www.SC.com) continues to deliver on its commitment to bridge Africa’s power gap by facilitating, coordinating and arranging transactions which boost the capacity of national power grids and access to electricity across Africa. In this latest milestone transaction, Standard Chartered has partnered with the U. S. Government, through USAID, to deliver a term loan worth USD 60 million to Zambia’s Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), making this one of the largest facilities that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered within President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ partnership since the campaign’s launch in 2013. The loan will finance capital expenditure tor ZESCO’s Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project (LTDRP) as well as provide bridge financing to facilitate new connections to the grid.

Part of ZESCO’s strategic plan is to improve the quality of electricity and enhance connections to the national grid,” commented ZESCO’s Managing Director, Victor Mundende. “USAID and Standard Chartered’s support has already delivered more than 15,000 new power connections. Furthermore, some of the funds provided will be used for other scheduled power system upgrades, contributing to new and existing connections to homes and businesses across the country. ZESCO remains committed to meeting its aspirations of electrifying 60% of Zambia by 2030.”

USAID/Zambia Mission Director, Michael Yates, added, “Power Africa is a broad partnership which aims to boost economic development, by providing access to electricity to homes and businesses across Africa. This is one of our largest commitments in Africa to date, and will enable us to meet a critical need for a quarter of a million Zambians and the economy as a whole.

This facility is Standard Chartered Zambia’s longest tenor and largest facility provided to a Zambian parastatal entity to date. Andrew Okai, CEO of Standard Chartered Zambia, commented, “By using our strengths in structuring financial solutions which promote economically enhancing partnerships and improve the lives of individuals, Standard Chartered can demonstrate our promise to be Here for good. This is the Bank’s second Power Africa partnership to benefit Zambia, with the first being Standard Chartered’s Private Equity investment in Zambian Energy Corporation.”

Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Group’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division, Simon Cooper, joined the signing ceremony in Lusaka, during his first Africa roadshow since joining the Bank earlier this year, “This transaction correlates directly with ‘Energy & Climate Change’ – the central theme for African Development Bank’s AGM which was hosted in Lusaka, Zambia this last week. Africa accounts for around a sixth of the world’s population, but only generates 4% of its electricity. Through our commitment to Power Africa partnerships – such as the one we have officiated with ZESCO – Standard Chartered will continue to support infrastructure development which provides a solid platform for long term economic growth.”

For this ZESCO / USAID partnership, Standard Chartered acted as the Global Coordinator, Structuring Bank, Bookrunner, Mandated Lead Arranger, Facility Agent and Account Bank. The international bank demonstrated its commitment to President Obama’s Power Africa campaign, which was launched in 2013, by more than doubling its original commitment to USD5billion.

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

For further information, please contact:

Standard Chartered – Lauren Callie, Ext Comm’s Africa & Middle East: +27 (0)63 404 2978
[email protected]

USAID/Zambia – John Boos: +260-211-357-000

Notes to editors:

ZESCO

ZESCO Limited is a vertically integrated parastatal whose primary business is to generate, transmit, distribute and supply electricity within Zambia as well as exporting to the Southern Africa Power Pool (“SAPP”) countries. It was established in 1970, and its governance has evolved over time to one that defines an arms-length relationship with Government of Zambia.

ZESCO has installed generation capacity of 2,224 MW which comprises 2,212 MW hydro (99%) and 11.3 MW diesel (1%).

The company owns approximately 39,000km of power transmission and distribution lines and has an installed substation capacity of 5,000 MVA in power transformation infrastructure. ZESCO has four licenses for its strategic business units, generation, transmission, distribution and supply.

USAID

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Currently active in over 100 countries worldwide, USAID was born out of a spirit of progress and innovation, reflecting American values and character, motivated by a fundamental belief in doing the right thing. When crisis strikes; when rights are repressed; when hunger, disease, and poverty rob people of opportunity; we act on behalf of the American people to help expand the reach of prosperity and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable.

Power Africa

Power Africa, an initiative led by the U.S. Government, aims to increase the number of people in of sub-Saharan Africa who have access to power. Launched by President Obama in 2013, Power Africa works with African governments and private sector partners to remove barriers that impede sustainable energy development in sub-Saharan Africa and unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent.

Power Africa’s goals are to increase electricity access by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections across sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa also includes the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, which works to expand rural electrification and access to small scale and off-grid technology.

Standard Chartered

We are a leading international banking group, with around 84,000 employees and a 150-year history in some of the world’s most dynamic markets. We bank the people and companies driving investment, trade and the creation of wealth across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, Here for good.

Standard Chartered PLC (www.SC.com) is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

For more information please visit www.SC.com. Explore our insights and comment on our blog, BeyondBorders (http://bit.ly/27YHD1e). Follow Standard Chartered on Twitter (http://bit.ly/24giYAP), LinkedIn (http://bit.ly/1TQEfhA) and Facebook (http://bit.ly/1TH7ykx).

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Categories: AFRICA

African Union maps out implementation plan of the continent’s nutrition strategy

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The 8th session of the African Union (AU) Task Force on Food and Nutrition Development (ATFFND) Meeting has taken place at the Commission’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The meeting was partly meant to review progress made in scaling up nutrition interventions in Africa and map out ways for effective implementation of the revised Africa’s Regional Nutrition Strategy (ARNS 2016 – 2025), which was adopted in June 2015 by the AU Executive Council.

Speaking on behalf of the Director of Social Affairs of the AU Commission (AUC), Dr. Djoudalbaye Benjamin, noted that, in addition to outlining the priority interventions for nutritional improvements in Africa, the ARNS 2016-2025 draws inspiration from past and present declarations, policies and programs to position better nutrition as a critical component for achieving the broader development aspirations of this continent. He expressed the displeasure of the Commission that Africa’s children are the ones at highest risk of malnutrition globally, and emphasized the urgent need to address this situation in order to safeguard the future of this continent. “This strategy, together with other policies, roadmaps and frameworks as well as the ensuing political commitments to Agriculture, food security and nutrition in Africa, leaves us with no excuse, but to work earnestly to improve the situation for all Africans”, Dr Benjamin noted. He applauded the expertise and continuous contribution of this Task Force to the development of continental and regional policy instruments and programs, and thanked participants for the support provided to the advocacy role of the AU Nutrition Champion, His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which has contributed immensely to raising awareness and profile of nutrition as a development agenda in Africa.

On her statement, the President of the Federation of African Nutrition Societies, Professor Joyce Kinabo appealed to the AU Commission and Member States to enhance resilience of food systems on the Continent by integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches into the continents policies and programs. She stressed that, improving food and nutrition situation of Africa is the responsibility of all and deserve the right amount of commitment and resources from policy makers.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Agencies, the Deputy Director of WFP Office to the AU and UNECA, Ms Wanja Kaaria pointed out that the consequences of poor nutrition on human development, especially poor child growth and brain development is evident almost everywhere in Africa. She therefore called on the Commission to urge African governments to speed up efforts to address the situation by putting in place the right interventions that touch all those in need. She described this Task Force as a forum of global and continental interest for consolidating and harmonizing Africa’s efforts for better nutrition. A Representative of the RECs also called for strengthening of data and monitoring mechanisms and effective reporting on our activities, to ensure accountability of all the decisions and declarations taken to improve food and nutrition situation of Africans.

During the two-day deliberation, participants called for generating more evidence and knowledge management; advocacy and awareness raising campaigns and increased resources for Agriculture, food and nutrition actions. Participants were also briefed on ongoing continental approaches to improve the situation, including the AU led Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control (PACA), Home Grown School Feeding initiative and the AU Research Grant on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Food and Nutrition Security.

The Meeting concluded with a consensus on the need for the AU Commission to continuously provide guidance and actively lead the coordination and harmonization of policies and programs that support better nutritional outcomes in Africa. The Meeting called on the Commission to put in place a comprehensive continental campaign against elimination of child stunting in Africa; and a clear accountability mechanisms for tracking implementations of the numerous decisions, declarations, policies, strategies and frameworks on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security.

Participants for the meeting were drawn from AU Member States, NEPAD, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector Agencies, Research Institutions, African Nutrition Societies and Associations and Individual Experts. This Task Force was established in 1987 by the Organization of African Unity with a mandate to guide and support food and nutrition policies and programs in Africa.

Senegal has agreed “in principle” to host the nutrition task force meeting in 2017.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

African Union maps out implementation plan of the continent’s nutrition strategy

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The 8th session of the African Union (AU) Task Force on Food and Nutrition Development (ATFFND) Meeting has taken place at the Commission’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The meeting was partly meant to review progress made in scaling up nutrition interventions in Africa and map out ways for effective implementation of the revised Africa’s Regional Nutrition Strategy (ARNS 2016 – 2025), which was adopted in June 2015 by the AU Executive Council.

Speaking on behalf of the Director of Social Affairs of the AU Commission (AUC), Dr. Djoudalbaye Benjamin, noted that, in addition to outlining the priority interventions for nutritional improvements in Africa, the ARNS 2016-2025 draws inspiration from past and present declarations, policies and programs to position better nutrition as a critical component for achieving the broader development aspirations of this continent. He expressed the displeasure of the Commission that Africa’s children are the ones at highest risk of malnutrition globally, and emphasized the urgent need to address this situation in order to safeguard the future of this continent. “This strategy, together with other policies, roadmaps and frameworks as well as the ensuing political commitments to Agriculture, food security and nutrition in Africa, leaves us with no excuse, but to work earnestly to improve the situation for all Africans”, Dr Benjamin noted. He applauded the expertise and continuous contribution of this Task Force to the development of continental and regional policy instruments and programs, and thanked participants for the support provided to the advocacy role of the AU Nutrition Champion, His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which has contributed immensely to raising awareness and profile of nutrition as a development agenda in Africa.

On her statement, the President of the Federation of African Nutrition Societies, Professor Joyce Kinabo appealed to the AU Commission and Member States to enhance resilience of food systems on the Continent by integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches into the continents policies and programs. She stressed that, improving food and nutrition situation of Africa is the responsibility of all and deserve the right amount of commitment and resources from policy makers.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Agencies, the Deputy Director of WFP Office to the AU and UNECA, Ms Wanja Kaaria pointed out that the consequences of poor nutrition on human development, especially poor child growth and brain development is evident almost everywhere in Africa. She therefore called on the Commission to urge African governments to speed up efforts to address the situation by putting in place the right interventions that touch all those in need. She described this Task Force as a forum of global and continental interest for consolidating and harmonizing Africa’s efforts for better nutrition. A Representative of the RECs also called for strengthening of data and monitoring mechanisms and effective reporting on our activities, to ensure accountability of all the decisions and declarations taken to improve food and nutrition situation of Africans.

During the two-day deliberation, participants called for generating more evidence and knowledge management; advocacy and awareness raising campaigns and increased resources for Agriculture, food and nutrition actions. Participants were also briefed on ongoing continental approaches to improve the situation, including the AU led Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control (PACA), Home Grown School Feeding initiative and the AU Research Grant on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Food and Nutrition Security.

The Meeting concluded with a consensus on the need for the AU Commission to continuously provide guidance and actively lead the coordination and harmonization of policies and programs that support better nutritional outcomes in Africa. The Meeting called on the Commission to put in place a comprehensive continental campaign against elimination of child stunting in Africa; and a clear accountability mechanisms for tracking implementations of the numerous decisions, declarations, policies, strategies and frameworks on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security.

Participants for the meeting were drawn from AU Member States, NEPAD, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector Agencies, Research Institutions, African Nutrition Societies and Associations and Individual Experts. This Task Force was established in 1987 by the Organization of African Unity with a mandate to guide and support food and nutrition policies and programs in Africa.

Senegal has agreed “in principle” to host the nutrition task force meeting in 2017.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Minister Joe McHugh Welcomes Free Africa Day 2016 Event at Farmleigh

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The Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid, Joe McHugh T.D., has welcomed Africa Day 2016 celebrations taking place tomorrow (29.05.16) at Farmleigh Estate in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.

More than 20,000 people are expected at this free family-friendly event. Supported by Irish Aid, it will see a jam-packed schedule of live music, as well as children’s entertainment, food, dance, drumming and sports.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister McHugh said:

“I hope as many people as possible will join us for this year’s Africa Day celebration at Farmleigh.

Ireland’s connections with Africa have developed in many exciting ways over recent years. Africa Day gives us the opportunity to highlight these connections, as well as the vibrant African diaspora here in Ireland and the contribution that they make to Irish society.

It promises to be a great day out for everyone.”

Three music stages will feature international and home-grown acts, including internationally renowned Irish folk / world music group Kíla, who will headline the event; afro-futuristic multicultural group Ájo Arkestra; eight-piece Afro-soul band Feather; soul singer-songwriter NC Grey; and Sidiki Dembélé Sextet, a collaboration between Griot Master drummer Sidiki Dembélé from Côte d’Ivoire and some of Ireland’s best African and jazz instrumentalists. There will also be a dedicated rap and hip-hop stage and a third music stage, featuring a range of exciting emerging artists.

One of the focal points of the Africa Day Dublin event will be the outdoor African bazaar, called ‘Marrakech’. It will feature stalls from different African countries, offering food, drumming, dance, hair-braiding, henna hand-painting, traditional fashion designs, and lots more. In addition to African community groups, a range of development NGOs will be present in the bazaar, offering fun activities, while the African embassies in Ireland will also be represented at the event.

A special children’s area, called ‘Mount Kiddimanjaro’, will include fun fair rides, drumming workshops, zorbing and face-painting. This area is sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines.

Brand new additions to this year’s programme include African turban and head wrap workshops; creative writing workshops for children; Irish and African storytellers and spoken

word performances; and a number of special ‘pop-up’ performances, which will take place throughout the day.

The festival will run from 11am to 6pm and all are welcome to attend. Dublin Bus will provide a free shuttle-bus service from the Heuston Bridge / Parkgate Street bus stop into the Phoenix Park.

Africa Day events in Ireland are supported by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information on Africa Day, visit: www.africaday.ie.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ireland.

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Source:: Minister Joe McHugh Welcomes Free Africa Day 2016 Event at Farmleigh

Categories: AFRICA

New Seychelles Ambassador to the Holy See and Sovereign Order of Malta presents Credentials to Pope Francis and The Grandmaster, Fra’ Mathew Festing

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Ambassador Selby Pillay was one of six new envoys who presented his Letters of Credence to Pope Francis on 19th May 2016, at the Vatican, accrediting him to the Holy See.

The Pontiff reciprocated President James Michel’s greetings, and conveyed his prayers and best wishes. His Holiness also asked God to grant peace and prosperity to all fellow citizens of Seychelles.

In his address to the new Ambassadors, the Pope highlighted that their presence at the Pontifical Palace is a poignant reminder that, “though our nationalities, cultures and religious beliefs may be different, we are united by our common humanity and a shared mission to care for society and creation. This service has taken on a particular urgency, as so many in our world are suffering conflicts and war, forced migration and displacement, and the uncertainty born of economic hardship. These problems demand not only that we reflect upon them and discuss them, but that we also express concrete signs of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in grave need.”

Ambassador Pillay emphasized the commitments of Seychelles in engaging all religious beliefs in order “to address critical national and global issues, and to continue working together towards promoting human dignity.”

Later in the day, the Ambassador was also accredited to the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, commonly known as Order of Malta. He presented his Credentials to The Grandmaster, Fra’ Mathew Festing at the Magistral Palace in Rome. His Most Eminent Highness has accepted an invitation from President James Michel to visit Seychelles next year. Seychelles greatly values the excellent and privileged relationship with the Order which continues to provide the country with many forms of assistance.

In his audience with the Grandmaster, Ambassador Pillay highlighted that, “In spite of the inherent challenges we face as a SIDS, we have been able to achieve much progress. This would not have been possible without our own determination, the assistance and concerted effort of our multilateral and bilateral partners, to which we count the Order as one such valued partner”. The Order is willing to assist us with future training in the field of health, and possibly provide equipment as well.

The international engagement and work of the Order around the world continue to be carried out in line with their 900-year long tradition, irrespective of race or religion. And throughout its 40 years of independence, Seychelles’ approach to economic and social development has been very much people-centered – a strategy incorporating values of justice, sustainability and inclusiveness that Seychelles Government and the Order have in common.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Source:: New Seychelles Ambassador to the Holy See and Sovereign Order of Malta presents Credentials to Pope Francis and The Grandmaster, Fra’ Mathew Festing

Categories: AFRICA

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the attack against peacekeepers in Mali

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The Secretary-General condemns the deadly attack that took place today in the Mopti region, in Mali, against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

According to preliminary reports, five peacekeepers from Togo were killed when a MINUSMA convoy travelling on the Tenenkou-Sévaré axis was ambushed by unknown assailants some 30 kilometres west of Sévaré, Mopti region.

The Secretary-General presents his heartfelt condolences to the families of the five peacekeepers who have died in the cause of peace and to the Government and people of Togo. He calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

He observes with sadness that this latest attack on MINUSMA has taken place on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, when the men and women serving under the United Nations flag with honour, courage and dedication are to be honoured. The Secretary-General recalls, once again, that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations will continue to support the stabilization of Mali and the implementation of the peace agreement and expresses his full support to the Malian authorities in their fight against extremist groups.

New York, 29 May 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the attack against peacekeepers in Mali

Categories: AFRICA

Security Council Press Statement on the terrorist attack against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

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The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on 29 May 2016 against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) near Sévaré, in the Mopti region, during which five peacekeepers from Togo were killedThe members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government of Togo and to MINUSMA.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice. They stressed that those responsible for these killings should be held accountable and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for MINUSMA and the French forces that support it. They reiterated their strong support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and for MINUSMA to assist the Malian authorities and the Malian people in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country, including through MINUSMA’s support to the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. They paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives in this respect.

The members of the Security Council expressed their concern about the security situation in Mali. They noted that the full implementation of the Agreement and the intensification of efforts to overcome asymmetric threats can contribute to improving the security situation across Mali. They further stressed the importance that MINUSMA has the necessary capacities to fully fulfil its current mandate.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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Source:: Security Council Press Statement on the terrorist attack against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Categories: AFRICA