UNHCR and FAO help vulnerable refugees and South Sudanese families strengthen their food security

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The UN Refugee Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have distributed seeds and agricultural tools to 200,000 refugees and their host communities across South Sudan to help them become more self-sufficient in a country facing a serious food crisis.

Assessments have shown that the food and nutrition security situation is worrying in many parts of the country, including in Upper Nile – a region hosting four refugee camps and South Sudan’s largest refugee population of 134,000 Sudanese refugees. A nutrition survey, conducted in late 2015, found that Upper Nile’s Maban refugee camps registered higher levels of malnutrition compared to 2014. This was particularly the case in Doro camp, where the rates of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) were respectively 15.5 percent and 2.6 percent – above UNHCR standards of 10 percent and 2 percent.

“To quickly respond to high malnutrition rates we are distributing nutritious food for children under five years and all pregnant and breast feeding mothers. We are pleased to announce that these interventions are working well, but we are also looking beyond quick-fix solutions that help refugees become more self-reliant and less dependent on humanitarian assistance in the long run. This is the essence of the UNHCR-FAO partnership,” says Ahmed Warsame, UNHCR Representative.

This year, the two UN agencies have jointly contributed 186 tons of crop seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, hand tools and fishing kits for refugees and local communities in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria. This donation will enable communities to start planting their cereals and replenish their stocks, in so decreasing food shortages.

“People here lack the resources to buy the things they need to start planting and need support to be able to produce their own food. These distributions have been very timely since the planting season has just started,” says Serge Tissot, FAO Representative. “It is vital to strengthen the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the long-term so that they can become more resilient, absorbing shocks and increasing their access to food through their own means.”

While many have received assistance through direct distributions in the past, in 2016 refugees in Central Equatoria were invited to attend seed fairs for the first time. With this FAO, in partnership with UNHCR, strives to help transform agriculture in South Sudan by facilitating the sale of high quality local seeds instead of imported seeds. At the fair, vulnerable farmers were issued with vouchers to be exchanged with local traders for seeds which directly injected cash into the local economy.

“Without seed distributions we cannot survive. Not all of us are able to maintain seeds for next year, some people do, but because of a lack of food, sometimes we are forced to eat the seeds maintained for planting,” Michelle, Sudanese refugee from Blue Nile State. “We hope for peace so that we can return home, where we can be free,” she added.

FAO and UNHCR are committed towards increasing refugees’ access to livelihood opportunities and reducing dependency on humanitarian aid. Of late, a joint livelihood strategy for South Sudan was launched looking to address this issue with a clearly defined action plan. The strategy targets both refugees (70 percent) and local communities (30 percent) in refugee-hosting areas across the country.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the terrorist attacks in Mali

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The Secretary-General is outraged by the terrorist attacks carried out yesterday in Gao, Mali, against the United Nations.

According to preliminary reports, one peacekeeper from China was killed and a dozen UN personnel were injured when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated at a United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) camp. In a separate incident, one civilian contractor from France and two security guards from Mali were killed when the camp of a UN contractor, in another area of the city, was attacked by unknown assailants.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the recent series of attacks directed against MINUSMA that have killed 12 peacekeepers and injured many more in May alone. He reiterates that nothing can excuse these acts of terrorism against men and women who are serving with the United Nations to help the people of Mali to restore stability and peace across the country. The Secretary-General urges the Government of Mali, with the support of its partners, to expeditiously investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable. He also calls on the people of Mali to provide information on the attacks to the authorities.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments of China, France and Mali. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations will continue to support the peace agreement and stabilization of Mali.

In the coming days, the Secretary-General intends to present to the Security Council proposals to strengthen the Mission’s posture and capabilities. He reiterates the long-standing demand to ensure that MINUSMA forces are adequately equipped to operate in a dangerous and unpredictable environment such as Mali.

New York, 1 June 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 terrorist attacks in Mali

Categories: AFRICA

Foreign Secretary secures legal representation for Briton detained in Ethiopia

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Philip Hammond pressed for progress when he met both the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Secretary secured assurances from the Ethiopian Government that Mr. Tsege will be granted access to a lawyer.

During his visit, the Foreign Secretary despatched a senior Foreign Office Director to meet Mr. Tsege in prison, on his behalf, on Wednesday to seek further assurances about his welfare.

This is the tenth visit by British Embassy staff and follows a visit by the British Ambassador in May.

Speaking from Ethiopia after his meetings on Wednesday, Philip Hammond said:

I raised the case of Andargachew Tsege in my meeting with the Prime Minister, making it clear that while progress has been made, with regular consular access now in place and a transfer to a federal prison, further steps are required. I have now received a commitment from the Prime Minister that Mr Tsege will be allowed access to independent legal advice to allow him to discuss options under the Ethiopian legal system.

Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries, any more than we would accept interference in our judicial system. Our consular role is to ensure well-being and access to legal advice.

At my request, a senior Foreign Office official travelling with me, was given access to Mr Tsege in prison today. Following that visit, I am satisfied that he is not being ill-treated and that he is receiving regular visits from family members in Ethiopia.

The Foreign Secretary has repeatedly raised Mr Tsege’s case and Prime Minister David Cameron has also written to the Ethiopian Prime Minister on two separate occasions.

Following the British Government’s intervention, access to Mr. Tsege has improved and he was transferred to a regular prison.

The Foreign Secretary has met Mr. Tsege’s partner and the British Government will continue to support Mr. Tsege and his family.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Categories: AFRICA

Sage’s Ivan Epstein appointed as a judge for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in Monaco

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Ivan Epstein (https://twitter.com/IvanEpstein) – President of Sage International (www.Sage.com) has been appointed to the judging panel for the 16th EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2016 (http://bit.ly/1dORiO0). Epstein, the winner of the 1999/2000 Ernst & Young (EY) South African Entrepreneur Of The Year award will be part of a panel that will decide on the winner, to be announced in Monte Carlo at a gala award ceremony on the evening of Saturday, 11 June.

Says Epstein: “Like many of the businesses we serve, we started from humble beginnings, developing into a successful international business. I know about the human sacrifice and hard work it takes to create one of the millions of Small & Medium Businesses that power the global economy.

“For that reason, this award and its focus on entrepreneurial excellence is close to my heart. I look forward to learning more about how entrepreneurs from around the world are serving their communities, creating growth and prosperity with their inspiring ideas.”

The awards see the winners in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards from 49 countries compete for the global title. The independent judging panel comprises distinguished EY Entrepreneur of the Year past winners and other well-known entrepreneurs. In addition to Epstein, they are:

  • Rebecca MacDonald of Just Energy Group (chair, Canada)
  • Rosario Bazán of DanPer (Peru)
  • Jim Nixon of Sandvik Venture (US)
  • Lance Uggla of Markit (UK)
  • Dr. Kar Wong of The Advanced Group of Companies (UK)
  • Michael Wu of Hong Kong Maxim’s Caterers Limited (China).

The award is given on the basis of six criteria, giving all country winners an equal opportunity to compete: entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, global (or community) impact, innovation, and personal integrity/influence.

Epstein co-founded the company, Softline, in 1988 and grew it into a multinational, JSE-listed software group by the late 1990s. The company was subsequently acquired by FTSE 100 company, Sage plc, today a global market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems to the world’s Small & Medium Businesses.

Epstein was awarded the EY “South Africa’s Best Entrepreneur” in 1999/2000, and appointed to the panel of judges where he now serves as chair. He has selected many of South Africa’s entrepreneurs including a global winner.

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

Sage Press contacts:

Idea Engineers: PR agency for Sage
Del-Mari Roberts

Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)72 5958 053
[email protected]

Idea Engineers: PR agency for Sage
Ashmika Panday

Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)73 626 0108
[email protected]

Notes to editors:

  • A full list of speakers, panellists and the 49 countries competing this year is available at www.EY.com/weoy.
  • For broadcast quality, downloadable video content, visit EY’s broadcast newsroom https://broadcast.ey.com. The videos include non-branded B-roll, web videos and sound bites.

Connect with Sage

About Sage

Sage (www.Sage.com) is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the UK 30 years ago and over 13000 colleagues now support millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries as they power the global economy. We reinvent and simplify business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are active in supporting our local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

Sage – the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

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Source:: Sage’s Ivan Epstein appointed as a judge for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in Monaco

Categories: AFRICA

GeoPoll, Kantar Media, and Cuende Announce First Pan-African Out of Home Measurement Product

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GeoPoll (www.GeoPoll.com), Kantar Media, and Cuende are pleased to announce the launch of “Pan-African OOH”, the first data product to regularly measure consumption of Out of Home mediums across Africa. This joint product uses a consistent methodology to bring robust Out of Home measurement data to 15 countries. Through a cutting-edge combination of satellite imagery and mobile survey data, Pan-African OOH measures traffic patterns and reach of billboards, urban furniture, and other OOH media, and allowing brands, agencies, and media owners to accurately gauge the reach and effectiveness of their OOH advertisements.

Part of Kantar GeoPoll Media Measurement, the largest provider of overnight media ratings for TV, radio, and print in Africa, Pan-African OOH fills a critical gap in one of the largest segments of advertising research in Africa by supplying the first-ever comprehensive dataset on OOH advertising in the continent. Together, GeoPoll, ground-breaking provider of media research in Africa, Kantar Media, experts in worldwide audience research, and Cuende, the global leader in OOH measurement, have combined their methodologies to produce a consistent, reliable source of OOH data that is easily scalable to the entire African continent. The product uses Cuende´s satellite imagery and GeoPoll mobile survey data to create a comprehensive dataset that demonstrates traffic patterns, reach and frequency of specific OOH media, and audience profiles.

GeoPoll CEO James Eberhard says “Out of Home data in Africa has been an unknown quantity throughout Africa due to the difficulty and costs associated with data collection. As mobile phone penetration has expanded and satellite imagery has become more readily available, it has become possible to create a reliable, multi-modal OOH measurement solution for the first time. We are excited to bring together the global leaders in the space to bring a new currency in OOH measurement to the African Market. Media owners and advertisers can use this tool to assess advertising campaigns and create media plans based on actual data, bringing unprecedented clarity to the Out of Home sector”.

Features of the product include:

  • Reach and GRP data for billboards and other OOH advertisements in major metropolitan areas throughout Africa.
  • Information on trip habits of different demographic groups on weekends and weekdays.
  • Popular transport methods (foot, car, taxi, bus) broken down by demographics.
  • Data integrated into OOH planning software Telmar so agencies and brands can easily calculate the ROI of different OOH advertisements.

The first set of Pan-African OOH data will be available at the beginning of Q3 2016 for Kenya and will expand to Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Angola, Ivory Coast, DRC, Malawi, & Rwanda. Interested customers can get more information and pre-order the product from GeoPoll’s website at http://Knowledge.Geopoll.com/out-of-home

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

Press Contact
Roxana Elliott
[email protected]

About GeoPoll
GeoPoll (http://research.Geopoll.com) is the world’s largest mobile survey platform, with a network of more than 200 million users in emerging markets. GeoPoll’s platform conducts surveys through the mobile phone and provides results to clients in real-time, giving anyone the ability to make data-driven decisions. Through work with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments, GeoPoll provides insights on everything from food security to brand preferences. GeoPoll services include both custom research and subscription products. For more information, visit www.GeoPoll.com.

About Kantar Media
Kantar Media is a global leader in media intelligence, providing clients with the data they need to make informed decisions on all aspects of media measurement, monitoring and selection. Part of Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, Kantar Media provides the most comprehensive and accurate intelligence on media consumption, performance and value. For further information, please visit us at www.KantarMedia.com.

About Cuende
CUENDE Infometrics´ goal, since its founding in 1991, has been to design and develop state-of-the-art marketing research systems and decision support tools for advertising and media planning. With advanced technologies and patented methodologies, CUENDE Infometrics is the international leader in Out-of-Home research, conducting audience studies in Spain, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Lebanon. For more information visit www.Cuende.com.

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Categories: AFRICA

EU to sign Economic Partnership Agreement with the South African Development Community EPA Group

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On 1 June 2016, the Council authorised, on behalf of the EU, the signature and provisional application of the economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the EU and the South African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group. The South African Development Community EPA group comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

The signing ceremony of the SADC-EU EPA is due to take place in Kasane (Botswana) on 10 June 2016.

The economic partnership agreements are intended to enhance regional integration and economic development in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. They are based on the principle of asymmetrical market opening, meaning that they provide a better access to the EU market for ACP partners. They notably offer unprecedented market opportunities for agricultural and fisheries products. EPAs replace the previous market access regime of unilateral preferences for ACP countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Council of the European Union.

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Categories: AFRICA

Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack against United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali

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The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on 31 May 2016 against the camp of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Gao, in the North of Mali, during which one peacekeeper from the People’s Republic of China was killed and others were injured.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victim, as well as to the Government of the People’s Republic of China and to MINUSMA. They paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives.

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, including 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.

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.

1 June 2016

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

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Categories: AFRICA

The African Union Commission and the African Minerals Development Center consult the Private Sector on the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision

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The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Minerals Development Center consulted today the Private Sector on the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) initiative under the theme: “Leveraging the role of Chambers of Mines and Mining Association in the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision”. The objective of the two-day meeting is to have a frank discussion and contribution amongst Private Sector and leaders from Chambers of Mines on how to implement the African Mining Vision.

The role of the Chambers of Mines is to protect and promote the interests of their members and their roles have evolved to work closely with governments as major stakeholders to address major common challenges such as job creation and poverty alleviation. Chambers of Mines also play a bigger role in attracting investments.

In his opening statement, the Chairman of Rwanda Mining Association (RMA), Mr. Jean Malic Kalima pointed out that Rwanda like most of other African countries is endowed with minerals. According to him, mining activities were being carried out by government until 2006 when mining sector was privatized and hence the entry of the private sector players in the mineral business led to the formation of Rwanda Mining Association in 2012 under the umbrella of Private Sector Federation to facilitate smooth transition of mining business to entirely private business companies and cooperatives. The Chairman highlighted some of the challenges that face the sector namely amongst others, mineral price fluctuations on the international market, low technical capacities of the main actors and limited access to Finance. He informed the meeting that Rwanda Mining Association in partnership with other stakeholders is establishing initiatives to improve the sector by establishing a strong collaboration framework among the private sector players, relevant government institutions, and other associations for the purpose of value addition. He concluded by urging participants to come on board as Rwanda Mining Association still has room for partnerships with other stakeholders in the region and Africa as a whole in order to set up a strong Public Private Partnership that, he said, will serve to achieve the socio economic development of the Africa Mining Vision.

In his keynote speech on behalf of H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr. Frank Mugyenyi, Senior Industry Advisor for the Department of Trade and Industry of the AUC, pointed out that the so called “Remarkable economic growth rates” and “The rising Africa” did not translate into job creation and poverty reduction and now with the falling commodity prices, Africa is at its crossroads. “The thousands of young Africa men and women migrants and thousands of them perishing in the Mediterranean Sea trying to cross to where they think they can find decent jobs, are not political asylum seekers but economic migrants”, he mentioned. “What can we do about this?” he asked. “The answer is not simple but a must; Africa is re-writing its history and shifting the paradigm of development. Africa is writing its own narrative for development embedded in, social and economic structural transformation, underlined by industrialization that leads to “inclusive growth and sustainable economic development” as articulated in Agenda 2063”, he answered. According to the Senior Industry Advisor, a global Strategy to optimally use Africa’s resources that benefit all Africans is urgently needed for Africa. “Africa cannot afford to have it wrong this time around, there is no room for error and this can only be achieved through broadening partnerships and bringing the private sector on board in policy planning and implementation.” He emphasized. Before he concluded, Mr. Mugyenyi called for proper engagement with the African Private Sector and all the stakeholders along the value chains. He urged participants to work and act together in order to be at the centre of the boom that will be created by Africa’s own demand of manufactured and industrial products as Africa works its way up the ladder of social and economic structural transformation of economies.

The Africa Mining Vision emphasizes the transformative role played by the mineral resource sector in the development milestones of African countries. The AMV compact targets mining companies including oil and gas, Chambers of Mines and other mineral sectors and it is based on principles that can be aligned with corporate core values, policies, strategic plans and mission statements of companies in the extractive sector.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Consultations between the AU and the UN on the DR Congo in Addis Ababa

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The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, met with the AU Facilitator in the Congolese National Dialogue, former Prime Minister of Togo, Mr Edem Kodjo, together with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Ambassador Said Djinnit, and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Maman Sidikou, to exchange views on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The meeting took place within the context of UN Resolution 2277(2016) and the AU – UN strategic partnership.

The discussions centred on how to assist the Congolese stakeholders in their national dialogue through the strengthening of the Facilitation. In this respect, they exchanged views on how to step up their engagements with the various Congolese actors so that the Dialogue can begin in earnest. The meeting therefore called on all political actors in the country to extend their full cooperation to the AU Facilitator, former Prime Minister of Togo, Mr. Edem Kodjo, bearing in mind that there is no alternative to dialogue in confronting the challenges facing their country.

The meeting stressed that the deepening of democracy and the promotion of the rule of law in line with the Congolese Constitution and relevant UN and AU instruments are essential to the preservation of stability and peace in the DR Congo and urged political stakeholders to spare no efforts to avoid any new suffering for the Congolese people.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

The Commissioner for Peace and Security Meets the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

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The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui received the United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Right Honorable Philip Hammond.

The Commissioner thanked the UK Secretary of State for the visit and conveyed the greetings of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. They discussed the latest developments in Libya, Somalia, as well as the issue of sustainable and predictable funding for AU led peace operations. They also exchanged views on the fight against Boko Haram and reaffirmed their commitment to step up efforts in the fight against the scourge of terrorism.

The Commissioner for Peace and Security and the UK Secretary of State expressed their mutual appreciation for the growth and strengthening of the partnership between the AU and the UK. They reiterated the importance for the AU and the UK to maintain close cooperation and coordination in addressing the peace and security challenges on the continent.

The Commissioner thanked the UK for its continued support to the AU’s efforts in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management and peace building and close partnership in the UN Security Council.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

The Commissioner for Peace and Security Meets the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

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The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui received the United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Right Honorable Philip Hammond.

The Commissioner thanked the UK Secretary of State for the visit and conveyed the greetings of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. They discussed the latest developments in Libya, Somalia, as well as the issue of sustainable and predictable funding for AU led peace operations. They also exchanged views on the fight against Boko Haram and reaffirmed their commitment to step up efforts in the fight against the scourge of terrorism.

The Commissioner for Peace and Security and the UK Secretary of State expressed their mutual appreciation for the growth and strengthening of the partnership between the AU and the UK. They reiterated the importance for the AU and the UK to maintain close cooperation and coordination in addressing the peace and security challenges on the continent.

The Commissioner thanked the UK for its continued support to the AU’s efforts in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management and peace building and close partnership in the UN Security Council.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

MCB Equity Fund exits Speedy France

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Mauritius based MCB Equity Fund (http://www.MCB.mu) has successfully exited Speedy, a leading automotive fast-fit services in France. Bridgestone EMEA, a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of tyre and rubber products, has acquired 100% of Speedy, subject to approval by the French regulatory authorities.

Bridgestone will retain the current management team and staff and is expected to use the Speedy platform to expand its European business.

In 2011, MCB Group, a leading banking and financial services provider in East Africa, financed the acquisition of Speedy, a leveraged management buyout transaction, in a blend of debt and equity through its ever green private equity fund, MCB Equity Fund Limited, and its banking arm, MCB Limited.

Since then, the management team has further consolidated Speedy’s market position by building on its network of repair centres, a growing fleet business and customer base, its innovative and client-orientated culture and an enhanced brand image. Today, the company has 480 repair centres across France, half of which are franchisees. Speedy sold 1.2 million tyres last year, accounting for 4.5% of the French market.

The seller was advised by MCB Capital Markets (Selvinah Vydelingum, Rony Lam and Joël Lambert) and Raphaël Financial Advisory.

Pierre Guy Noël, Chief Executive, MCB Group: “This transaction demonstrates MCB’s ability to support complex cross-border transactions and adds to the growing credentials of our Private Equity, advisory and International Banking teams.”

Raoul Gufflet, Deputy Chief Executive, MCB Limited: “This transaction has the merit of bringing a set of pluridisciplinary competences across the MCB Group, from structured financing to corporate advisory and investment banking.”

Joël Lambert, member of the MCB Capital Markets deal team: “This deal demonstrates the ability of MCB Group to structure and execute a leveraged management buy-out in a challenging environment and exit to world class organisations.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB).

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Source:: MCB Equity Fund exits Speedy France

Categories: AFRICA