Oct 272014
 

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, October 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In its recent Investment Policy Review the OECD cited energy in Tanzania as a “critical bottleneck” and that the problem of reliable energy was the top barrier to doing business in Tanzania. This view was echoed during the Tanzania panel at the Africa Energy Forum in Istanbul in June at which TANESCO and EWURA specifically addressed this point. (http://www.energynet.co.uk/fr/event/powering-africa-tanzania)

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/web1_0.png

It’s clear that project developers are keen to participate and that a multitude of funds are available to support them, however developers encounter the stumbling blocks of non-project financeable risk allocation in power purchase agreements and concerns with tariff structures. The issue of how to implement structural reform that would result in, rather than undermine, a streamlined project finance structure in Tanzania, providing predictable investment returns for investors and therefore confidence to funders is therefore hugely important to the market.

Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) has published an Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap for 2014 to 2025 (the Roadmap). The Roadmap seeks to respond to private sector concerns with its key focal points being TANESCO operational and financial transformation, strengthening of the governance and performance of the sector and attracting private investment. The Roadmap has attracted headlines due to its reference that the proposed reform would involve investment of US$11.4 billion (US$1.9 billion per annum) of which 73.5% is allocated towards generation. Further, the Roadmap acknowledges that such funds cannot be raised by Government of Tanzania (GoT) and development funds alone, and therefore that private sector involvement is required, particularly in respect of generation. This reference has been accompanied by clear statements of recognition across the GoT energy sector that private sector involvement is required and that such involvement entails credible financial and institutional reform.

Following the recommendations in a series of external consultants’ reports, the Roadmap proposes the staged unbundling of TANESCO, provision for TANESCO paying off its current debts, and the retirement of costly emergency power producers (EPPs).

The Roadmap takes the long term view, focussing on an increase in installed power capacity to at least 10,000 MW by 2025, at which point the phased unbundling of TANESCO would be completed. The time periods are broken down into immediate term, short term, medium term and long term. In terms of structure, the electricity sector is set to transition from the current integrated monopoly model through to a single buyer model (with a separate state generation company and distribution companies), and thereafter to a retail competition model which should ensure competition and cost efficiency.

We are currently in the immediate term (which expires in June 2015), and during this period can expect to see, amongst other reforms, establishment of a task force to monitor the implementation of the Road Map, a transition and change management team at TANESCO to manage the reform process, ring-fencing of TANESCO into strategic business units, valuation of TANESCO’s assets and liabilities, a human capital needs assessment, retirement of EPPs upon expiry of their contracts and development of a technology based standard power purchase agreement.

TANESCO’s indebtedness is to be fixed by improvement of debt collection, prepaid revenue collection – the mass roll out of LUKU prepaid meters, including at governmental institutions – and the recent 39.92% retail tariff increase to ensure a cost-effective base. This is expected to enable TANESCO to pay its EPP and IPP creditors in the near term, with the further assistance of funds being drawn down through World Bank and AfDB disbursements.

The Roadmap states GoT will review the existing regulatory framework to create necessary conditions for participation of the private sector. Under the current legislative framework GoT is only permitted to guarantee TANESCO’s liabilities in respect of its borrowings; it does not cover unpaid amounts under power purchase agreements. It was anticipated that the Public Private Partnership Act would deal with this, but this remains under development. Until these challenges are addressed and a strong track record for supporting IPPs is realised, developers will need robust additional support from GoT to really push investment forward.

The Roadmap nods to the diversification of energy sources, and in particular envisages large increases in gas and coal at 3,968MW and 2,900MW of additional capacity respectively. As for renewables, 200MW of wind, 100MW of solar and 200MW of geothermal are contemplated. The point was well made by a renewables developer at the Africa Energy Forum that – as many of TANESCO’s problems were caused by the dire effect of climate change on East Africa’s previously predictable rainy seasons curtailing output of hydropower plants – it is right that renewable power is a strong feature of Tanzania’s proposed energy portfolio.

The role of the regulator, EWURA, will be unchanged during the unbundling process except for naturally transitioning its realm of responsibility to cover the proposed unbundled entities and preparing the necessary licensing regime and other documentation to support the Roadmap. However, we note that EWURA’s role on the proposed REFIT policy is not specifically mentioned in the Roadmap, and the position of this policy within the energy sector must not be forgotten. The Rural Energy Agency will also continue its role in facilitating installation and maintenance of rural grids and has similarly unveiled its strategy in this respect.

From Norton Rose Fulbright’s engagement with the private sector and stakeholders, what they wish to see going forward are mechanisms to back up the Roadmap, together with a clear statement of mid to long term changes. The Roadmap is encouraging in stating that GoT is committed to ensuring its timely implementation, and also recognises that delays in improving TANESCO’s financial performance would jeopardise reform.

Furthermore the Roadmap’s reference to increased communication and participation by MEM and TANESCO at conferences is encouraging – they were part of a key session at the Africa Energy Forum in Istanbul and indeed it is anticipated that they will have a strong presence at the upcoming EnergyNet Powering Africa: Tanzania meeting this November 13-14 in Dar Es Salaam.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of EnergyNet Ltd.

For more information please contact:

Amy Offord | Senior Marketing Executive

EnergyNet Ltd.

Tel +44 20 7384 8068

Amy.Offord@energynet.co.uk

About EnergyNet:

EnergyNet Ltd. organise a global portfolio of investment meetings, conferences and infrastructure events focused specifically on the power and industrial sectors across Africa.

Proven to engage the decision makers and technical directors behind Africa’s most exciting economies, Energynet places economic development at the heart of industrial solutions, helping to generate a more stable and viable investment option for organisation in Africa. We challenge the way businesses work in Africa; the information we provide isn’t available on the internet and isn’t out of a dusty old textbook.

What we do:

EnergyNet delivers local strategies, local content and local insights for global businesses.

We listen to stakeholders from both the public and private sectors so that we can react better to the changing investment climates around the world.

Trust and confidence shape our relationships and we appreciate that we often represent major corporations globally and their brands. The responsibility of caring for each of our clients’ brands is something that we take very seriously.

How can Energynet support your P&L and help limit your risk:

EnergyNet works with governments, energy and infrastructure ministries and national utilities across Africa. We work with our partners to understand their strategic needs and bring together solution providers to support those goals.

We focus on core industry providers including private power developers, investment banks and DFIs, Lawyers, credible consultants, EPCs and immediate power providers to support contract delivery and project success.

Oct 272014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Guinea’s record on women’s rights will be examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Thursday 30 October 2014 in meetings that will be webcast live. Guinea is one of the 188 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and is required to submit regular reports to the Committee of 23 independent experts on how it is implementing the Convention.

Among the issues likely to be discussed by the Committee and the delegation of the government of Guinea are: impunity for rape and other sexual violence committed on 28 September 2009; safety and protection for victims of sexual violence and witnesses; measures to end harmful practices including early and forced marriages, FGM; progress in prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence committed between 2007 and 2010; high rate of maternal mortality; obstacles to girls’ access to education.

Location: Room XVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Time and date: 10:00 – 17:00 (08:00 – 15:00 in Conakry) on 30 October

The webcast of the session will be at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Guinea’s report and a full list of issues that are likely to come up can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=816&Lang=en

A news conference is scheduled for 7 November at 13:30, Palais des Nations, to discuss CEDAW’s concluding observations on Guinea and the other countries being reviewed – Venezuela; Poland; China, China (Hong Kong) and China (Macao); Ghana; Belgium; Brunei Darussalam; and Solomon Islands. The concluding observations will be published on 7 November here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=816&Lang=en

 Uncategorized
Oct 272014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Leaders of global and regional institutions today begin an historic trip to the Horn of Africa to pledge political support and major new financial assistance for countries in the region, totaling more than $8 billion over the coming years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World Bank Group (WBG) President, Jim Yong Kim, as well as the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group and high level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) are combining forces to promote stability and development in the Horn of Africa.

On the first day of the joint trip, the World Bank Group announced a major new financial pledge of $1.8 billion for cross-border activities in a Horn of Africa Initiative that will boost economic growth and opportunity, reduce poverty, and spur business activity.

The initiative covers the eight countries in the Horn of Africa — Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

“This new financing represents a major new opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa to make sure they get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, and jobs,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “There is greater opportunity now for the Horn of Africa to break free from its cycles of drought, food insecurity, water insecurity, and conflict by building up regional security, generating a peace dividend, especially among young women and men, and spurring more cross-border cooperation.”

Leading the trip to the Horn of Africa, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said “The countries of the Horn of Africa are making important yet unheralded progress in economic growth and political stability. Now is a crucial moment to support those efforts, end the cycles of conflict and poverty, and move from fragility to sustainability. The United Nations is joining with other global and regional leaders to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach towards peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa.”

The European Union also announced that it would support the countries in the region with a total of around $3.7 billion until 2020, of which about 10 percent would be for cross-border activities; the African Development Bank announced a pledge of $1.8 billion over the next three years for countries of the Horn of Africa region; while the Islamic Development Bank committed to deploy up to $1 billion in new financing in its four member countries in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda).

The Horn is diverse, with some of the fastest growing economies and huge untapped natural resources. However, it also has many extraordinarily poor people and populations that are now doubling every 23 years. Unemployment is widespread among growing numbers of young people. Women, in particular, face huge obstacles because of their gender, including limited land rights, limited education, and social customs that often thwart their ability to pursue economic opportunity, and improve living conditions for their families and communities.

Countries in the region are also vulnerable to corruption, piracy, arms and drug trafficking. Terrorism, and related money flows are significant and interconnected threats in the Horn of Africa. People-trafficking is also a growing problem in the region. However, there are commendable efforts being made through regional cooperation in parts of the Horn to tackle the root causes of these problems.

The new financing announcement will support those efforts and comes on the first day of the trip led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to discuss peace, security, and resilience. In addition to the UN Secretary-General, other leaders making the trip are World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; Islamic Development Bank Group President Ahmad Mohamed Ali; African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha; Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim; African Development Bank Group Special Advisor to the President, Youssouf Ouedraogo; Deputy Director General for Development and Cooperation, European Commission, Marcus Cornaro and European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos.

The World Bank Group said its new $1.8 billion packaging, which is in addition to its existing development programs for the eight countries, would create more economic opportunity throughout the region for some of the most vulnerable peoples, including refugees and internally displaced populations and their host communities. Wars and instability have generated more than 2.7 million refugees along with over 6 million internally displaced people. The Bank Group will also help the region build up its communicable disease surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment capacity.

Many of these diseases are associated with or exacerbated by poverty, displacement, malnutrition, illiteracy, and poor sanitation and housing. Increased cross-border trade and economic activity in the Horn of Africa will necessitate simultaneous investments in strengthening disease control efforts and outbreak preparedness.

The Bank Group will also support greater regional links between countries with regional transport routes, stronger ICT and broadband connectivity, more competitive private sector markets, increased cross-border trade, regional development of oil and gas through pipeline development, and the expansion of university and other tertiary education.

The Bank Group’s pledge includes $600 million from the IFC, its private sector arm, which will support economic development in the countries of the Horn. IFC investments under the new Horn Initiative will include a regional pipeline linking Uganda and Kenya; greater investment in agribusiness expansion in storage, processing, and seeds; possible public-private partnerships in pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and transport; and financial advice and support to government and companies to improve business confidence and investment, access to markets, and access to private finance. Another $200 million is for guarantees against political risks from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

A new World Bank Group paper forecasts that the Horn will undergo dramatic and lasting change when oil production starts in Kenya, Uganda, and possibly Somalia and Ethiopia.

For its part, the European Union’s Horn of Africa approach is based on a strategic framework adopted in 2011. Support programs for 2014-2020 will be guided by the same analysis that underpins the World Bank’s Horn of Africa Initiative and will focus on the development challenges that must be tackled to unlock the region’s considerable potential. EU support will mostly target the three pillars of the Horn of Africa Initiative: boosting growth, reducing poverty by promoting resilience, and creating economic opportunities.

“The EU stands ready to further deepen its long-standing partnership with the Horn of Africa – helping to build robust and accountable political structures, enhancing trade and economic cooperation, financing peace keeping activities and providing humanitarian assistance and development cooperation,” said European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs prior to the trip.

Other leaders on the trip said that the Horn of Africa region needs new development assistance in order to secure peace and opportunity to thrive and prevent future conflicts.

The Islamic Development Bank Group said its new financing for Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda over 2015-2017 would focus on critical infrastructure development, food security, human development, and trade. A further $2 billion could be provided by the Arab Coordination Group over the same period.

Commenting on this announcement, Islamic Development Bank Group President Ahmad Mohamed Ali said “The Horn of Africa is an important gateway to Africa and a bridge to Western Asia. Bringing stability and sustainable development to the Horn of Africa will undoubtedly significantly contribute to stability across the entire African continent. The Islamic Development Bank Group salutes this renewed focus on the Horn of Africa and stands ready to work with all partners, including the Arab Coordination Group, to support regional cooperation and the economic revival of the Horn of Africa, especially in its four member countries.”

“Given the complexity of the environment prevailing in the region, we must convince ourselves that it is not the financial means that will win in the Horn of Africa region, but our commitment and determination to act under the leadership of the countries in a united and coordinated manner,” said African Development Bank Group Representative, Youssouf Ouedraogo, Special Advisor to the President.

African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, added, “Our efforts to create peace and stability must be reinforced by investments in the peoples and countries of the Horn.”

A new WBG regional study on the Horn of Africa released today at the start of the trip found reasons for hope for the region: “Despite the challenges the Horn of Africa faces, there are encouraging signs of political momentum for enhanced regional economic interdependence. Increasingly, Horn of Africa countries are members of the East African Community, IGAD in Eastern Africa, and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa. Some countries are showing strong political will to solve both security and development issues through increased cooperation—for example, many have sent troops to participate in peace-keeping efforts and have participated in diplomatic initiatives.”

“This mission is the apex of an ambitious partnership approach that will provide the necessary instruments to strengthen the resilience agenda in the IGAD region,” said IGAD Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim.

Oct 272014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, October 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement on today’s parliamentary election in Tunisia:

“Canada congratulates Tunisia on the historic parliamentary election held today. For the first time since the adoption of a new constitution, millions of Tunisians exercised their democratic right to vote in free and credible elections.

“Tunisians have demonstrated diligence, determination and perseverance throughout their country’s transition to democracy. Canada commends the Tunisian authorities, and in particular the Independent High Authority for Elections, for their role in ensuring that the election process was carried out in a credible and transparent manner.

“I was also very pleased with Canada’s contribution to the deployment of domestic and international elections observers.

“Tunisia is a valued partner for Canada on a number of fronts, from the economic to the diplomatic, from the security to the educational. Our two countries share commitments not just to democracy, pluralism and human rights, but also to sustainable economic growth, women’s empowerment, the fight against violent extremism and the promotion of education opportunities for young people.”

Oct 272014
 

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate the people of Tunisia on the democratic election of a new parliament – an important milestone in Tunisia’s historic political transition. In casting their ballots today, Tunisians continued to inspire people across their region and around the world, as they did during Tunisia’s 2011 revolution and with the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year. Tunisia’s example reminds us all that dialogue, consensus-building, political pluralism, and peaceful assembly help form the bedrock of democracy. The United States reaffirms its commitment to supporting democracy in Tunisia, to our continued friendship with the people of Tunisia, and to partnering with the next government as it works to promote economic opportunity, protect freedom, and ensure security for all Tunisians.

Oct 262014
 

Plano, TX, October 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Rovia™ (http://www.rovia.com) has been recognized as both “North America’s Leading Travel Agency” and “United States’ Leading Travel Agency” for 2014 by World Travel Awards (WTA)—two additional WTA awards for the company this year. The WTA Caribbean & North America’s winners were announced on Sunday, October 26.

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

Logo United States’ Leading Travel Agency: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/1410262.jpg

Logo North America’s Leading Travel Agency: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/1410261.jpg

Earlier this month, Rovia was also recognized as Asia’s “Leading Online Travel Agency for 2014.” In addition, the company received two nominations last year. At Rovia, customers are assured access to advanced technology that includes an award-winning booking engine and the best trip value for the price.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as North America’s Leading Travel Agency and United States’ Leading Travel Agency two weeks after Rovia was named Asia’s Leading Online Travel Agency,” Rovia President Mike Putman said. “We’re grateful that the travel industry and loyal customers around the world find our product and service worthy of such notable rewards.”

World Travel Awards, celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, recognizes brands that push the boundaries of industry excellence. Their program is highly comprehensive, honoring several industry segments such as “Airlines and Airports,” “Hotels and Resorts,” “Meetings and Conventions” and “Travel Technology.”

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

For inquiries, contact:

Laura Wards

Email: press@rovia.com

About Rovia: Rovia is an award-winning online travel company with offices in South Carolina and Texas. With almost 30 years of experience in the travel industry, Rovia is quickly becoming the largest provider of curated group travel experiences in the world. The company annually produces and manages hundreds of unique prepackaged experiences for groups numbering from a few dozen to a few thousand.

Oct 262014
 

Plano, TX, October 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DreamTrips™ vacation club (https://www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more), one of the world’s leading travel and vacation club membership organizations, was recognized as “North America’s Leading Travel Club” for 2014 as part of the World Travel Awards (WTA)—the fourth WTA regional award for the travel club this year. The WTA Caribbean & North America’s winners were announced on Sunday, October 26.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/141026.jpg

The award acknowledges DreamTrips’ outstanding travel club excellence in North America within the last twelve months. Industry leaders identified DreamTrips for remarkable service and product offerings. Nominees in other North America travel categories included American Airlines, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Québec, Adventures by Disney and Avis.

“It’s an exceptional privilege for DreamTrips to receive its fourth regional World Travel Award,” WorldVentures Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Wayne Nugent said. “Rovia, our travel agency partner, is also our partner for this success. This sequence of awards reflects our peers’ recognition of DreamTrips’ distinguished travel experiences. We value greatly the travel industry’s confidence in our product.”

Since 1993, WTA has acknowledged and celebrated excellence across all sectors of the global tourism industry. Last year, DreamTrips was named “World’s Leading Travel Club” at the 2013 WTA Grand Finals. The annual Grand Tour visited Dubai, Greece and Ecuador earlier this year, and will arrive in Morocco for the Grand Finals in November.

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

For inquiries, contact:

Laura Wards

Email: press@worldventures.com

About DreamTrips

DreamTrips delivers high-quality, one-of-a-kind curated travel and vacation experiences to its vacation club members. More information can be found at

www.dreamtrips.com/experience-more.

About World Travel Awards

The World Travel Awards was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 21st anniversary, it is regarded as the highest achievement a travel product or service could hope to receive. More information can be found at www.worldtravelawards.com.

Oct 262014
 

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Official Rejoinder: Guinness Record Fight: Nexim Bank Frustrates my Ambition, says Bash Ali

The above refers.

The attention of the Board, Management and staff of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) (http://neximbank.com.ng) have been drawn to recent publications in some national dailies, notably Leadership Newspaper of Tuesday 21st October, 2014 at page 54; Nigerian Pilot Newspaper of Monday 20th October, 2014 at page 55 and The Nation Newspaper of Monday 20th October 2014 at page 53, Leadership Newspaper of Wednesday 23rd October, 2014 at page 52 respectively.

Logo NEXIM: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/nexim.png

1. The said publications came under different captions as ‘’Bash Ali to Jonathan: save my vision”; ‘’Why my Guinness World Record fight is stalled”; and the loudest being ‘’Guinness Record Fight: Nexim Bank Frustrates my Ambition, says Bash Ali.” Ordinarily, NEXIM Bank would have ignored the content of the said publications considering the source of the news, Bash Ali, but for the need to set the records straight and correct the negative and misleading impressions.

2. It is recalled that a letter dated 19th December 2013, titled, “APPOINTMENT INTO THE LOCAL ORGANISING COMMITTEE OF BASH ALI’S WORLD GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORD FIGHT PROJECT”, purportedly signed by Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Ojoba for the then Chairman of the National Sports Commission and Minister of Sports was sent to NEXIM Bank requesting its membership in a Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the boxing tournament. Under Paragraph 2 of the letter, it was categorically and specifically stated that, “The Commission has fully identified with this course (sic) and felt that it should be a private organisation driven project with Government providing enabling environment.

3. As a responsible corporate citizen and under its corporate social responsibility tenets, the Bank accepted the nomination and on 7th January 2014 sent a representative to the inaugural meeting of the LOC which was made up of Private and Public Sector Agencies and Organisations. Unbeknownst to the Bank, Bash Ali had previously turned himself into a national nuisance and embarrassment by laying siege at the Police Headquarters and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) national secretariat in Abuja at various times.

4. Soon after the inaugural meeting, Bash Ali and his cohorts began sending very uncomplimentary text messages to the Executive Management and making incessant demands for an immediate release of a $1,000,000.00 [one million dollars] to him personally as mandatory payment for the boxing competition. According to Bash Ali, Mr President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR had ‘directed’ the Bank to release the said sum to him personally, even though the Bank severally demanded for a copy of the purported Presidential directive which he was never able to produce.

5. It is instructive to state that NEXIM Bank is the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria. It is owned wholly by the Government and reports to its two Shareholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI) with the lawful mandate to promote and provide credit facilities and guarantees to export-oriented investors in the non-oil sectors of Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals, and Services. Pursuant to this mandate, NEXIM Bank does not finance boxing or other sports competitions.

6. The Bank repeatedly made its position known to Bash Ali that in line with its mandate, NEXIM does not FINANCE sports activities. Notwithstanding this explanation, Bash Ali did not relent but decided to adopt every means to extort the $1, 000,000. 00 from the Bank. These means included, but were not restricted to continual verbal abuses, plethora of slanderous and malicious phone calls and text messages to senior officers of the Bank, barricade of the access road to the Bank’s Head office at the Central Business District at various times, harassments, etc. Specifically, on 6th May, 2014, which was the eve of the World Economic Forum for Africa (WEFA) held in Abuja from 7 – 9th of May 2014, Bash Ali laid siege at the Bank’s premises in company of some vicious thugs and rough heads, and numerous pressmen and blocked the access road to the Bank. For NEXIM, as the Trade Policy Bank of the nation, the timing of this particular barricade was most painful and embarrassing as it prevented our counterparts from other Export Credit Agencies (ECAs who were in Abuja for the WEFA from accessing the Bank’s premises. This was clearly a deliberate act of economic sabotage embarked upon by Bash Ali as the Bank was prevented from holding all the prearranged meetings centred on attracting investment capital into the Nigerian economy.

7. The critical question and general concern have remained why Bash Ali would choose to picket and blackmail NEXIM out of the numerous other members of the LOC, which include, but not limited to “…a representative of Chief of Staff to Mr President, a representative of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, a representative of Glo Nigeria Limited, a representative of Bank of Industry, a representative of Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria, a representative of the National Sports Commission, a representative of African Independent Television, a representative of Nigerian Television Authority, a representative of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, a representative of Bash Ali Boxing Project, a representative of Nigerian Boxing Board of Control, a Secretary and Assistant to be nominated by the LOC.”

8. Without abatement, for months on end, Bash Ali continued barricading the access road to the Bank, refusing both staff n, clients, customers as well as other occupants of the building to enter the premises at any time of his choosing. This was without any regard that such acts of impunity could easily compromise the personal security of the Bank, its staff, its tenants which include a commercial bank amongst others; and most of all that he was deliberately costing the Bank its business when he avowed that his mission was to bring the Bank and its business down.

9. NEXIM, being a very responsible corporate citizen, lodged formal complaints with all the relevant security agencies. Despite the intervention of the security agencies at various times, Bash Ali’s did not refrain from his obnoxious and reprehensible conducts. Rather he became even more emboldened, and most brazenly, continued his onslaught against the Bank often with a pre-arranged media presence; continued with his midnight/early morning phone calls and sending of very uncomplimentary messages to top Management Staff, including the Managing Director. This trend continued till Wednesday, October 8, 2014, when he once again arrived the premises of the Bank with his thugs and pressmen and used a truck to block the single entrance to the Bank and completely prevented movement in or out of NEXIM premises causing a heavy traffic jam on the way intersecting the access road. This warranted the direct intervention of the Police to curb the public nuisance and the commotion emanating therefrom. Bash Ali was then arrested and charged to Court by the Police on Thursday, October 9, 2014 where he was subsequently admitted to bail but with a stern warning against further acts of harassment and intimidation of NEXIM Bank and Staff. Presently, the matter is at the Senior Magistrates’ Court, in Abuja.

10. We hereby categorically state that there is no iota of truth whatsoever in all the allegations levelled against the Bank by Bash Ali; these allegations are spurious and are merely designed to serve a singular purpose, namely to distort the facts and cast the Bank and its Management in a very bad light, disrupt its business, and by extension embarrass the country and cast it in a negative light internationally.

11. While we challenge Bash Ali to provide public evidence of the ‘’official” who made such a demand on him, we urge our stakeholders and the general public to ignore these baseless allegations as lacking in substance and proof, even as we call on the relevant agencies to investigate Bash Ali for his unpatriotic acts in levelling such weighty, reckless and costly allegations against the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria and for maligning the name of Mr. President.

12. In the absence of such concrete evidence and proof, we will instruct our lawyers to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion through the judicial process.

Signed,

MANAGEMENT: NIGERIAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).

Oct 242014
 

NEW YORK, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR VALERIE AMOS TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICA

WHO: Valerie Amos, Emergency Relief Coordinator and United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affai…

Oct 242014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The World Health Organization convened a meeting with high-ranking government representatives from Ebola-affected countries and development partners, civil society, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers and funding agencies yesterday to discuss and agree on how to fast track testing and deployment of vaccines in sufficient numbers to impact the Ebola epidemic.

Key consensus commitments achieved during the meeting include:

• Results from phase 1 clinical trials of most advanced vaccines are expected to be available in December 2014 and efficacy trials in affected countries also will begin in this timeframe, with protocols adapted to take into consideration safety and immunogenicity results as they become available.

• Pharmaceutical companies developing the vaccines committed to ramp up production capacity for millions of doses to be available in 2015, with several hundred thousand ready before the end of the first half of the year. Regulatory authorities in countries where the vaccines are manufactured and in Africa committed to supporting this goal by working under extremely short deadlines.

• Community engagement is key and work should be scaled up urgently in partnership between local communities, national governments, NGOs and international organizations.

WHO was called upon by all parties to ensure coordination between the various actors.

Vaccines may have a major impact on further evolution of the epidemic. All parties are working together to finalize the most rapid approach for developing and distributing vaccines, including direct engagement with affected communities, so that effective treatments and prevention methods are embraced and shared far and wide by the most effective ambassadors, the communities themselves.

Trials of vaccines have already begun in the U.S., U.K., and Mali, and are beginning in Gabon, Germany, Kenya and Switzerland to determine safety, dosing and efficacy.

“As we accelerate in a matter of weeks a process that typically takes years, we are ensuring that safety remains the top priority, with production speed and capacity a close second,“ says Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director general of health systems and innovation.

As next steps, the WHO Director-General will be working with groups to advance vaccines’ trials and deployment in the most expeditious manner possible.

Meeting participants included high-ranking officials from the ministries for health and of foreign affairs from Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Guinea, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America; representatives from SAGE, the African Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries, the European Investment Bank, the European Medicines Agency, the GAVI Alliance, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, the Paul Erlich Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Bank; and executives from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, Merck Vaccines, and New Link Genetics.

Oct 242014
 

PARIS, France, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Quai d’Orsay – French official statements (Paris, October 24, 2014)

The French judicial delegation’s visit to Algeria took place under satisfactory conditions. We would like to than…

Oct 242014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has secured a €1 billion (£800 million) funding pledge at the European Council meetings in Brussels, following a call for European leaders to do more to fight the disease in West Africa.

As part of the commitment, the UK has boosted its own response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa by £80 million, bringing its total contribution to more than £200 million.

The Prime Minister wrote to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and fellow leaders last week to warn of the need to act fast to contain and defeat this deadly virus, stating that “if we do not significantly step up our collective response now, the loss of life and damage to the political, economic and social fabric of the region will be substantial and the threat posed to our citizens will also grow.” The Prime Minister set out that the immediate priority was to raise contributions from the EU and its member states to €1 billion in total, which has now been achieved.

Britain’s own redoubled efforts to fight Ebola follow a visit to Sierra Leone by International Development Secretary Justine Greening to see the results of Britain’s first tranche of support and identify next steps in the UK’s international work.

The additional £80 million will increase the number of burial units and support the creation of up to 200 community care centres across the country. Together these measures will promote early diagnosis, isolation and treatment and so reduce the risk of the infection spreading.

David Cameron said:

“Ebola is one of the worst public health emergencies we have faced in a generation. I have been absolutely determined that Britain, with other countries, will lead the way in dealing with this.

“Not only should we feel a moral obligation as a wealthy country to help, but also because Ebola directly threatens both our national interests and people in the United Kingdom.

“That is why Britain has pledged over £205 million and has British troops and health workers going to West Africa.

“I said I wanted to come to this European Council and get other countries in the European Union to more than double the EU effort, to get a billion Euros committed.

“That is what we have achieved.”

Justine Greening said:

“Visiting Sierra Leone was a chance to see the results we are already achieving in our fight against Ebola. This includes the heroic efforts of British medics, soldiers and humanitarian workers, as well as Sierra Leoneans who are volunteering in their thousands to be trained as healthcare and burial workers.

“Being on the ground also gave me a clear sense of what is needed in the next phase of our work, and the steps we must take to ensure our efforts match the scale of the crisis the country is facing.

“Britain is determined to stand with the people of Sierra Leone as they battle Ebola.”

The additional support announced today includes the following:

£10 million to ensure safe burials

This funding will include support for the important work of the burial teams run by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC). Ten teams are already fully operational and the IFRC have begun recruitment to increase their capacity. It will also support NGOs in their work to help the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health in promoting behaviour change activities to ensure safe burial practices.

£50 million to diagnose and isolate Ebola cases

Early isolation of Ebola patients is essential to halting the spread of infection to others. This support will cover the staffing and running costs, as well medical supplies and protective equipment, for local diagnosis and care centres already being piloted across Sierra Leone – and enable the construction of up to 200 centres over the next three months. This will ensure thousands of patients across Sierra Leone receive a swift diagnosis and provide the isolation facilities needed to reduce the spread of the outbreak.

£20 million contribution to the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund

This will ensure the UN has the resources needed to significantly step up their contribution to the Ebola effort in Sierra Leone and gives us a strong platform to lobby other countries to contribute to the global effort.

Ms Greening’s recent visit was also an opportunity to thank the British heroes who have travelled to Sierra Leone to fight this disease, including humanitarian aid workers, medics, government officials and military personnel, all of whom are playing a crucial role in Britain’s response.

Notes to editors

• Current estimates suggest that the rate of infection stands at 1.7, meaning for every ten people who contract Ebola, 17 more will become infected. However, if infected people are isolated quickly after they contract the disease, they are much less likely to pass it on to their families and communities.