On the Occasion of the Republic of Namibia’s National Day

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 20, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the citizens of Namibia as they celebrate 25 years of independence on March 21.

Namibia’s pursuit of democratic principles and economic prosperity stands as an example to the region. As a friend and partner, the United States is proud of the work our two countries are doing to fight HIV/AIDS, promote education, and ensure environmental conservation. We will continue to seek new ways of partnering with Namibia to create peace and prosperity.

As you celebrate the Silver Jubilee of your independence, I offer warmest wishes to all Namibians in the year ahead.

Source:: On the Occasion of the Republic of Namibia’s National Day

Categories: African Press Organization

JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire expands its operations

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, March 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — JUMIA (https://www.jumia.ci) continues its rapid expansion with the opening of six new hubs in Cote d’Ivoire in the cities of Yamoussoukro, Bouaké, San Pedro, Daloa, Gagnoa, and Korogho. Jumia intends to achieve its goal to revolutionize the shopping habits of all Ivorians.

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

The new JUMIA hubs will enable the e-commerce leader to satisfy an exponentially growing customer base throughout the country. They mark the beginning of an expansion strategy, which aims to continuously improve the online shopping experience by enhancing proximity.

Activated this month, the hubs of Yamoussoukro, Bouaké and San Pedro already allow to serve more effectively, three of the most important regions of the country. Several hubs are planned to open in the upcoming weeks in the following areas: Daloa and Gagnoa in the western central region, Korogho in the north and other cities to come. Shortly, new hubs will also open within the vicinity of Abidjan, in the districts of Yopougon and Treichville.

Francis Dufay, CEO of JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire expressed a lot of satisfaction alleging “This is the proof of our commitment to offer the finest products at the best price, especially with the best service throughout Côte d’Ivoire. Jumia aims to successfully meet the expectations of inland populations, and we already have very good feedbacks on the newly opened branches. The plan is to bring to 8 the total number of Jumia branches in the country by the end of the second quarter.”

JUMIA hubs are service points where customers can pick items ordered online. They will be warmly welcomed by JUMIA specially trained agents to advise them and answer all their queries. Service points promote a physical closeness with customers as well as the creation of a strong and close relationship.

Exceptionally, to celebrate the openings, all deliveries inside the country are free of charge during the month of March. The JUMIA hubs are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Saturdays from 8:30 to 6pm.

 Abidjan Central Hub: MTN Flagship Store in Plateau.

 Yamoussoukro: MTN branch at the entrance of the city.

 Bouaké: Quartier commerce, Afram Building.

 San Pedro: market of the city, opposite to the new prefecture of police.

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

Contact Us

SHERYN TOIFL

HEAD OF PR & COMMUNICATIONS—JUMIA COTE D’IVOIRE

Email : sheryn.toifl@jumia.ci

WILFRIED ASSOUAN

PR ASSOCIATE—JUMIA COTE D’IVOIRE

Email : wilfried.assouan@jumia.ci

About JUMIA

JUMIA (https://www.jumia.ci) is Africa’s leading online shopping destination. Customers across the continent can shop amongst the widest assortment of high quality products at affordable prices – offering everything from fashion, consumer electronics, home appliances to beauty products. Jumia was the first African company to win an award at the World Retail Awards 2013 in Paris as the “Best New Retail Launch” of the year.

About AIG

Africa Internet Group (http://africainternetgroup.com) introduces and accelerates the online shift in Africa – for its people and its culture. It is committed to running successful and vibrant internet companies which boost the evolution of African online culture. AIG is the parent group of eleven successful and fast-growing companies in more than 26 African countries, accounting for over 3500 staff. AIG cares about entrepreneurship and brings together all the key elements required to build great companies: team, concept, technology and capital. Its network of companies includes JUMIA, Kaymu, Hellofood, Lamudi, Carmudi, Zando, Jovago, Lendico, Easy Taxi, Everjobs, and AIG Express.

Source:: JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire expands its operations

Categories: African Press Organization

WFP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VISITS SOUTH SUDAN

JUBA, South Sudan, March 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, accompanied by the United States Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome, David Lane, will make a three-day trip to South Sudan from today.

Ms. Cousin and Ambassador Lane are visiting to get an update on the troubling food security situation and to raise awareness of the plight of civilians affected by conflict in the young nation. An estimated 2.5 million people are facing acute hunger, unsure of where their next meal is coming from.

Conflict erupted in South Sudan in late 2013 and has displaced 2 million people, disrupted livelihoods and sharply worsened levels of hunger and malnutrition. WFP fears that food insecurity will only get worse as we move into the lean season without an end to the conflict in sight.

Over the next three days, the WFP Executive Director and the US Ambassador will meet national and local officials, and families directly affected by the conflict.

WFP aims to assist 3 million people in South Sudan this year, including life-saving emergency assistance for the conflict-affected, nutrition support for mothers and children, food assistance for refugees, school meals, and asset-creation initiatives aimed at helping communities improve their food security and resilience.

Ms. Cousin will hold a media briefing before departing on Sunday.

Source:: WFP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VISITS SOUTH SUDAN

Categories: African Press Organization

IMF Staff Concludes Review Mission to Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina-Faso, March 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ms. Laure Redifer, visited Ouagadougou from March 5-19, 2015 to carry out discussions with the Burkinabè authorities on the second and third reviews of their economic and financial program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).1 The ECF arrangement for Burkina Faso was approved by the IMF Executive Board on December 27, 2013 (see Press Release No. 13/542).

Ms. Redifer issued the following statement at the end of the visit:

“The mission reached ad referendum agreement with the authorities on economic and financial policies that could support approval of the second and third reviews of Burkina Faso’s 3-year program under the ECF, which is planned to be considered by the IMF’s Executive Board in May.

“In spite of a difficult economic environment, the transition government is implementing sound macroeconomic policies and preparing the country for elections in October, 2015. Economic activity in Burkina Faso slowed markedly over the course of 2014, with real GDP growth estimated at 4 percent, compared with a five-year historical average of 6.5 percent. This was the result of multiple external shocks and internal sociopolitical developments. International prices for the country’s two main export commodities – gold and cotton – dropped, and tourism and services activities were significantly disrupted by the Ebola crisis elsewhere in the region. Economic activity was also affected by a climate of political uncertainty, which culminated in a socio-political crisis in late October that resulted in a change of government. Meanwhile, inflation declined due to food prices, partly as a result of government subsidy programs.

“These developments caused a large drop in fiscal revenues in 2014, which ended the year at just 80 percent of budget projections. This, plus increases in the public wage bill, obliged a sharp reduction in public investment spending, undermining implementation of the government’s Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Durable Development (SCADD).

“For 2015, these trends are expected to continue, with the compounded effect of exchange rate depreciation increasing import costs. Mining production is expected to decrease in 2015, with some mines ending operations, and delays in new investment. Mining production and revenues are expected to remain far below the boom years of 2012-2013. Similarly, cotton output is expected to drop in 2015, as a result of less cultivation following a fall in international prices in 2014. Important steps are being taken to increase productivity in the cotton sector, which is a main source of rural employment and income.

“Overall, real GDP growth in 2015 is expected to be around 5 percent, lower than previous projections of 7 percent. This will again lead to difficulties in mobilizing sufficient revenues to support investment spending needs. However, the authorities have sought extensive cost-cutting measures in current spending (for example travel and per diems for public servants) to finance an increase in spending for poverty reduction (0.4 percent of GDP), including for health, education, and job creation for women and youth. Moreover, they will continue to replenish food security stocks.

“In late 2014, lower international fuel prices began to reverse some of the long-accrued financial losses of the state-owned oil importing company, Société Nationale Burkinabè d’Hydrocarbures (SONABHY), resulting from fixed retail prices and an elevated cost structure. The transition government lowered retail fuel prices in January and in March. However, at current international fuel prices and with strong depreciation of the CFA in recent weeks, there is no room for further reductions of retail fuel prices without creating losses for SONABHY.

“Building on the success of recent reforms, the authorities committed to numerous immediate measures to boost revenues and combat fraud, in light of the need to boost revenues in the short term. Additionally, measures to improve treasury management, and enhance statistics on economic activity, and contain increases in the public wage bill were also agreed. Following audits of the public state-owned oil importer SONABHY and electricity company Société nationale d’électricité du Burkina (SONABEL), the transition agreed to include in the program medium term reforms that can reduce underlying costs of the two public entities and regularize their financial transactions with the central government. Lowering underlying costs will ultimately provide more scope for improving cost recovery through more flexible prices. These substantial reforms underscore the transition government’s commitment to successfully lead the country to the October elections while implementing sustainable macroeconomic policies.

“For 2016 and the medium term, GDP growth is projected to recover gradually to historical averages, and inflation should become positive but still subdued, at about 2 percent. The overall budget deficit should remain just below 3 percent of GDP, as a function of the spending containment by the transition government. Improvement of external balances will be dependent upon developments in gold and cotton prices and the exchange rate, as well as imports related to an expected gradual pick up in public investment.

“The team met with President Michel Kafando, Prime Minister Isaac Zida, Minister for Finance and Economy Jean-Gustave Sanon, Minister of Agriculture Francois Lompo, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Crafts Hypolite Dah, Minister for Mines and Energy Boubacar Ba, as well as various development partners and the media. The discussions were constructive and candid, and the IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality.”

1 The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. It provides for a higher level of access to financing, more concessional terms, enhanced flexibility in program design, and more focused, streamlined conditionality. Financing under ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Review Mission to Burkina Faso

Categories: African Press Organization

IMF Staff Holds Review Mission to Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, March 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Hervé Joly, visited Tanzania from March 5 – 19, 2015. The mission initiated the second review under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) 1 program that was approved on July 16, 2014. The mission met with Hon. Saada Mkuya Salum, Minister of Finance, Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and other senior government officials.

Mr. Joly released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“Recent macroeconomic developments have continued to be favorable. Growth is estimated to have been slightly over 7 percent in 2014, while inflation has dropped below the authorities’ target of 5 percent. The recent international oil price decline will provide a boost to the economy in 2015 and help contain inflation. The revised national accounts, which incorporate recent surveys and methodological improvements, suggest that the size of Tanzania’s economy is about 30 percent bigger than earlier thought.

“The nominal exchange rate against the U.S. dollar has depreciated, mainly reflecting the U.S. dollar strengthening relative to most other currencies. The gradual depreciation contributes to maintaining the competitiveness of Tanzania’s exports and benefits farmers and other exporters. Meanwhile the recent decline in international oil prices has contained the impact of the exchange rate depreciation on import costs.

“The IMF-supported PSI program was broadly on track through the end of 2014. Most quantitative program targets for end-December were met; the indicative target on domestic revenue, however, was missed. There has been good progress on the structural reforms supported under the PSI, although a number of measures were implemented with some delay.

“Budget implementation for 2014/15 remains challenging because of a substantial tax and nontax revenue shortfall and some delays in budget financing. These pressures were already highlighted during the first program review and require urgent alignment of expenditure with available resources. To avoid further accumulation of expenditure arrears, it will be important to strengthen the expenditure commitment controls.

“The mission welcomes the steps taken to address the governance concerns raised by the IPTL case. Continued progress will be critical both to sustain the resumption of donor financing and to limit any repercussions on the business environment.

“The accumulation of payment arrears in the public sector needs to be tackled forcefully. This problem has become pervasive with large and growing government arrears to domestic suppliers and pension funds, and persistent arrears of TANESCO, the national electricity company, to its suppliers. It is important that the government now implements measures to settle existing arrears and prevent the recurrence of new ones by tackling their root causes.

“It is essential for preserving fiscal policy credibility that the budget for 2015/16 be based on realistic revenue and financing assumptions. A realistic budget with a moderate deficit is a key prerequisite to avoid the accumulation of new arrears and large mid-year expenditure adjustments, and also to preserve debt sustainability.

“Discussions will continue in the coming weeks to reach final understandings on an economic policy framework that can underpin the completion of the second review under the PSI. The discussion of the second program review by the IMF Executive Board is expected to take place by mid-2015.

“The IMF team is appreciative of the constructive and open policy dialogue and thanks the authorities for their hospitality during the visit.”

1 The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Tanzania’s PSI program are available at www.imf.org/tanzania.

Source:: IMF Staff Holds Review Mission to Tanzania

Categories: African Press Organization

Foreign Minister condemns terrorist attack in Tunis

OSLO, Norway, March 19, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ‘I condemn the terrorist attack in Tunis today in the strongest possible terms. The attack claimed the lives of many innocent people, and our thoughts and sympathy go to all those who have lost their loved ones, and to the Tunisian people,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Around 20 people, most of them tourists, are reported to have been killed in the terrorist attack in Tunis, and more than 20 people have been injured.

‘The rise of extremist movements constitutes a significant threat in the region. The attack in Tunis today underlines once again the importance of stepping up efforts to counter extremism and terror. This calls for a concerted effort by the whole international community,’ said Mr Brende.

‘In recent years, there has been a positive democratic trend in Tunisia, despite an unstable security situation in the surrounding region. I hope that today’s terrorist attack will not set back the positive developments in Tunisia,’ said Mr Brende.

Source:: Foreign Minister condemns terrorist attack in Tunis

Categories: African Press Organization