UNAMID Head urges Darfur dialogue, hostility cessation at Chad forum

NDJAMENA, Chad, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — To move the peace process forward, and at the invitation of Chadian President Idris Deby, African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) for Darfur Mohamed Ibn Chambas attended today the Um Jaras Forum in Chad. The forum, a gathering of Zaghawa leaders, is designed to build consensus in getting the Darfur armed movements to join the peace process. Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Mohamed Abdul Rahman also attended.

In the forum, the JSR emphasized the need for all the parties in Darfur to commit to dialogue without preconditions and to resolve differences through political not military means. “There is imperative need to recognize that after 10 years of fighting and attendant bloodshed in Darfur, nobody has emerged victorious,” he said. “The lesson from this is very clear and simple – parties have to unconditionally find each other across the negotiation table and talk, and reach agreements.”

Mr. Chambas said that the suspension of hostilities is essential and that promises to talk cannot inspire confidence if at the same time fighting continues and intensifies. “The ongoing attacks on civilian villages and camps for internally displaced people, alleged to be carried out by the Rapid Support Forces, are a matter of concern and are an ugly blemish on our efforts to dialogue; regardless of who is ultimately responsible for this violence, it must now stop,” he said, adding that it is the main cause of displacement of about 200,000 civilians in Darfur in the past month alone.

“Also, the military attacks of the rebel movements must stop; they have proven incapable of defeating Sudan Armed Forces and only increase the suffering of the people of Darfur,” he continued. “Similarly, we must do all within our means to end the inter-tribal clashes, which caused a displacement of more than 400,000 persons in 2013 and continue to be a source of death and destruction this year.”

The Head of UNAMID highlighted the need to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations. “Darfur has been experiencing one of the worst man-made humanitarian crises in the world,” he said. “Without enabling the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the multitudes of Darfuris who need it, our sincerity to finding a durable solution to the conflict is bound to flounder.”

Mr. Chambas, who is also the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, mentioned that it is imperative to support and promote Darfur’s participation in the national dialogue announced by President Bashir in January 2014. “The political gain of the DDPD [the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur] should feed into the national dialogue process, and in turn a successful national dialogue process should also create an enabling environment to implement the positive aspects of the DDPD and, in particular, the Darfur Development Strategy, with total national consensus and support.”

Source: APO

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IMF Concludes Staff Mission to Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina-Faso, March 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Ms. Laure Redifer visited Ouagadougou from March 14-26 to carry out discussions with the Burkinabè authorities on the first review of their economic and financial program supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and a surveillance review required every two years. The mission met with Mr. Luc-Adolphe Tiao, Prime Minister; Mr. Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance; Mr. Salif Kaboré, Minister of Mines; Ms. Clotilde Ki-Nikiéma, Minister of the Budget; and Mr. Charles Ki-Zerbo, National Director of the Central Bank of West African States, as well as other senior officials, parliamentarians, private sector and civil society representatives, and development partners.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Redifer, issued the following statement in Ouagadougou:

“Burkina Faso has experienced several years of rising and less volatile growth despite numerous shocks, thanks to strong economic and structural reform policies. Despite slight downward revisions, growth remains strong for the period 2013-14. Estimates for 2013 growth were revised to 6.6 percent, based on flat growth in grain production due to erratic rainfall. For 2014, growth is projected at 6.7 percent, and could be higher in case of good rainfall and strong domestic demand. These more cautious projections reflect the outlook for continued subdued international prices for gold and cotton, which are also expected to cause a further deterioration in external balances. The deterioration would be worse in the absence of stronger exports of cash crops (cotton and sesame) and new minerals (zinc). In December, inflation was 0.5 percent, influenced primarily by lower food prices than a year previously, and should remain below 2.0 percent in 2014.

“Revenue collection was somewhat lower than anticipated in 2013. This, combined with delayed disbursements of external budget support, required additional domestic financing to maintain planned spending, as well as additional spending undertaken in the course of the year, including 1 percent of GDP in additional social spending undertaken in the second half of the year. Revenue shortfalls and additional transfers to public enterprises meant that two end-December 2013 targets of the IMF-supported program were not met, although all other quantitative targets were met and all structural reforms for end-January 2014 were implemented.

“For 2014, large spending increases linked to wage bill negotiations and additional social measures total approximately 2 percent of GDP. To finance these expenditures and maintain the fiscal deficit around 3 percent of GDP, the authorities are identifying spending offsets in other non-priority areas. In addition, they are considering other measures to ensure sustainability of the wage bill and the budget over the medium term, and preserve sufficient resources for valuable investments in people and infrastructure.

“The mission particularly encouraged the authorities to make more transparent budgetary transfers to support the operations of public enterprises facing fixed consumer prices. These untargeted subsidies constitute a growing share of budgetary resources that could be better directed to social spending and investment to create jobs and growth.

“In discussions with the authorities, the mission expressed concern that the new Mining Code had not been passed by Parliament by the end of the year. The mission strongly urged that the new Mining Code be formulated to ensure optimal resource mobilization needed to finance growth-enhancing investment and to ensure that the majority of Burkinabe – in this generation and in those to come — benefits from the extraction of these non-renewable resources.

“The mission had fruitful and collaborative discussions with the authorities on these and other topics. Discussions will continue in the coming weeks to finalize the policy framework for 2014 that would form the basis for completion of the first review of the program supported by the IMF Extended Credit Facility and regular surveillance under the IMF’s Article IV. ”

Source: APO

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SOUTH SUDAN: MSF BRIEFING ON WORSENING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND INADEQUATE AID RESPONSE

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — PRESS TELECONFERENCE ON SOUTH SUDAN / THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014, 3 PM GMT

WHAT: Update on the inadequate aid response to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan three months after the outbreak of violence in the country, and ahead of the looming rainy season. MSF officials will describe the alarming conditions for hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and South Sudanese refugees, who are largely cut off from life-saving medical assistance. The following critical issues will be addressed:

• The overall lack of response by the aid system, exemplified by large proportions of displaced people receiving little-to-no assistance, including in the overcrowded and now flooded Tomping IDP camp in Juba, run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan

• The lack of protection of civilians and the lack of respect for medical facilities, as illustrated by recent killing of patients in their hospital beds and the looting and destruction of hospitals

• The overall lack of adequate logistical capacity and aid organisation flexibility in response to alarming indicators, including malnutrition, ahead of the annual rainy season

• The regional impact of refugees pouring into Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 11 AM EDT (New York) / 3 PM GMT (London) / 6 PM EAT (Nairobi)

WHO:

Jerome Oberreit, MSF international secretary general, who recently returned from South Sudan

Chris Lockyear, MSF operations manager for South Sudan

CALL IN DETAILS:

International: +1-703-639-1360

No code required; an operator will greet all participants

If you require assistance during the conference, press *0 for the operator

A moderated Q&A will follow MSF staff presentations

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Is youth entrepreneurship lagging in North and Central Africa?

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, March 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Data from this year’s Anzisha Prize (http://www.anzishaprize.org) applications reveal a potential shortage of young entrepreneurs who are women, are from North and Central Africa or involved in renewable energy ventures.

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

“We are hoping that our application data reflects weaknesses in our outreach strategy, rather than the reality on the ground. If our sample is a mirror of youth entrepreneur activity across the continent, then we are sitting with a fairly dire situation for youth venture creation outside of some key hubs,” comments Josh Adler, Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the African Leadership Academy.

“This is a picture that has to change rapidly, and the Anzisha Prize is designed to catalyse this movement. We need to see more meaningful entrepreneur activity amongst teenagers across the continent and within key sectors that we know can create quality jobs and growth.”

The prestigious Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier award for its youngest entrepreneurs, is encouraging North and Central Africans, young women and those with renewable energy ventures from around the African continent to enter. Application information and in-country support are available in both French and Arabic.

The $75,000 Anzisha Prize – hosted by the African Leadership Academy in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation – awards young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 who have started ventures that are making a real impact in their communities. There is an additional $10,000 grant – courtesy of the Donor Circle for Africa group of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation – that is given to a young entrepreneur who is working on a renewable energy initiative.

With a week to go until the application deadline, over 200 applications have been received from more than 25 countries, with some very fascinating trends.

- Applications from young female entrepeneurs are waning. While 55% of the African youth population between 15-24 is female, young women only make up 25% of the current Anzisha Prize applicant pool. The Anzisha Prize has made special efforts to reach young women this year through partnering with organisations like the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), yet it appears from our data that the barriers to pursuing entrepreneurship activity for young girls remain prevalent.

- North African applications are low despite significantly more awareness campaigns for the Anzisha Prize in the region. Of the 33 Anzisha Prize Fellows selected since 2011, only three are from North Africa and all of these are from young men from Egypt. This year massive effort has been made to increase access to the Anzisha Prize in North Africa – official documents are now available in Arabic and French and the Anzisha Prize team met with partners across North Africa in early March.

- Biogas and green charcoal initiatives look to be more prevalant amongst African youth rather than solar, wind, and other alternative energy initiatives. There is also little evidence of downstream business activity for services that make good use of off-grid power. Of the renewable energy applications received thus far, nearly all deal with biogas and charcoal made from waste material, which begs the question: are there young African entrepreneurs who are leading the way in other alternative energy initiatives?

“We need to enlist the help of the media, gender-focused youth organisations and teachers to encourage candidates they know of for the prize to apply.” Continues Adler: “Our applications team is standing by to support entries and nominations in French, Arabic and English and our country partners in every region are available to engage national media in the debate around youth entrepreneurship in different countries.”

Past award recipients include Best Ayiorwoth, a young woman from Uganda, who began a small micro-credit services company that invests in and empowers young women in Uganda, and Khaled Shady, inventor of Mubser, a wearable belt for the visually impaired in Egypt (Shady was recently listed by Forbes as amongst the 30 most promising young entrepreneurs under 30). Profiles for all 33 of our past Anzisha Fellows are available online at http://www.anzishaprize.org/fellows

The Anzisha Prize applications are now open and close on April 1, 2014. Application and nomination forms are available online and for download in English, French and Arabic at http://www.anzishaprize.org. Prospective applicants can chat online, see our recent activities and engage with our team on Facebook www.facebook.com/anzishaprize. You can also follow Anzisha Prize on Twitter (@anzishaprize).

Finalists will win an all-expense paid trip to the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend a week-long entrepreneurship development programme and awards gala. While there, they will be taught by the African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty, as well as experienced business mentors. They will then enter a life-long support programme as part of the African Leadership Academy’s alumni network with access to unrivaled opportunities for personal development and venture growth.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the Internet Corporation for the Anzisha Prize.

Press Contact:

Chi Achebe – Programme Manager, Anzisha Prize

Email: prize@anzishaprize.org; 011 699 3000

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Please use our interviews collection as content for your publications & websites!

We commissioned professional journalists to interview many of our Fellows, and have translated them into French and Arabic. Some examples are attached, and more are available at http://www.anzishaprize.org/media-centre – this content can be used freely.

2. Contact us and our country-partners for country-level data & insights!

Anzisha Prize has a growing country partners programme with national level organisations that are aligned to our mission across Africa. Please contact us for details and contact information. Further, we will soon be in a position to release country-level insights based on our applications pool to help media analyse and comment on entrepreneur dynamics in your own countries. Email prize@anzishaprize.org with queries.

3. We have photos and videos!

Note that we have a great collection of videos and images that you can use in your publications. Please visit our online media centre and youtube channel. All our images and videos can be used freely for media stories. WATCH THE ANZISHA PRIZE OVERVIEW IN FRENCH, ENGLISH OR ARABIC at http://www.youtube.com/user/AnzishaPrize

4. Follow the story

Our journey through the prize process is easily told through our Facebook page. Visit www.facebook.com/anzishaprize and follow our work to find Africa’s 12 top teen entrepreneurs day-by-day.

5. About the Anzisha Prize

The Anzisha Prize is managed out of African Leadership Academy’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which was established through a multi-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. Through the Anzisha Prize, the organisers seek to catalyse innovation and entrepreneurship among youth across the continent.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

Rockefeller Foundation’s $3.8M grant helps position Ghana to accelerate future ICT job growth

ACCRA, Ghana, March 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Rockefeller Foundation (http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org) has announced a $3.8 million grant to the Ghanaian government in partnership with the World Bank to support the establishment of world class facilities that will attract IT and IT enabled firms, including Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms to Ghana and create jobs for Ghanaian youth.

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

The grant complements the World Bank’s US$5 million provided under the eGhana Project and is part of the Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative launched in 2013; the initiative is a $100million initiative aimed at improving 1 million lives through ICT skills and jobs for high potential but disadvantaged youth.

As a result of this grant, a new mini ICT Park to be located in central Accra will be completed by August of this year, and is expected to have the potential of providing direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 people, primarily youth, who have few alternative job opportunities.

Recent research funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and issued by the Dalberg Institute identifies access to real estate as the primary barrier to expanding the BPO sector in Ghana, and thus hinders creation of new jobs for an increasingly unemployed youth population. This grant will help address that constraint directly by providing the funds for the Ghanaian government to create a world class Facility. The proposed centre is expected to function as a mini-ICT park, whose impact is expected to move Ghana up the ranking among the Tier 2 countries, but most importantly the IT and IT enabled services (ITES) sector is deemed most likely to absorb large numbers of unemployed and disadvantaged youth.

“As the Rockefeller Foundation enters its second year of our $100m Digital Jobs Africa initiative, we applaud the commitment of the Ghanaian government for steering the hiring at this new state of the art ICT Park towards poor and vulnerable youth – which will help to achieve our ultimate goal of impacting the lives of 1 million people through digital jobs for disadvantaged youth. This project will transform the landscape of Ghana’s IT /ITES sector while ensuring that disadvantaged youth are the ultimate beneficiaries. When young people are empowered economically, the entire nation will benefit,” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative is being implemented in six countries in Africa – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco.

The grant follows on from the Foundation’s 2012 support to the Ghana ITES Secretariat, a World Bank seeded implementing agency under the Ministry of Communication, to train and employ 150 youth to digitize government records. In September 2013, the World Bank approved the $97 million eTransform project which builds on the earlier eGhana project. Both projects seek to use ICT to improve the reach and efficiency of private and public service delivery and create jobs. The ICT Park is an important piece of the World Bank’s support of Ghana’s ICT strategy.

The Rockefeller Foundation support of the mini ICT Park leverages the World Bank funding and is designed to catalyze additional funding to support Ghana’s potential to employ disadvantaged youth in the digital economy.

Dr. Edward K. Omane Boamah, Ghana’s Minister of Communications commented, “We were pleased that the Rockefeller Foundation shared our vision around Ghana’s ICT potential. Not only can we transform the ICT sector, making Ghana internationally competitive, we can provide opportunities for hundreds of disadvantaged young people who have the skills and drive to work in the digital economy, but are only lacking the access and opportunity.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Rockefeller Foundation.

For more information please contact:

Achieng’ Otieno, Communications Officer, the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office aotieno@rockfound.org, +254 704848792

Alhassan Umar, Director ITES, Ghana Ministry of Communications, al.umar@ites.gov.gh, +233 201245514

About The Rockefeller Foundation

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world (http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org). Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visit http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org

About the Ghana Ministry of Communications

The Ministry of Communications (MoC) has the core responsibility for initiating and developing national policies aimed at achieving cost effective information and communications infrastructure and services, for the enhancement and promotion of economic competitiveness in line with the policy guidelines of the Medium Term National Development Policy Framework (MTNDPF) 2014-2017. In furtherance of this the MoC is pursuing a vision for the ICT sector that will promote the effective use of ICT for comprehensive national development that will bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban communities, and also between Ghana and the rest of the world. The dynamic nature of the communications industry globally continues to have far reaching consequences for the ICT/Telecom sector policy development in Ghana and indeed the socio-economic well-being of this country. Stemming from this global trend in ICT and taking into account Ghana’s ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Policy, the Ministry is also giving technical and strategic attention to the development of ICT Human Resource base and provision of relevant skills to transform the sector in a competitive, proactive and integrated manner. For more information, please visit www.moc.gov.gh

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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