Note to Correspondents on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic

On Friday 25 March the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) announced that it had received new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse that had taken place between 2013 and 2015 by UN and non-UN personnel, as well as by local armed groups, in the Kemo prefecture of the Central African Republic. Further information was also provided by the Spokesman’s Office on Monday, 28 March.

A MINUSCA-led integrated team comprised of Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Human Rights, Child and Women’s Protection, Conduct and Discipline, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNHCR travelled to the area and is now on the ground. The exact number and nature of these extremely troubling allegations are still being determined. The team has identified the contingents in question as those provided by Burundi and Gabon. Allegations made against the French Sangaris forces in the same area are also being investigated. Alleged victims are being interviewed and will be provided with assistance and psycho-social and medical support.

The Burundian and Gabonese units allegedly involved will remain confined in camps during the investigation, except for essential tasks.

The United Nations has formally notified the Troop Contributing Countries in question, as well as to the French authorities, informing them of these allegations. The Troop Contributing Countries have been requested to send investigators immediately to participate jointly in the ongoing investigation.

The Under Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare met with the Permanent Representative of Burundi on Wednesday, 30 March and the Security Council will be briefed on the latest developments in closed session on Thursday, 31 March. A meeting with representatives of Gabon will take place as soon as possible.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

30 March 2016

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

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Categories: AFRICA

The United States-Nigeria Bi-National Commission Joint Communique

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

March 30, 2016

The United States-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) met on March 30, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The BNC was co-chaired by Geoffrey Onyeama, Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Antony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, United States of America. U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice provided opening remarks, and Secretary of State John Kerry met the group and hosted a working lunch.

During President Muhammadu Buhari’s July 20-22, 2015, visit to Washington, President Buhari and Secretary Kerry underscored the need to strengthen and revitalize the BNC to advance our overall relationship and spur joint action on key issues.

At a meeting on November 13, 2015, between an interministerial group led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, the two sides underscored the need to reinvigorate the BNC as a forum for focused, high-level discussions. They identified three areas of focus:

Security Cooperation
Economic Growth and Development
Governance and Democracy

The two sides subsequently developed a detailed agenda and added a working bilateral lunch on Multilateral Cooperation.

Joint Goals

The BNC reviewed a paper setting out proposed joint goals for each agreed area of focus. It directed working groups be established for each area of focus, and that these working groups finalize the paper within one month.

Security Cooperation

The BNC’s discussion on security cooperation was co-chaired by H.E. Mansur Dan-Ali, Honorable Minister of Defense, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The BNC jointly determined to take further actions to advance U.S.-Nigeria security cooperation to promote peace and security in Nigeria, especially in northeastern Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad region. Both sides recognized that this cooperation includes, but is not limited to, military cooperation.

The BNC noted the continued threat to peace and security posed by Boko Haram, which is now an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The United States reaffirmed its support for Nigeria and its neighbors in countering this threat.

The BNC noted that the Governments’ bilateral security cooperation focuses both on immediate threats and medium and long term security and stabilization objectives.

The BNC discussed the situation of refugees and internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria and the region, and the Governments decided to work together to create conditions for their safe and voluntary return.

The BNC also discussed measures to counter violent extremism and encourage defections from Boko Haram; the importance of protecting civilians and safeguarding human rights; the need for integrated planning for the restoration of full civilian authority, resettlement and reconstruction; the need to understand and eliminate sources of terrorist financing; and ways to expand intelligence sharing.

The BNC established a Working Group on Security Cooperation and directed that it meets within six months to review progress on joint goals.

Economic Growth and Development

The BNC’s discussion on economic growth and development was co-chaired by Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Nigerian side expressed appreciation for the efforts of the U.S. government and the contributions of key stakeholders such as the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce towards the successful hosting of the Nigerian –United States Business Forum and Reception Dinner.

Both sides acknowledged the major outcomes of the Business Forum which stressed the need for increased United States investments in Nigeria through the provision of an enhanced business climate, policy predictability, and transparency.

The BNC noted the Governments’ decision to take further actions to promote prosperity and growth, economic diversification, and job creation through policies that will improve the environment for doing business together. In this respect, the BNC recognized that sound macroeconomic policies are important to managing the challenges of declining global oil prices.

The BNC noted the Governments’ pledge to work together to ensure maximum utilization of current programs to promote trade and investment, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

The BNC recognized the importance of infrastructure development for Nigerian economic growth, noting particularly the importance of increasing access to electricity and improving efficiency to lower its cost. The BNC also discussed ways to expand cooperation on renewable energy and integrated water resource management.

With respect to economic diversification, the BNC noted the potential for expanded agricultural investment and production, as well as the role played by extractive industries, including solid minerals, petroleum and natural gas.

The BNC established a Working Group on Economic Growth and Development and directed that it meet within six months to review progress on joint goals.

Governance and Democracy

The BNC’s discussion on governance and democracy was co-chaired by Mr. Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Deputy Secretary Antony Blinken.

The BNC noted the historical importance of Nigeria’s 2015 elections and the peaceful transition that ensued. The United States intends to support Nigerian efforts towards improving the quality of elections, and looks to Nigeria to support elections and democracy throughout Africa.

The BNC decided to strengthen their joint efforts in support of good governance, anti-corruption, and enhanced delivery of public services, including national institutional frameworks for peace building and conflict management to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and promote inclusive prosperity.

The BNC recognized that the United States intends to continue its support for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies, as appropriate.

The BNC discussed the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF). The United States noted the potential benefits to Nigeria of membership in these two initiatives. The Nigerian side agreed to respond to the outstanding invitations to join these partnerships in due course.

The BNC noted the Governments’ decision to intensify their work together to help Nigeria trace funds and assets stolen through corruption and other illicit activities and seek to recover the assets.

The BNC decided to expand people-to-people contacts between the two countries, including efforts such as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

The BNC established a working group on governance and democracy and directed that it meet within six months to review progress on joint goals.

Multilateral Cooperation

At its working lunch, the BNC discussed issues including climate change, strengthening ECOWAS to promote regional economic integration, and the potential provision of UN financial support for conflict prevention, and the financing of UN Security Council-approved African Union peacekeeping operations.

Vote of Thanks and Next Meeting

The Government of Nigeria thanked the Government of the United States for hosting the meeting of the Bi-National Commission. It was determined that the next meeting of the full BNC should be held in Nigeria within one year at a date to be mutually agreed through diplomatic channels.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: The United States-Nigeria Bi-National Commission Joint Communique

Categories: AFRICA

Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 30, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, folks. The Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry has been one of my closest interlocutors over the last few years. We have worked extremely closely together on many issues. Let me first say in welcoming him here to Washington how relieved we all were that the Egyptian Air hijacking turned out to have all of the crew and all of the passengers unharmed, and we’re grateful for that, obviously. Egypt has been working through some very difficult challenges. It’s not an easy time. The region is presenting challenges to all of us, plus there are major economic challenges that Egypt is engaged in trying to deal with.

So we have worked as partners for a long period of time on many, many issues, and Egypt right now is playing a critical role in helping us to deal with Libya in a responsible way. Even today, a major step was taken which we hope, all of us, will bear fruit to put a government in place. Egypt is working with us against counterterrorism. We’re working on the Sinai. We’re working to contain Gaza, to deal with Hamas and other entities. We are engaged in a coalition struggle, all of us, against Daesh, against extremism. Egypt has been very helpful in the course of that, and Egypt is engaged with all of us in helping to encourage a peaceful resolution to the problem of not only Yemen but also Syria itself, where they have contributed significantly.

We’re working together to try to deal with part of the economic challenge that Egypt faces. I have often said to people that Egypt, representing a quarter of the Arab world in and of itself and historically a hub of the Arab world, is a critical voice in helping us to deal with the enormous challenges that we have right now. So we have a lot to talk about, and I’m very happy to welcome Sameh Shoukry, who has been a solid colleague in all of these endeavors. Welcome to Washington.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHOUKRY: Thank you, Secretary Kerry. I’m delighted to be here to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit that I have participated in all three previous summits. It’s an important issue, and Egypt has been engaged and a productive partner in this endeavor. And I’m glad also to take this opportunity to continue our dialogue on the bilateral and on the regional issues that we have discussed and on the cooperation that exists between the United States and Egypt. Egypt considers this a pillar of its foreign policy, its relationship with the United States – the strategic nature and the commonality of our interests – and that in working together, we are more confident in our ability to meet the challenges of the region and to proceed on Egypt’s road to the future in terms of its development and fulfilling the aspirations of its people. After the revolution of the 25th and the 30th of June, we are on the path towards democratization, towards establishing rule of law. And of course, with the final stage of parliamentary elections and the seating of parliament, we are well underway in achieving all of our aspirations.

We believe that we can only succeed with the continued support of the United States, and we value what has been provided in the past and we are reassured of the commitment of the United States towards Egypt’s prosperity and its role in the region, and are committed to continue to work with the United States to achieve our common goals in Libya, in Syria, in the fight against extremism. And we are hopeful that as we embark on the future achievements and challenges, we will do so more effectively, with greater understanding and coordination among our two nations. Thank you so much. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, Sameh. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Remarks at the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama

Washington, DC

March 30, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon and hello, and welcome to the Treaty Room of the State Department. We don’t have a treaty to sign today, but we’re delighted to be here. I’m really pleased to be joined by my colleague Geoffrey Onyeama, and very happy to welcome his distinguished delegation here today. The importance of today, which is a full day’s meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, is really underscored by the quality of the participants on both sides and the breadth of the discussion that we are having in the course of the day. Representatives from my government include leaders from the State Department, USAID, the Defense Department, Commerce Department, and several other key agencies. And Jim Entwistle, of course, our outstanding ambassador to Nigeria, is also here, as is the Nigerian Charge d’Affaires Hakeem Balogun, and welcome. And we’re happy to have such broad representation at this important dialogue.

Let me just say a word personally about this because I had the occasion to travel twice to Nigeria last year. And I personally became invested in the enormous possibilities of this enormous country which is vital to all of Africa, to all of our interests in so many different ways. And so this morning our two teams focused appropriately on the security issues. In the afternoon, we’re going to review issues related to economic development and to governance. And in just a few minutes, we’re going to have a working lunch, which will cover probably a little bit of a mix of both. But our delegations have already covered a lot of ground, and they have a lot of ground yet to cover in the rest of today. And I think it’s fair to say that we both attach a very high value to this conversation, and we also attach a high value to simply the people-to-people component of this.

We want Nigeria to succeed. And I don’t say that with any element of patronizing or arrogant or any kind of view other than the fact that we know there are challenges. You know there are challenges. That’s what your election was about. And so we’re all aware that the world right now is facing many different challenges in terms of governance in various parts of the world and for various reasons: absence of capital, absence of structure, having to build capacity. These things take time. Nobody is pretending that it’s an overnight operation. It wasn’t for us. And some people sometimes are very revisionist in America about our own history, but we’ve gone through some very difficult periods and very difficult issues. We had to write slavery out of our Constitution after it had been written in, and that was no small task, with a Civil War raging around it. So we’ve been through a history. And what we’re trying to do is really share with people the shortcut, if you will – how you can manage to avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made in the course of our own development in ways that can embrace the hopes and the aspirations of millions upon millions of people. That’s what this is about.

And Nigeria is an extraordinary country. It has huge potential, a very rich culture. And it is finding very vibrant expression in every branch of the arts. And like the United States, it is a diverse country with a very large and assertive civil society; and like America, Nigeria is looked to for leadership in confronting some of the starkest challenges of our times.

So it is good news, therefore, that our bilateral relationship is, in fact, healthy and strong. As I mentioned, I went to Nigeria twice last year, first to encourage a free and fair election. And I met then with candidate Buhari – now president – and talked about the challenge of being a challenger and running against an incumbent and how complicated but important it was that this election be free of violence and be fair. And I later went to attend the results of that election, and we all in America salute the people of Nigeria who really made that election what it was. And we salute the outcome, which gave me the privilege of attending President Buhari’s inauguration.

Commerce Secretary Pritzker has been among the first senior U.S. officials who have been to Nigeria recently. In her case it was to highlight investment opportunities, and that is a theme that has been reinforced by yesterday’s business forum here in Washington.

So the United States, let me be clear, is very encouraged by President Buhari’s commitment to an economy that is more diversified, less dependent on a single commodity for export earnings, and that means we need to develop sustainability. Sustainable growth depends on a climate that is welcoming to investment and respectful of the environment and of workers’ rights. And we have learned in these last 25, 30 years that it is never a competition between the environment and development. That is a false choice – completely false, and particularly in the context of today’s challenge of climate change. You can develop in ways that protect the environment and also are competitive and provide jobs for people.

Now, Nigeria’s future is in Nigerians’ hands. We respect that. The United States is here to help to meet your needs, to listen to you carefully, to understand what it is that you believe is necessary, and to work with you where we can to implement. Our development assistance this year will top $600 million, and we are working closely with your leaders – the leaders of your health ministry – to halt the misery that is spread by HIV/AIDS, by malaria, and by TB.

Our Power Africa Initiative is aimed at strengthening the energy sector, where shortage in electricity has frustrated the population and impeded growth.

And our long-term food security program, Feed the Future, is helping to create more efficient agriculture and to raise rural incomes in doing that.

Our Young African Leaders Program, in which many Nigerians participate, is preparing the next generation to take the reins of responsibility. And I will tell you, I have met with young African leaders, I have met with young Asian leaders, I have met with young leaders around the world; it is extraordinary how intelligent, how energized, how focused, how determined these young leaders are to meet the future and to define the future.

And in education, we are working together to try to fight illiteracy, especially in the country’s north, where the lack of opportunity has been holding people back, and where the terrorist organization, Boko Haram, has murdered thousands and disrupted the lives of millions.

Let me just say a word about that. It is an outrage that any group anywhere would brainwash young people, including little girls, to strap explosives to their bodies and walk into an open marketplace with the intent of murdering their own families, neighbors, and themselves. That is what Boko Haram does. And that is why these terrorists have to be stopped and why the United States of America and President Obama are deeply committed to help Nigeria in this struggle.

Under President Buhari, Nigeria has been taking the fight to Boko Haram and it has reduced Boko Haram’s capacity to launch full-scale attacks. However, the group still remains a threat – a serious threat – to the entire region. And in recent months, our governments have been collaborating on new ways to institute security measures, including counter-IED equipment, improved information sharing, and training and equipping two infantry battalions. Now, I want to be clear, this aid is predicated on the understanding that, even when countering a group as ruthless as Boko Haram, security forces have a duty to set the standard with respect to human rights. One abuse does not excuse another.

Both our governments know that although military action is required to protect civilians from terrorists, the long-term solution requires effective governance and the creation of jobs that give young people a deep stake in the future of their communities.

The threat that is posed by Boko Haram is serious, but it must not – and I really believe this – it will not be allowed to shape Nigeria’s future. Nigeria is a country with an almost boundless capacity for economic growth. Believe in that – boundless capacity for economic growth. It has a youthful population that is thoroughly plugged in and citizens who do not hesitate to express their views. Nigeria is a country that is a responsible international partner and well positioned to contribute to the regional and global problem-solving.

But as both President Buhari and President Obama stressed, one of the largest and most stubborn obstacles is the persistence of corruption. To fight it, the United States strongly supports the efforts of institutions like Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute corruption cases. And we back the role of civil society and of the media in exposing corruption and in advocating for greater transparency.

And we emphasize the message that the United States, in – that the United States, we don’t have a holier-than-thou attitude about this. Believe me, we don’t. We’ve had our own challenges with organized crime through some of our history, but we have fought back against it. And we have fought back against it with prosecutors who are above reproach, above the possibility of any kind of interference, and who go after it, and that has made all the difference in the world. You cannot have impunity in your culture – in anybody’s culture – and expect to be able to make progress.

The truth is – and I’ve seen this as Secretary of State and it’s been an eye-opener for me – the numbers of countries in the world that are challenged today by corruption where it is stealing the future from young people, stealing the future from all citizens – what happened in Tunisia with a fruit vendor who set himself on fire was not the result of religious indoctrination. It was the result of an individual who rebelled against an individual act of corruption by a policeman and who said, “I’ve had enough.”

So all of us need to heed the warning signs, and we emphasize that, as in the United States, the soliciting of a bribe at any level of government cannot be considered business as usual – it is a crime.

America’s first diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, was renowned for a lot of wise sayings, and one of them was simply that, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” The great advantage in the U.S.-Nigeria relationship is that both of us, both sides bring to the table a huge, deep well of energy and persistence. We are two great countries with a long list of shared goals. And our purpose today is to map out the next steps for cooperation in all of those areas where we need it. Now, I don’t – as I said at the beginning, this doesn’t transform things overnight. But I’ll tell you, absolutely, positively, it moves us steadily forward, it creates momentum in the right direction, and that is good for Nigeria, it’s good for the United States, and frankly, if we can get this right, that will really make a difference to the world. It will be an example of what can be achieved when you have determined leadership that is absolutely committed to getting on a different path and a different road.

So that’s the importance of today – a very, very important meeting, important opportunity, and I look forward to trying to make the most of it with you for the rest of the day. And with that, it’s my great pleasure to turn to Geoffrey and give you the floor, sir. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER ONYEAMA: Thank you very much indeed, Secretary Kerry. It’s a tremendous pleasure for myself as well as my delegation to be here in this beautiful building and beautiful country. We really cannot thank yourself, your government, President Obama, for really the help and the support and the friendship that we have received from you.

You’ve mentioned the fact that you’ve been to Nigeria twice, and of course, you visited Nigeria at a very critical period in the history of our country. We cannot underestimate the impact that your visit and the support of your country has had in shaping the future for Nigeria. As you noted very well, we had really historic elections last year, and up until that point, it was really not very clear which direction things were going to go.

And of course, we’ve had respect for the United States for a very long time. Your system of government is one that we’ve adopted. We had a Westminster model once upon a time, but we threw that aside and embraced the United States model – an expensive model it is too, but we’re struggling as best we can – (laughter) – as best we can with it.

We share the same values and we respect very much what this great country has achieved, and this country has really become a model for all countries in the world. And we aspire to going some ways to emulating this model.

Of course, it has not been easy for us as a country, as a people. We’ve also in a very short period of time gone through our trials and tribulations, as you have – a civil war and numerous coup d’etats and really struggling as a country to find the right path for ourselves. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy at all. But the important thing is that we are still one as a country, just as you managed those years back to remain one. And of course, in remaining one, you managed to really change the history of the world in so many ways. We might not be that ambitious, but we certainly aspire in remaining one to change things in our country and possibly also in our continent.

So we come towards elections. We’re extremely fortunate. You mentioned that you met at the time candidate Buhari, and he really has been an inspiration for our country. Of course, he had served at one time as a military head of state, and he has also made about three attempts to become president of the country. Now, as I said this morning, we’re a country that really shouldn’t be where we find ourselves today economically, technologically, socially. We really – our successive governments have failed our people. A country blessed with such amazing resources – human resources, as you know here in the United States, with a countless number of Nigerians, a lot of them doing extremely well in your country – tremendous human resources and also material resources. And we just have not been able, unfortunately, for any number of reasons, been able to utilize those amazing assets to deliver the kinds of prosperity to our people that they clearly, clearly deserve.

And President Buhari has really persisted. He is somebody, as you all know, whose unimpeachable integrity is respected in Nigeria and around the world. And it was not an easy task for him in opposition to come into power, but as you found also with your incumbent President, anything and everything is possible. And you really just have to have that determination, that faith, that belief, and that drive. And he had that. He had said initially that the last elections was going to be his last, but thankfully for us all, for our country, he didn’t, for once, keep to his word. And he went and he came – became the president.

And I said we owe the United States a great debt of gratitude, and yourself. Your coming to Nigeria when you did was extremely important because we were at a crossroads, and it sent a very powerful message that those elections had to be free and fair and that you would tolerate nothing less. It really concentrated the minds of everybody involved, including the election tribunal personnel. And yes, we delivered really historic elections.

Now, we believe where we were at the point of those elections – we were in a very bad place, however one chose – or one chooses to look at it. If we look at the situation of security, we were facing really an existential challenge. We had an insurgency that was overpowering our military and was taking territory, keeping territory, and hoisting flags declaring caliphates. And our government seemed almost powerless to do anything about it – an insurgency, as you noted, that was able to go and kidnap over 200 of our young girls, and yet we were powerless to do anything about it.

If we looked at our economic situation, it was also dire. Notwithstanding the fact that we had had years which oil prices were at about $140 to the barrel, record limits. But all this was really squandered. And as far as governments was concerned, all we heard about was just the level of corruption, which you have also mentioned, Secretary, in our country. The Nigerian brand was really at the lowest it could possibly be, and this was really the starting point for this government. And thankfully, we had a president who came on board who was absolutely determined that Nigeria should change directions, that we absolutely had to change. And to a certain extent, a lot of the Nigerians really believed that this was the last hope, the last chance, for our country. They elected him.

But of course, we’ve been extremely unfortunate because the expectation levels were extremely high. He came into power and really had great hopes of achieving great things and completely changing the way we do business in Nigeria. Similar to what this government experienced when it first came into power some seven years ago, faced with a global economic crisis of almost historic proportions, we also faced this oil price catastrophe – an economy that depended almost exclusively on oil, and we saw the oil prices drop precipitously from about $140 to a barrel to almost $30 to a barrel. And this government came on and bought in this situation.

Mr. President has outlined the vision and the priorities that he really feels will be able to get our country back to where it should be – a path of sustainable growth. And it’s in that context that again we thank your government for being so cooperative and supportive in helping to establish this binational commission, a framework in which we could cooperate with the greatest economic power the world has ever seen to try to really kick start our economy, and really transform the way we do business in Nigeria and really lay the foundation for greater prosperity for our people.

And Mr. President identified the three priority areas of security. We know what Boko Haram has done and some of the other security challenges that we face. But here, again, we really cannot thank you enough, Mr. Secretary, and your government for the support that you’ve provided to us in engaging with the security challenges – enormous security challenges that we are facing.

Of course, as we have now seen, it is now a global phenomenon, the terrorism, and it’s interlinked around the world. So our coming together, cooperating, to address that particular terrorist challenge is absolutely key and vital for the global community. And we cannot thank you enough for the support you have provided to us in that context.

And of course, we have almost 2 million displaced, internally displaced persons. So it’s not just a question of engaging militarily with this threat, but we also have to think of the damage that they have caused to the country, the damage that has been caused when we need all the financial resources and material resources we can possibly lay our hands on for our development. So not only have we suffered from this catastrophic drop in oil prices, but we have this major insurgency situation that is also draining away a lot of our resources,

When Mr. President assumed office, he said that by the end of last year, 2015, he would have defeated Boko Haram – we would have done so. And technically and militarily, we have done, we have achieved that. And it’s required great commitment and he’s shown tremendous leadership in achieving this.

And what we do have now, though, is what we have in a number of countries around the world. As you have, again, mentioned, Mr. Secretary, suicide bombers are using young girls, strapping them up and having them blow up, blow themselves up in soft targets, marketplaces, using improvised explosive devices. And these are the kinds of challenges we’re facing. We appreciate that to address those we would require different strategies, not just the direct military one. And so in addition, of course, to the military support that you have so kindly provided us with, we appreciate very much also the intelligence support that you’re providing to us. And that’s been extremely important.

We understand that we also have to tackle the root causes of this kind of radicalization. And so we’re putting in place mechanisms to address that. And of course, we are discussing those at the moment in the framework of the binational commission. We’ve had extremely useful discussions on that. In fact, we started today on the security question. We’ve been really heartened by the concern, the support, and the engagement that has been shown by your government to us in this area. And we really look forward to charting a path that will see us completely eradicating this scourge on our people.

You’ve also mentioned, and correctly so, the question of the economy. Of course, as I said, we’ve been almost a mono economy, dependent almost exclusively on oil, which should really not have been the case. We really should have diversified such a long time ago. But we’re now faced with this challenge, and we’re really looking to diversify into other areas – agriculture, solid minerals, other extractive industries. We have to promote our manufacturing sector, and we have to look at sustainable economic growth. And for sustainable economic growth, we appreciate that we have to also develop a manufacturing base as well.

Foreign direct investment is absolutely key. We really have to do a lot more to make Nigeria an attractive place for business. We have to work on the new brand. Mr. President is absolutely determined to do that, to have a more transparent environment for foreign direct investment. And we’re working extremely hard on putting in place all the building blocks that would enable us as a country to attract foreign direct investment. We’re going to be discussing – excuse me – we’re going to be discussing that later one with your colleagues to see really what more we need to be doing to attract and get more investments from your business community. Yesterday we met – we had a business roundtable with your chambers of commerce, and we’re extremely gratified by how keen they are also to engage with us economically.

And, of course, on the – in the area of governance and democracy, we absolutely put great store by your words that it’s just totally unacceptable – bribery in any form is not something that can be tolerated. We’re dealing with a situation of endemic corruption, and our president, who, as I said, impersonates that total integrity, is absolutely keen to eradicate this culture of corruption, and really stopping at nothing – no stone will be left unturned – to achieve this.

And as you said very kindly, Nigeria is a country that’s looked up to by all the other African countries. We have aspirations to be responsible and one of the leading countries globally. And for that we have to take on and assume various responsibilities, such as ensuring peace on the African continent in our peacekeeping role, promoting greater African integration, and helping to promote democracy across Africa. And of course, what we were able to achieve last year with our elections has really given us a platform. It’s captured the imagination of countries around the world, and we really use – wish to leverage on that to also play a role in other African countries.

So Mr. Secretary, thank you very, very much indeed again for the wonderful support that you personally have provided to us, and to your President and your government. You mentioned your ambassador in Nigeria, who has also been a great source of support, and your assistant secretary for Africa. So we really enjoy and appreciate working with them, and we are seeing very concrete results and deliverables. We look forward to continue in this path.

So thank you very much indeed, Secretary, for everything you’ve done.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Geoffrey. (Applause.)

Thank you all. Now we have to go to work. (Laughter.)

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Remarks at the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission

Categories: AFRICA

Africa’s slight economic slowdown will not discourage investment, says DHL

Over the past few years, Africa has been top of mind for foreign business investment, often referred to as one of the last frontiers for economic growth and development. However, given the recent economic downturn and headwinds that the continent is experiencing – is the region still offering opportunity to investors?

The World Bank’s January 2016 Global Economic Prospects(1) reported that Sub-Saharan Africa’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at its lowest rate since 2009 in 2015 with a growth of a 3.4%. This was down from the 4.6% and 4.9% growth that was reported in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

Hennie Heymans, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (www.dpDHL.com), says that the company firmly believes that the African continent is still one of the last frontiers for growth, and that the region will continue to grow as it has over the past decade due to the vast number of unexploited opportunities available for local and foreign investors.

“The drop in GDP growth for the region over the past year shouldn’t deter investors. Africa will continue to thrive, albeit, at a slightly slower pace as previously experienced.

Similar to the global environment – which reported growth of 2.4%(2) in 2015 (down 0.2% year on year) – it was a tough year economically for Africa. Compounded by a drop in the demand for the continent’s commodities resulting in falling prices, declining currencies, political instability and El Nino causing widespread drought, have all contributed to the region’s challenges. However, despite this, the region remains abound with untapped prospects and offers growth opportunities in 2016 for those willing to seek them out,” says Heymans.

This is supported by the latest World Bank’ Africa’s Pulse(3). Author and Acting Chief Economist: World Bank Africa Region, Punam Chuhan-Pole, said on the report’s findings: “The good news is that domestic demand generated by consumption, investment, and government spending will nudge economic growth upwards to 4.4 percent in 2016, and to 4.8 percent in 20173”.

The report(2) also highlights that specific regions have higher growth prospects than others. Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania were listed as countries expected to sustain a growth of approximately 7% per year in 2015-17. This was attributed to large-scale investment into energy and transport projects, consumer spending, and investment in the resource sector.

Heymans says that based on DHL’s experience, each country offers unique growth opportunities. “For example, in Ethiopia, the telecommunications sector is a large contributor to GDP. It was reported that the country had 40 million mobile subscribers and 10 million internet connections in 2015. However with a population of over 90 million, the sector has capacity to double its contribution to GDP.

“In Mozambique, the retail sector is offering huge opportunities. With a growing middle class and shopping culture, coupled with a limited availability of common products, this sector offers opportunities for both small and large businesses.”

“With Rwanda’s ambition to become a regional ICT (Information and Communications Technology) hub, there has also been a stronger demand for communication devices and ICT-related equipment. Similarly, we’ve seen an influx of medical supplies in the country with a booming healthcare sector.”

Heymans adds that more countries in the region could be thriving if not for underdeveloped infrastructure and bureaucracy. He points to the mining sector in Madagascar as one example. “This could be a potentially lucrative opportunity for investors due to the country’s coal, nickel and ilmenite resources, however several legislative reforms are still needed.

“The opportunities are clearly there, it’s all about having a long-term, sustainable focus on the region. As we move into the second quarter of 2016, DHL Express will continue to invest in the SSA region, in our people and our network, with the ultimate goal of seeing Africa thriving,” concludes Heymans.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Notes to editor:
(1) World Bank’s January 2016 Global Economic Prospects
(2) World Bank Africa’s Pulse – October 2015
(3) Drop in Global Commodity Prices, Electricity Bottlenecks, and Security Risks Slow Africa’s Economic Growth: http://www.apo.af/lmiS4g

Media Contact:
Megan Collinicos
Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa
DHL Express
Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570
megan.collinicos@dhl.com

DHL – The logistics company for the world
DHL (www.dpDHL.com) is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 340,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.
DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 59 billion euros in 2015.

Source:: Africa’s slight economic slowdown will not discourage investment, says DHL

Categories: AFRICA

On the Libyan Government of National Accord

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 30, 2016

The United States welcomes the Libyan Presidency Council’s arrival in Tripoli on March 30.

The Libyan people, supported by the United States and our partners in the international community, have worked toward this moment for nearly two years. The Government of National Accord can now begin the crucial work of addressing the full range of Libya’s political, security, economic, and humanitarian challenges.

We reiterate calls by the Libyan Political Dialogue and the international community for all Libyan public institutions to facilitate and support a peaceful and orderly transition in the capital, and we urge all Libyans to support the Government of National Accord.

Now is not the time for obstructionists to hold back progress, but rather for all Libyans throughout the country to embrace this historic opportunity for a peaceful and more prosperous Libya.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: On the Libyan Government of National Accord

Categories: AFRICA

Foreign Secretary statement on Libya

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The arrival of the Presidency Council in the capital of Libya is an important step towards the establishment of an effective Government of National Accord to heal the divisions in Libya and bring peace and security to the Libyan people. We stand ready to respond positively to requests for support and assistance from the GNA to help them restore stability to Libya, rebuild the economy, fight Daesh and tackle the criminal gangs that threaten the security of Libyans and exploit illegal migrants.

I call on the Libyan people to give this Government of National Accord their full backing to help them deal effectively with the many challenges they face.

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

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Source:: Foreign Secretary statement on Libya

Categories: AFRICA

Four new Ambassadors present Credentials to AU Commission Chairperson

Four new Ambassadors to the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representatives to the African Union have presented their letters of Credence to the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The new Permanent Representatives included three AU Member States (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritania) and one non-AU Member State; Chile. They submitted their letters to Dr. Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday, 30 March 2016, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The new Burundian Permanent Representative to the African Union is Amb. Dieudonne Ndabarushima. He takes up the new assignment after representing his country in France. After presenting his credentials, Amb. Ndabarushima took the opportunity to express the gratitude of President Pierre Nkurunziza and the people of Burundi for the sustained support of the AU in resolving the Burundian crisis. He said that the Burundian government is doing everything possible to ensure the resuming of dialogue, for peace to reign and for Burundi to contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063. They also discussed the situation of the Burundian peacekeeping contingent in Somalia, among other things.

H.E. Claude Naymugambo followed to present his Credentials as the newly appointed Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU. He expressed the gratitude of President Joseph Kabila and the people of the DRC to the AU’s support with the Dialogue process aimed at contributing to sustainable peace in the country. The new Permanent Representative pledged to strengthen the presence of his country at the AU.

The new Ambassador of Mauritania to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative of the AU, H.E. Bass Abal Abasse was the third AU Member State to present his credentials. He equally pledged his support to the activities of the AU, as well as strengthening the relationship between Mauritania and the African Union.

The Chilean Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, H.E. Jaime Chomali, was the only representative of a non-AU Member State to present his Credentials to the AU Commission Chairperson. He delivered greetings from the Chilean President, H.E. Michelle Bachelet, stating the importance of Chile’s relationship with Africa. He said Chile is re-opening its diplomatic presence in Ethiopia after forty-six years of absence. Ambassador Jaime Chomali also announced the imminent visit of President Michelle Bachelet to Africa sometime this year.

The AU Commission Chairperson exchanged brief courtesies with each of the new Permanent Representatives, availing her office to work with them and wishing each one of them a successful tour of duty.

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

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Source:: Four new Ambassadors present Credentials to AU Commission Chairperson

Categories: AFRICA

Advocacy and Communication Cluster (ACC) meeting at the margin of the 17th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) for Africa

INVITATION TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

WHEN: Friday, 1ST April 2016

TIME: 3:00 – 5:00 PM

WHERE: Conference Center of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

WHO: The meeting is organised by the two co-chairs of the Advocacy and Communication Cluster (ACC): the Directorate of Information and Communication of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) of the United Nations

WHY: The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the future mandate of the Advocacy and Communication Cluster under the possible realignment of the cluster system to Agenda 2063 priorities and to present the RCM Communication strategy that will be tabled at the 17th RCM.

Objective: The main objective of the ACC meeting is to exchange views on how to better mainstream advocacy and communications efforts in the RCM system and how to reach out to the other clusters to organize joint activities aligned with the AU Agenda 2063, notably, its Ten Years Implementation Plan and to raise awareness on the flagship projects under Agenda 2063.

Specific Objectives: This will include the following:

a) To ensure that influential media follow the ethical principles of objectivity and balance in their coverage of Africa’s development process; and

(b) To contribute to changing the narrative on the continent.

These dual objectives will not only enhance communication on the implementation of the objectives of RCM-Africa, and specifically the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, but will also promote collaboration and the exchange of information among and between clusters and sub-clusters.

Expected outcomes: Popularizing Agenda 2063 will be an ongoing activity, based on the communication strategy for Agenda 2063.

There is need to enhance visibility and raise awareness around the eight priority flagship projects of Agenda 2063 First Year Implementation Plan which are to establish:

An integrated high-speed train network;

A continental free trade area;
A commodities strategy;
An African passport and the free movement of people;
Capitalized opportunities in the aviation sector within the framework of the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision on the Unification of the African Air Space;
The Grand Inga Dam Project, realized under the flagship programme for infrastructure and energy;
An effective communication strategy;
A pan-African e-network.

Participants: Participants will include:

African Union Commission.
African Development Bank.
NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency.
African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat.
Economic Community of West African States.
Economic Community of Central African States.
East African Community.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Southern African Development Community.
Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Arab Maghreb Union.
All agencies and organizations of the United Nations system working in support of Africa, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Partners and friends of RCM-Africa, including bilateral organizations.

Background: The proposed communication strategy for the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) is based on the principles of the African Union Communication, Advocacy and Marketing Strategy (2014-2017) and adopted by the AU leadership in March 2014.

It outlines the target clientele, communication challenges and the resources both at hand and those needed. Once approved, the strategy will lead to an action plan with performance indicators.

The proposed strategy aims at ensuring that information is communicated effectively both, internally within RCM-Africa as well as externally to a clearly identified target audience.

The subsidiary objectives of the strategy are to:

Assist in building and strengthening the capacity, structure, resourcing and staffing of the Directorate of Information and Communication of the African Union Commission and its ability to fulfil the communication needs of the African Union and its regional and specialized agencies
Build the capacity of the African Union to enhance its visual identity and efforts to rebrand Africa though the use of the most effective tools and appropriate networks
Support enhancing skills within the Directorate through staff secondments and/or exchange programmes
Establish a core network of journalists from renowned media outlets on the continent and the Diaspora who can support the mandate of the Directorate to promote African Union activities
Strengthen the working relationship with press attachés of embassies based in Addis Ababa and enable them to engage their respective national media by providing them with reliable information on the joint activities of the African Union and the United Nations

About Agenda 2063 and the 10-year Implementation Plan

The Agenda 2063, a plan for Africa’s structural transformation, was agreed upon by African Heads of State at the African Union Golden Jubilee Summit of May 2013. Based on the Solemn Declaration, the Summit pledged to develop and pursue a transformational Agenda through eight key areas: (a) African identity and renaissance; (b) the struggle against colonialism and the right to self-determination of people still under colonial rule; (c) an integration agenda; (d) an agenda for social and economic development; (e) an agenda for peace and security; (f) democratic governance; (g) determining Africa’s destiny; and (h) Africa’s place in the world.

The Agenda is founded on the AU vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.” The Agenda also builds on the AU Constitutive Act and Regional frameworks.

The Agenda is also anchored on the AU vision and is based on the seven aspirations derived from the wide consultations, namely:

A Prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development;
An Integrated Continent, Politically United, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the Vision of Africa’s Renaissance;
An Africa of Good Governance, Respect for Human Rights, Justice and the Rule of Law;
A Peaceful and Secure Africa;
An Africa with a strong Cultural Identity, Common Heritage, Values and Ethics;
An Africa whose development is people-driven, especially relying on the potential offered by its women and youth; and
Africa as a Strong, Resilient and Influential Global Player and Partner.

JOURNALISTS ARE INVITED TO COVER THE ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATION CLUSTER MEETING ON 1ST APRIL 2016 AT THE UNECA CONFERENCE CENTER.

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

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Source:: Advocacy and Communication Cluster (ACC) meeting at the margin of the 17th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) for Africa

Categories: AFRICA

Statement by the HRVP Federica Mogherini on the arrival of Libyan Presidency Council in Tripoli

The arrival of the Presidency Council in the capital represents a unique opportunity for Libyans from all factions to reunite and reconcile on the basis of the Libyan Political Agreement. This is an important step for Libya’s democratic transition and for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, in line with the wishes of the Libyan people.

It is crucial for Libyan institutions, actors and stakeholders, to show support and work with the Presidency Council and the Government National Accord.

The EU and its Member States reiterate its full commitment to support Libya and to accompany the full implementation of the political agreement, working in close partnership with the GNA.

The EU has a package of immediate and substantial support totalling 100m€ in a number of different areas. The implementation will be prioritised upon the request of the Libyan authorities.

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

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Source:: Statement by the HRVP Federica Mogherini on the arrival of Libyan Presidency Council in Tripoli

Categories: AFRICA

Statement by the HRVP Federica Mogherini on the arrival of Libyan Presidency Council in Tripoli

The arrival of the Presidency Council in the capital represents a unique opportunity for Libyans from all factions to reunite and reconcile on the basis of the Libyan Political Agreement. This is an important step for Libya’s democratic transition and for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, in line with the wishes of the Libyan people.

It is crucial for Libyan institutions, actors and stakeholders, to show support and work with the Presidency Council and the Government National Accord.

The EU and its Member States reiterate its full commitment to support Libya and to accompany the full implementation of the political agreement, working in close partnership with the GNA.

The EU has a package of immediate and substantial support totalling 100m€ in a number of different areas. The implementation will be prioritised upon the request of the Libyan authorities.

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

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Source:: Statement by the HRVP Federica Mogherini on the arrival of Libyan Presidency Council in Tripoli

Categories: AFRICA

A pioneering webinar to bring together Supplier Management representatives from Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Tunisian aerospace manufacturers

In partnership with the Tunisian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) (www.InvestInTunisia.tn), the USAID-financed Business Reform & Competitiveness Project (BRCP) sponsored a pioneering webinar to bring together Supplier Management representatives from Boeing Defense, Space & Security (www.Boeing.com/defense) and Tunisian aerospace manufacturers.

Boeing presented eligibility requirements and a road map for what it takes to become a Boeing supplier, after which FIPA provided an overview of the Tunisian aerospace industry. In this regard, there are over 70 companies in the aerospace industry in Tunisia, primarily supplying European Union markets. FIPA also presented Tunisia’s value proposition, driven by a highly competitive cost structure and an excellent training infrastructure, which continues to produce highly trained engineers and technical specialists. The presentation also highlighted the cutting edge aerospace production capacity which exists in Tunisia, including a Tunisian light plane manufactured for international markets.

Four Tunisian aerospace companies presented their operations and products. Each company highlighted their technical and quality management capabilities across a broad array of aerospace supply chain activities that included assembly, engineering, metal sheet fabrication, precision mechanics, mechatronics, electronics boxes, aero-structures, wire harnesses, aircraft interiors and technical plastics.

The event provided a unique opportunity for a number of high tech Tunisian enterprises to communicate directly with the US aerospace leader and to receive valuable feedback as they look to expand brand visibility in international markets. As the session came to a close, the representatives of Boeing, FIPA, and the Tunisian companies agreed to continue their dialogue. The webinar represents a successful first step towards the establishment of aerospace business linkages with Boeing.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Agence de Promotion de l’Investissement Extérieur (FIPA) – Tunisie.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Beligh Ben Soltane, Marketing & Communication Director (beligh.bensoltane@fipa.tn), and/or Mr Abdelbasset Ghanmi, Sector Marketing Director (abdelbasset.ghanmi@fipa.tn), FIPA Tunisia, Ms Eya Chemli, BRCP/Pragma Corp. (Echemli@pragmacorp.com)

Source:: A pioneering webinar to bring together Supplier Management representatives from Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Tunisian aerospace manufacturers

Categories: AFRICA