UK and US support Malawi with pharmacy storage units

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The UK and US Governments, through the Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are working together with Ministry of Health to reduce the problem of lack of appropriate medical supplies storage in Malawi’s health facilities.

The UK Government has provided £3.8 million and the US Government $2.5 million to purchase and install 115 pre-assembled pharmacy storage units in 106 health facilities across Malawi.

The pharmacy storage units, which take only two to four days to install, will help reduce deterioration of medical supplies, and the potential pilferage of pharmaceuticals . The new storage facilities will also create additional space for other clinical use.

Head of DFID in Malawi, Philip Smith said:

“As one of the leading partners in advancing the health sector in Malawi, the UK is committed to supporting more efficient use of clinical resources. These new storage facilities will address the very serious constraint to the availability of quality medicines for the people of Malawi, which puts the lives of millions of poor children and adults at risk.”

USAID Mission Director, Doug Arbuckle, said:

“Malawi is now under a great deal of scrutiny. It needs to demonstrate greater accountability for managing life-saving medicines. Without a strong commitment to do so, support from our two governments, as well as those of other donors, could be very well shifted elsewhere.”

The first unit was commissioned today at Chitedze Health Centre in Lilongwe and the project of installing all units is expected to take four months.

A 2014 USAID Assessment found that 77% (559 of 732) of Malawi health facilities have less than half of the pharmacy storage space required to meet current demands. The situation will only get worse as the population grows

Each of the prefabricated units comes with 100mm panels with Chromadek roof sheeting; a roof of galvanized and IBR sheeting; 2 air conditioners; double door with security gates; shelving and pallets; and a desk, cabinet and chair.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission – Lilongwe.

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UK and US support Malawi with pharmacy storage units

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The UK and US Governments, through the Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are working together with Ministry of Health to reduce the problem of lack of appropriate medical supplies storage in Malawi’s health facilities.

The UK Government has provided £3.8 million and the US Government $2.5 million to purchase and install 115 pre-assembled pharmacy storage units in 106 health facilities across Malawi.

The pharmacy storage units, which take only two to four days to install, will help reduce deterioration of medical supplies, and the potential pilferage of pharmaceuticals . The new storage facilities will also create additional space for other clinical use.

Head of DFID in Malawi, Philip Smith said:

“As one of the leading partners in advancing the health sector in Malawi, the UK is committed to supporting more efficient use of clinical resources. These new storage facilities will address the very serious constraint to the availability of quality medicines for the people of Malawi, which puts the lives of millions of poor children and adults at risk.”

USAID Mission Director, Doug Arbuckle, said:

“Malawi is now under a great deal of scrutiny. It needs to demonstrate greater accountability for managing life-saving medicines. Without a strong commitment to do so, support from our two governments, as well as those of other donors, could be very well shifted elsewhere.”

The first unit was commissioned today at Chitedze Health Centre in Lilongwe and the project of installing all units is expected to take four months.

A 2014 USAID Assessment found that 77% (559 of 732) of Malawi health facilities have less than half of the pharmacy storage space required to meet current demands. The situation will only get worse as the population grows

Each of the prefabricated units comes with 100mm panels with Chromadek roof sheeting; a roof of galvanized and IBR sheeting; 2 air conditioners; double door with security gates; shelving and pallets; and a desk, cabinet and chair.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission – Lilongwe.

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Sweden responds to El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia

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The Government of Sweden contributes US$ 5.7 million to UNICEF to save children’s lives and protect children affected by El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia. This is the single largest crisis contribution of Sweden to UNICEF globally this year. In addition to the grant provided through UNICEF Ethiopia, Sweden has provided US$25 million to the drought response in Ethiopia since September 2015.

The Swedish support comes at a critical time when Ethiopia is currently facing the worst drought in decades leaving 10.2 million people, including 6 million children, in need of emergency assistance. It also created critical water shortages in Somali, Afar, parts of SNNP, eastern Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions. Poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, resulting from water shortage, are also contributing to an increase in disease outbreaks.

In addition, the number of severely malnourished children who need therapeutic feeding treatment continues to increase. UNICEF, together with the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners, is stepping up efforts to address the needs of 458,000 children under five with Severe Acute Malnutrition and 2.5 million children, pregnant and lactating women with Moderate Acute Malnutrition.[1]

“Sweden has been a strong humanitarian and development partner to Ethiopia over the years. We are very committed to support the country in the struggle to combat and prevent the effects of the worst drought Ethiopia has seen in over 50 years,” said H.E. Jan Sadek, Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia. “Sweden is determined to continue to work for a deeper integration between humanitarian relief and long term development objectives. The partners in Ethiopia have come quite far in this integration but more needs to be done. We believe that in this regard, UNICEF, which has a mandate in both ‘spheres’, is playing a key role.”

Together with other donors, Sweden’s support enabled UNICEF to make the largest global purchase of Therapeutic Food for children in drought-stricken Ethiopia. With this new funding, UNICEF will work towards improving the capacity of health extension workers on Severe Acute Malnutrition management.

In addition, new stabilization centres will be established in existing health centres to cater to the increasing number of children with severe acute malnutrition. The contribution will also strengthen Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams which provide lifesaving primary health care, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation promotion services in hard hit drought areas of the Afar and Somali regions. Furthermore, water will be provided to primary schools for drinking as well as for routine handwashing in the Oromia Region.

“UNICEF appreciates the Government of Sweden’s generous contribution of life saving interventions for children and their families whose lives have been affected by the El-Niño driven drought emergency,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. “UNICEF, together with the Government of Ethiopia and partners, continues to play an important role in scaling up its interventions in terms of nutrition, health, water sanitation and hygiene, child protection and education to mitigate the worst impact of this crisis.”

[1] http://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/ECO_ElNino_Emergency_Fast_Facts_June_2016.pdf

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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3rd Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation: Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha underscores the importance of Media in shaping the narrative and promoting the rich socio-cultural diversity and economic growth of Africa and China

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H.E Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), led an AU delegation to attend the Third Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation on 21 – 22 June 2016, in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Holding under the theme: “Win-win cooperation, common development”, the forum which brought together close to 350 high level media professionals and Government Members in Charge of Communication from some 45 African countries, was aimed to deepen cooperation in the media sector and boost the development of Africa- China ties. Participants also exchanged views on expanding new areas of media cooperation, promoting bilateral friendship and common development among others. According to the organisers, the China-Africa Media Cooperation forum is the implementation of one of the outcomes reached during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Media Forum was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, supported by the China Radio and TV Co. for International Techno-Economic Cooperation, the Star Times Group and Hixua Film Distribution and Co. It was co-hosted by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China (SAPPRFT) and the African [DSCN5344] Union of Broadcasting (AUB).

Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, Mr. Mwencha highlighted three areas of focus which he said was of critical importance for the media to play its rightful role in bridging the gaps between the people of Africa and China. They are: building the capacity of the media through training programs, infrastructure development and institution building; enhance industrialization through transfer technology; and cooperation in cyber security and digitalization. He stressed that in other “to tell our stories and in fostering the development agenda in our continents, there is need to strengthen the skills and capacity of the media through media networking and media development”, among others. He invited the media representatives as well as the Ministers of Information and Communication to fully contribute in the implementation of the Africa Agenda 2063 and its Ten Year Implementation Plan.

[DSCN5340] With regards to digitalization of broadcasting and new media development, Mr. Mwencha explained that “we need to strategize on how we can use different multimedia channels including the social media to customize the information for our different categories of audience”. He noted that “Information and Communication Technologies have transformed the way we relay information by diversifying the communication landscape and media is critical in reinforcing the relationship between Africa and China “as there is so much potential between our two peoples.”

Deputy Chairperson Mwencha expressed appreciation to the Government of China for organizing such a forum which he said comes at a right time when the African continent is highly attracting international investment and its rapidly increasing population constitutes a large market for the world economic growth. Therefore the media has an important role to play in publicizing and promoting the investment opportunities in both China and Africa.

“We need to build the understanding and confidence among our people and to see the opportunities and capacity of all the stakeholders and actors- that is, the government, the private sector and the citizenry to develop our continents” stressed the AUC Deputy Chairperson. (See complete speech of H.E Mwencha on the AU website: www.au.int )

On his part, H.E Cai Fuchao, Minister of China SAPPRFT said “China will hold firm and adhere to the “genuine, frank, close, and sincere” principle so as to develop media cooperation with Africa in an all-round way. He indicated that the Chinese media will work with their African counterparts to consolidate the basis for their cooperation, expand space for cooperation, and broaden areas of cooperation to promote China-Africa media ties to a new level and make new contributions to the development of the comprehensive China-Africa strategic partnership. The Minister noted that China and African countries have showed the willingness to further enhance exchanges in radio, film and television.

The following thematic issues were discussed during the panel sessions with the Communication Ministers and broadcasters: Policies exchanges on broadcasting and film between China and Africa; Media cooperation and capacity building; Digitalization and development of new media, among other.

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

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Sudan’s declaration of cessation of hostilities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states

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The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by the Government of Sudan of a four-month unilateral cessation of hostilities, beginning on 18 June 2016, in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. He also welcomes the six-month unilateral cessation of hostilities declared by the Sudan Revolutionary Forces in the Two Areas and Darfur on 28 April 2016. These commitments should ease the suffering of the people living in the affected areas. The Secretary-General urges the parties to allow and facilitate urgently needed humanitarian access to these areas.

The Secretary General reiterates his call for the Parties which have not signed the Road-map proposed by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to do so, and to continue talks with the Government of Sudan and other parties engaged in dialogue inside Sudan to reach agreement on a process for final peace through inclusive national dialogue.

New York, 22 June 2016

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

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Nigeria / Borno State: at least 24,000 displaced people in dire health situation in Bama

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A catastrophic humanitarian emergency is currently unfolding in a camp for internally displaced people in Borno State, Nigeria, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Wednesday.

For several hours on June 21, an MSF medical team was able to access the town of Bama in northeastern Nigeria, where 24,000 people, including 15,000 children, among them 4,500 are under 5, are sheltered in a camp located on a hospital compound. During those few hours, the MSF medical team discovered a health crisis, referring 16 severely malnourished children at immediate risk of death to the MSF in-patient therapeutic feeding center in Maiduguri. . A rapid nutritional screening of more than 800 children found that 19 percent were suffering from severe acute malnutrition—the deadliest form of malnutrition.

“This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical,” said Ghada Hatim, MSF head of mission in Nigeria. “We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors.”

During its assessment, the MSF team counted 1233 cemetery graves located near the camp which had been dug in the past year. Many of those graves—480—were of children

“Bama is largely closed off,” said Hatim. “We have been told that people including children there half starved to death. According to the accounts given to MSF by displaced people in Bama new graves are appearing on a daily basis. We were told more than 30 people are dying a day due to hunger and illness.”

Since May 23, at least 188 people have died in the camp—almost six people per day—mainly from diarrhea and malnutrition.

Between June 13 and 15, Nigerian authorities and a local NGO organized the evacuation of 1,192 people requiring medical care from the Bama area to the city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. This group of mostly women and children, was placed in the “Camp Nursing ‘ internally displaced camp. Of the 466 children screened by MSF medical teams at Camp Nursing, 66 percent were emaciated, and 39 percent of these children had a severe form of malnutrition. Upon assessment, 78 children had to be immediately hospitalized in the MSF feeding center which has inpatient capacity of 86 beds.

MSF has been present in Borno State, Maiduguri, since May 2014. It supports two hospitals, two clinics, two clinics in the camps where displaced people can come see for free. Over the past few months, MSF has developed significant activities to provide water and acceptable hygiene conditions in some camps Maiduguri, where it operates and continues to conduct epidemiological surveillance in these populations. In 2015, MSf has provided more than 116,300 medical consultations, conducted 1,330 deliveries and supported 6,000 malnourished children

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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Orange completes acquisition of mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso

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Orange (www.Orange.com) announces today that, together with its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire, it has completed the acquisition of 100% of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso. Since the signature of an agreement with Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV (“Airtel”) in January 2016, Orange has obtained all the official approbations necessary to complete this transaction.

Airtel is the 2nd largest mobile operator in Burkina Faso, with close to 4.6 million customers (on the basis of active customers within a 30-day period). On the mobile financial services market, Airtel is the uncontested leader and is already interoperable with Orange Money in neighbouring countries allowing international transfers to be made. Airtel is also positioned as the country’s leading Internet provider thanks to its extensive 3.75G network, which has been rolled out in over 100 towns.

With 18 million inhabitants and a relatively high mobile penetration rate for the region (80% of the population), Burkina Faso becomes the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group.

Orange’s investments in the coming years will enable customers in Burkina Faso to take advantage of the Orange group’s expertise and momentum in terms of innovation and development of the digital ecosystem, thus responding to a strong expectation from customers in Burkina Faso.

This acquisition in one of the countries with the strongest growth rates in the Economic Community of West African States (5.8% annual growth of GDP) strengthens Orange’s presence in Africa by confirming is proactive strategy in the African market.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange group and Chairman & CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa), stated: “We are pleased to announce that the acquisition of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso has been finalised. This new acquisition will further strengthen the Group’s positions on the African continent.”

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

Press contacts: +33 1 44 44 93 93
Tom Wright, [email protected]
Caroline Simeoni; [email protected]

About Orange
Orange (www.Orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 40 billion euros in 2015 and 155,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2016, including 96,000 employees in France. Present in 28 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 252 million customers worldwide at 31 March 2016, including 191 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or follow us on Twitter: @presseorange.
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

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UN: Act on South Sudan Investigations

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The United Nations should make public the findings of two UN investigations into the February 2016 attack on civilians in a UN camp in South Sudan and act on their recommendations, Human Rights Watch said today.

The brutal attack on the Malakal camp for civilians displaced from conflict in South Sudan killed at least 30 camp residents and injured 123. The UN established a special investigation to examine the causes of violence, as well as an internal board of inquiry to review peacekeepers’ responses to the incident. The Security Council will be briefed on both reports and their recommendations on June 22, in a closed-door session.

“The UN did the right thing by investigating both those responsible for carrying out this horrific attack and the lackluster peacekeeper response, but a behind-the-scenes inquiry is not enough,” said Akshaya Kumar, deputy UN director at Human Rights Watch. “A camp that should have been a sanctuary came under fire, and no one has been held accountable.”

On February 16 and 17, fighting between youth inside the camp escalated along ethnic lines. In the early hours of February 18, armed Dinka men, including soldiers from the government Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), forced their way into the camp, shot civilians, and systematically burned homes of Nuer and Shilluk civilians as UN peacekeepers stood by. The UN Security Council condemned the attacks against civilians and the UN compound as possible war crimes.

A summary of the reports obtained by Human Rights Watch says that the special investigation found that, “it is difficult to exonerate the local SPLA commanders and government allied militias from involvement in the incident.” The investigation also found that the “Eastern Nile political leadership […] pursued a vigorous policy aimed at ensuring that the state would be exclusively for the Dinka ethnic group.”

The summary also states that South Sudanese soldiers in pick-up trucks assisted Dinka and Darfuri civilians as they left the camp in an orderly fashion before violence broke out.

The response by peacekeepers – composed of Ethiopian, Rwandan, and Indian contingents – was woefully inadequate. Independent researchers found that some forces waited for written authorization before using force, while others appeared to have abandoned their posts along the fence where the attackers entered. A report on the UN response by the medical group Doctors Without Borders says the peacekeepers actively blocked displaced people in the camp from reaching safety during a large part of the emergency.

The UN board of inquiry report also recommends an investigation of each case of “underperformance of troops and police” and decisive action to “hold the troop contributing countries accountable, ultimately repatriating commanders and/or units.”

The UN peacekeepers in South Sudan are mandated by the UN Security Council to use force when needed to protect civilians from imminent harm. The UN mission hosts nearly 200,000 displaced people on several of its bases. However, it has repeatedly failed to effectively protect civilians from armed attacks in or near its bases, underscoring wider problems in its effectiveness.

In April 2014, armed Dinka youths in Bor, supported by the local authorities, opened fire on the UN camp there, killing more than 50 civilians and injuring dozens. The South Sudanese government did not hold anyone to account for the killings, and a UN board of inquiry investigation into the UN response to that attack was never made public. The mission did not release its own findings on the attack until January 2015. Human Rights Watch is unaware of any steps by the UN following the Bor incident to avoid a similar attack in the future.

The precedent set in Bor created a permissive atmosphere of impunity and underlines the importance of public reporting and UN follow-up, Human Rights Watch said. On June 13, the head of UN peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, told media that the two Malakal investigation reports would soon be released. But the UN has issued only a brief note to correspondents about the reports, with limited details.

The special investigation report recommends that South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity “hold accountable the individuals identified” as responsible for the violence, including “the political and military leadership in Eastern Nile state.” It also recommends that President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar make a public televised statement condemning any form of attack “against civilians anywhere, particularly those who have sought protection in UN sites.”

The South Sudanese government has not held anyone responsible for the attack at Malakal or other serious crimes against civilians during the country’s recent conflict. In March 2016, a government investigation into the Malakal incident concluded that the violence was “instigated by political interests and the failure” of the UN peacekeepers “to arrest the situation as required by their mandate to protect civilians,” but did not investigate any local political or military authorities for their role in the violence.

Human Rights Watch and others have repeatedly urged the African Union to begin work to establish an African-South Sudanese court, envisioned in the country’s August 2015 peace agreement, to try the most serious crimes committed during the conflict.

“Holding those responsible for the Malakal attack accountable is only half the battle,” Kumar said. “The UN Security Council also should stand behind its mission in South Sudan, even when that means confronting troop-contributing countries whose soldiers aren’t delivering on their commitments.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on South Sudan, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/africa/south-sudan

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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“Between a rock and a hard place”: MSF releases a report on the response to the Malakal Protection of Citizen site attack in February

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has today released a report into the peacekeeping and humanitarian response following the attack on the Malakal Protection of Citizens (PoC) site on 17-18 February. The report finds that despite a strong military presence at the PoC site, as well as a clear mandate to protect civilians, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) failed in its duty to safeguard the people living at the site and could well have averted many fatalities. The report also shows how most humanitarian actors working in the site found themselves hamstrung and unable to respond to the acute needs of internally displaced people (IDP) during the crisis. UN security rules prevented their intervention during a short yet acute emergency gap when the need was the greatest.

When on 17 February fighting erupted inside the PoC, and later when a heavily armed external force attacked the PoC, UNMISS failed to take any immediate action. By the time hostilities ended a day later, varying reports state that between 25 and 65 civilians died, over 108 were wounded and more than 30,000 were displaced. Assessments conducted after the attack show that over 3,700 shelters, or one-third of the site, was burned down. The war-weary IDP population were left traumatised and had to rebuild their lives in the ashes of the camp.

When commenting on the launch of the report, Raquel Ayora, Director of Operations with MSF said, “Our investigation shows that UNMISS did not fulfil its mandate to protect civilians as set by the Security Council: prior to the attack, they failed to prevent the flow of weapons entering the camp; they chose not to intervene when initial fighting broke out in the camp, and when an attack came from outside the camp they were extremely slow to repel the assault.”

The PoC sites are unique and inconvenient setups for UNMISS to deal with and it is evident that its underlying objective is to close Malakal and relocate the displaced population away from the site. UNMISS is reluctant to improve the appalling living conditions in the site or to implement measures that would improve safety within the site. Currently, the living space available per person is only a third of the internationally accepted minimum standards, food distribution is barely at subsistence level and the overall provision of water is often less than 15 litres per person per day (the minimum international Sphere standard). At the same time, sexual violence is rampant in and around the site, making daily life a gamble.

A survey by MSF published alongside the report shows that over 80 per cent of the displaced people feel unsafe inside the PoC site, and have lost their trust in UNMISS after the February attack. However, the survey also shows that insecurity outside the camp was unanimously mentioned by all respondents as the main reason for not leaving the site. They find themselves truly between a rock and a hard place.

“PoC sites continue to be the only partially efficient solution for the dire protection needs of the population,” says Ayora. “Until there is a better or safer alternative, they cannot be dismantled and the protection and assistance gaps identified must be addressed. UNMISS and all humanitarian agencies should learn the lessons from this collective failure and take concrete steps to ensure that radically different decisions and actions would be taken in the event of a new attack or violence in the PoC site.”

MSF calls on the UN to publish the findings of their investigations into the events surrounding the attack on Malakal. Organisations working in Malakal PoC site need to revise and adapt their contingency plans, as well as adopt the lessons in other crises which have acute protection and assistance needs.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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Strategic Alliance Creates Leading Legal Services Provider in Central Africa

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  • Centurion Law Group (www.CenturionLawFirm.com) and Sutter & Pearce sign strategic alliance agreement to share knowledge and cooperate in providing legal services.
  • The partnership will create the largest Africa-based legal services provider in the Central African Republic, Congo and CR Congo region.
  • Parties will be able to leverage skills and expertise, expand capacity and increase client networks.

Centurion Law Group has entered a key strategic alliance with Republic of Congo-based law firm Sutter & Pearce. Together, the firms represent Central Africa’s leading Africa-based legal services provider. The agreement, signed May 25, will be a catalyst for both firms’ growth in Congo, DR Congo, Central African Republic (CAR) and other African markets.

Clients of both firms stand to gain from the new strategic alliance, with Centurion bringing its considerable pan-African resources and networks, particularly in the energy sector, and Sutter & Pearce providing extensive local knowledge in key petroleum markets, and over a decade of specialized experience in oil and gas law. The agreement is based on three key principles: sharing knowledge and resources; cooperating to offer legal services to Centurion’s clients in Congo, DR Congo and CAR; and expanding Sutter & Pearce’s practice through Centurion’s African network.

CEO of Centurion Law Group NJ Ayuk stated “Centurion stands for growth and partnership in Africa, and this new alliance with Sutter & Pearce promises mutual benefit for both parties, and greater capacity to serve clients from Bangui to Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Kinshasa.” He added “Just as we have done across Africa, we are committed to growing and developing our presence in key African markets for our clients. We are making a huge financial and technology investment into boosting capacities of African legal service providers. The CEMAC legal landscape is evolving and we will continue defying the odds and beating the doubters to write a new African chapter.” Richard Moulet, Managing Partner at Sutter & Pearce, said: “This is a momentous agreement and a win-win for both firms. Together, Sutter & Pearce and Centurion are building the most reputable and the leading legal services provider in this region.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Centurion Law Group.

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Centurion (www.CenturionLawFirm.com) is a leading pan-African legal and business advisory group with extensive experience in oil and gas. The group provides outsourced legal representation and covers a full suite of practice areas, including arbitration and commercial litigation, corporate law, tax and anti-corruption advisory and contract negotiation. Centurion specializes in assisting clients that are starting or growing a business in Africa and has its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, with offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius.

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Major boost for Zanzibar’s aquaculture industry

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The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar in partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a US$ 3.2 million aquaculture project that will run for three years. The initiative will see the development of a marine hatchery to support ecologically sustainable development of aquaculture in Zanzibar, leading to positive economic and food security outcomes.

In a message read on his behalf at the launch, Hamad Rashid Mohamed, Minister of Agriculture Natural Resources Livestock and Fisheries, said the investment reflected the strong partnership between the Government, KOICA, and FAO. “Today’s event clearly shows how our partnership has grown stronger over the last years and how mariculture sector development has become an increasingly important policy objective of this Government,” said Mohamed.

The Minister added that small-scale farming households were responsible for almost entire aquaculture production in the island thus providing the local population with an affordable source of protein. This he said was a clear indicator of the crucial role small-scale aquaculture played and its potential to scale up. He also noted that while it created jobs for farmers – thereby increasing income – it also utilized land and water resources more rationally.

Hatchery to provide cost-effective marine products

The immediate objective of the project is to support the construction and operation of a marine multi-species hatchery in Zanzibar and offer support to aquaculture farmers in Zanzibar. The operational hatchery will cost-effectively provide milkfish, crab and sea cucumber seed for outgrow farmers and other profitable aqua-farmers.

Mr. Shinyoung Pyeon, Deputy Country Director for KOICA Tanzania, lauded the cooperation in the development of this project. “In 2012, KOICA undertook a feasibility study on mariculture in Zanzibar. The results showed high demand for marine products in Zanzibar but also identified challenges. We hope this project will have a significant impact in boosting the economic growth and food security of Zanzibar”, he said.

Sustainability is crucial, partnerships key

Speaking at the same occasion, Patrick Otto, the acting FAO Representative in Tanzania, noted that the project was designed in a way that guaranteed sustainability. “Given the need for an eventual uptake of aquaculture by more entrepreneurs and for the hatchery to be driven by the needs of industry and key stakeholders, the project has incorporated an exit strategy that will ensure sustainability,” said Otto.

The plan, Otto said, included the establishment of a project board to advise and provide the strategic direction for the hatchery. The board will also promote activities to encourage the private sector participation and investment in the development of the sub-sector. The board will also engage government in mariculture related activities.

He underlined the need for the project to engage continuously with various stakeholders including; the Chamber of Commerce (ZNCCIA) and Zanzibar Investment Authority (ZIPA), which are both closely linked to the private sector, investors and farmers in communities. He, however, stressed that the small-scale farmers, entrepreneurs, and traders, indeed remained important industry stakeholders due to the fundamental role they played in profitable production, development of the value-chains, and in implementing measures to ensure access to markets.

Increased aquaculture production will encourage further investment in the sector and provide opportunities for local suppliers of equipment and feeds for aquaculture. With successful Public-Private Partnerships, operations for the hatcheries can be developed even beyond the project cycle further strengthening the islands sustainable aquaculture development.

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

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Luanda 2nd, Johannesburg 205th and Cape Town 208th According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey

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  • Hong Kong leads as Kinshasa makes big jump up the ranking ladder in Mercer’s (www.Mercer.com) 22nd annual Cost of Living Survey
  • Luanda stays to be one of the most expensive cities to live in for expatriates
  • Johannesburg drops fourteen places and Cape Town eight compared to 2015 survey

Despite volatile global markets and growing security issues, organizations continue to leverage global expansion strategies to remain competitive and to grow. Yet, few organizations are prepared for the challenges world events have on their business, including the impact on cost of expatriate packages. Mercer’s 22nd annual Cost of Living Survey finds that factors including currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices, contribute to the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments.

“Despite technology advances and the rise of a globally connected workforce, deploying expatriate employees remains an increasingly important aspect of a competitive multinational company’s business strategy,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business. “However, with volatile markets and stunted economic growth in many parts of the world, a keen eye on cost efficiency is essential, including a focus on expatriate remuneration packages. As organizations’ appetite to rapidly grow and scale globally continues, it is necessary to have accurate and transparent data to compensate fairly for all types of assignments, including short-term and local plus status.”

According to Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola to second position. Zurich and Singapore remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Tokyo is in fifth, up six places from last year. Kinshasa, ranked sixth, appears for the first time in the top 10, moving up from thirteenth place.

Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Geneva (8), N’Djamena (9), and Beijing (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Windhoek (209), Cape Town (208), and Bishkek (207).

Mercer’s widely recognized survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey includes over 375 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

“Maximizing return on investment with fewer resources and talent shortages worldwide makes growth initiatives more difficult for multinationals,” said Mr. Bonic. “Organizations must ensure they can facilitate the moves they need to drive business results by offering fair and competitive compensation packages.”

Mr. Bonic added that costs of goods and services shift with inflation and currency volatility making overseas assignment costs sometimes greater and sometimes smaller. Low levels of inflation have translated into fairly steady cost increases around the world.

The Americas

Cities in the United States have climbed in the ranking due to the strength of the US dollar against other major currencies, in addition to the significant drop of cities in other regions which resulted in US cities being pushed up the list. New York is up five places to rank 11, the highest-ranked city in the region. San Francisco (26) and Los Angeles (27) climbed eleven and nine places, respectively, from last year while Seattle (83) jumped twenty-three places.

In South America, Buenos Aires (41) ranked as the costliest city despite a twenty-two place drop from last year. San Juan, Puerto Rico (67) follows as the second most expensive location in the region, climbing twenty-two spots. The majority of other cities in South America fell as a result of weakening currencies against the US dollar despite price increases on goods and services in countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, or Uruguay. In particular, São Paolo (128) and Rio de Janeiro (156) plummeted eighty-eight and eighty-nine places, respectively, despite a strong increase for goods and services. Lima (141) dropped nineteen places while Bogota (190) fell forty-two places. Managua (192) is the least expensive city in South America. Caracas in Venezuela has been excluded from the ranking due to the complex currency situation; its ranking would have varied greatly depending on the official exchange rate selected.

Canadian cities continued to drop in this year’s ranking mainly due to the weak Canadian dollar. The country’s highest-ranked city, Vancouver (142), fell twenty-three places. Toronto (143) dropped seventeen spots, while Montreal (155) and Calgary (162) fell fifteen and sixteen spots, respectively.

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

Two European cities are among the top 10 list of most expensive cities. At number three in the global ranking, Zurich remains the most costly European city, followed by Geneva (8), down three spots from last year. The next European city in the ranking, Bern (13), is down four places from last year following the weakening of the Swiss franc against the US dollar.

Several cities across Europe remained relatively steady due to the stability of the euro against the US dollar. Paris (44), Milan (50), Vienna (54), and Rome (58) are relatively unchanged compared to last year, while Copenhagen (24) and St. Petersburg (152) stayed in the same place.

Other cities, including Oslo (59) and Moscow (67), plummeted twenty-one and seventeen places, respectively, as a result of local currencies losing significant value against the US dollar. London (17) and Birmingham, UK (96) dropped five and sixteen places, respectively, while the German cities of Munich (77), Frankfurt (88), and Dusseldorf (107) climbed in the ranking.

A few cities in Eastern and Central Europe climbed in the ranking as well, including Kiev (176) and Tirana (186) rising eight and twelve spots, respectively.

Tel Aviv (19) continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates, followed by Dubai (21), Abu Dhabi (25), and Beirut (50). Jeddah (121) remains the least expensive city in the region despite rising thirty places. “Several cities in the Middle East experienced a jump in the ranking, as they are being pushed up by other locations’ decline, as well as the strong increase for expatriate rental accommodation costs, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Jeddah,” said Ms. Constantin-Métral.

Despite dropping off the top spot on the global list, Luanda, Angola (2) remains the highest ranking city in Africa. Kinshasa (6) follows, rising seven places since 2015. Moving up one spot, N’Djamena (9) is the next African city on the list, followed by Lagos, Nigeria (13) which is up seven places. Dropping three spots, Windhoek (209) in Namibia ranks as the least expensive city in the region and globally. Johannesburg and Cape Town also drop fourteen and eight places consecutively.

“Exchange rates’ volatility amongst most African currencies and the concomitant impact thereof on inflation, some sooner and some later, directly contributes to the varying results when compared against the 2015 findings. The excessive cost of rented expatriate type accommodation in Luanda is greatly contributing to its retained status as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.” explained Mr. Carl Van Heerden Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for Africa.

Asia Pacific

This year, Hong Kong (1) emerged as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally as a consequence of Luanda’s drop in the ranking due to the weakening of its local currency. Singapore (4) remained steady while Tokyo (5) climbed six places. Shanghai (7) and Beijing (10) follow. Shenzhen (12) is up two places while Seoul (15) and Guangzhou, China (18) dropped seven and three spots, respectively.

“The strengthening of the Japanese yen pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking,” said Ms. Constantin-Métral. “However, Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.”

Mumbai (82) is India’s most expensive city, followed by New Delhi (130) and Chennai (158). Kolkata (194) and Bangalore (180) are the least expensive Indian cities ranked. Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (74), Kuala Lumpur (151) and Hanoi (106) plummeted twenty-nine, thirty-eight, and twenty places, respectively. Baku (172) had the most drastic fall in the ranking, plummeting more than one hundred places. The city of Ashkhabad in Turkmenistan climbed sixty-one spots to rank 66 globally.

Australian cities have witnessed some of the most dramatic falls in the ranking this year as the local currency has depreciated against the US dollar. Brisbane (96) and Canberra (98) dropped thirty and thirty-three spots, respectively, while Sydney (42), Australia’s most expensive ranked city for expatriates, experienced a relatively moderate drop of eleven places. Melbourne fell twenty-four spots to rank 71.

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed. For more information on city rankings, visit www.mercer.com/col. To purchase copies of individual city reports, visit https://www.imercer.com/products/cost-of-living.aspx or call Mercer Client Services in Warsaw on +48 22 434 5383.

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

Notes for editors:
The top 10 and bottom 10 cities provided below can be published, also please find a list of all Africa cities’ rankings.
The figures for Mercer’s cost of living and rental accommodation costs comparisons are derived from a survey conducted in March 2016. Exchange rates from that time and Mercer’s international basket of goods and services from its Cost of Living survey have been used as base measurements.
Governments and major companies use data from this survey to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on the demand for data.

Media Contact:
Zanele Malaza
[email protected]

About Mercer:
Mercer (www.Mercer.com) is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and performance of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer’s more than 20,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 140 countries.. Mercer South Africa was established in 2013 with their offices located in Centurion, Gauteng. For more information please visit www.mercer.com
Mercer also provides advice and market data on international and expatriate compensation management, and works with multinational companies and governments worldwide. It maintains one of the most comprehensive databases on international assignment policies; compensation practices; and data on worldwide cost of living, housing, and hardship allowances. Its annual global mobility conferences and other events provide companies with the latest trends and research on mobility issues. Visit https://www.imercer.com/EU/tabs/gm.aspx for details. Follow Mercer’s mobility news on Twitter @MercerMobility.

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Source:: Luanda 2nd, Johannesburg 205th and Cape Town 208th According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey

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