UN Secretary-General’s message on Africa Day

NEW YORK, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Each year, Africa Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and to reflect on its challenges. The dominant story of the year has been the Ebola crisis that swept West Africa, claiming at least 11,000 lives and threatening hard-won social, economic and political achievements. With great courage and determination, and with the generous support of African nations and the international community, the affected countries have made remarkable progress toward ending the outbreak. Now, we have to intensify efforts to “get to zero and stay at zero” cases, repair the damage, and strengthen social and institutional resilience throughout the continent. To help mobilize support for this important task I will convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference at the United Nations in New York in July.

Africa continues to make steady economic, social and political progress. Overall, the continent’s economy grew by roughly 4 per cent in 2014, creating one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted positive economic expansion in Africa’s history. As a result, a growing number of Africans have joined the middle class each year. With investment in education, health and infrastructure increasing, the prospects for much of Africa are bright.

The challenge is to spread these benefits of Africa’s progress more broadly and deeply, particularly to the women and girls who represent Africa’s future. If we empower women, we help build better, more equal and more prosperous societies. I commend the commitment of the African Union to gender equality and the empowerment of women as part of its Agenda 2063, and I welcome the declaration of 2015 as the year of women’s empowerment in Africa.

While we work to break down the social, economic, environmental and cultural obstacles that women and girls face, let us also recognize the gains that have been made. Africa leads the world in female representation in Parliaments, and the continent has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship. Let us be inspired by these successes and intensify efforts to provide Africa’s women with better access to education, work and healthcare, and by doing so, accelerate Africa’s transformation. Let us also do more to end violence against women and girls while strengthening their role in all fields, including peacebuilding. Despite an overall decline in the number of conflicts, too many Africans still experience violent conflict. Women and girls bear the brunt, and are frequent targets of sexual violence and abuse.

We know that conflicts breed where people suffer from poor governance, human rights violations, exclusion and poverty. I therefore applaud Africa’s vision to build, by 2063, a peaceful and prosperous continent where democracy, human rights and the rule of law are entrenched and flourishing, starting with the aim to silence all guns by 2020. I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to work with the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities, and African countries and their citizens, to make this vision a reality.

Source:: UN Secretary-General’s message on Africa Day

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Africa – A land worth exploring

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Africa Day 2015 is an opportunity to celebrate the development of the African continent as well as consider the various opportunities that it offers. This is according to Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (http://www.dpdhl.com), who not only believes that the continent offers vast opportunities but also that it is one of the last frontiers for economic growth and development.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

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Photo Charles Brewer: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/charles-brewer-1.jpg (Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa)

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Africa Union (AU), and acts as a reminder of the continent’s rich culture, diversity as well as its resilience and the various developing economies on the continent.

Brewer explains that as DHL Express has been present in Africa for 37 years, the company has witnessed the turnaround from the ‘forgotten continent’ to ‘Africa Rising’, which has been an amazing and insightful experience.

“Despite the recent prediction by the World Bank that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will slow in 2015, the continent still remains relatively unexplored which indicates untapped opportunities in the region. We remain positive about Africa’s potential and believe that it’s time for the continent to focus on the opportunities, connect across the continent to leverage cross-border and global opportunities and grow as one.”

To meet the increased needs of the burgeoning middle class in the region, DHL Express has continued their aggressive expansion strategy in their efforts to make logistics more accessible. “With the rise of e-commerce, global markets are more attractive and accessible to individuals and local businesses, therefore we need to make sure that we are well positioned to cater to their needs. We currently have 3800 retail outlets across Sub Saharan Africa,” adds Brewer.

In the spirit of Africa Day, Brewer also points to one of the many projects conceptualised and implemented by DHL Express on the continent – DHL Africa as One – which highlights the company’s continuous commitment to investing in Africa. “As part of this epic journey, a team from DHL, the official logistics partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, is driving across Africa in three Land Rover Discoveries, while capturing every step of the journey, every person, every place and every pass on film, in photographs and words, and then sharing this content with Africa and the world. Part of the journey includes passing a single rugby ball from hand to hand through 45 African countries, over 11 months, from Cape Town and ending in London in September 2015.

We have passed the half way mark and the team is currently in Niger, en route to Chad. The tour is not just about rugby, but about showcasing Africa to the rest of the world and making an impact on the continent. In addition to the rugby clinics that take place as part of the journey, we are distributing over 500 000 units of stationery to young children and providing free eye tests for thousands of people, through our partnership with Mercy Ships.”

More than ever, global companies are now looking to expand into Africa and invest in its diverse markets and people. “DHL is committed to play a continued role in developing the continent through its investments and initiatives aimed at connecting Africa to the world,” concludes Brewer.

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

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 (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. DHL’s family of divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With more than 325,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, they connect people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including e-Commerce, technology, life science 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 56 billion euros in 2014.

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

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Source:: Africa – A land worth exploring

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Red Cross helps strengthen Sierra Leone’s broken healthcare system

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With basic and essential health services strained by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Red Cross is taking steps to help reconnect communities with basic health services. Most health programmes stopped when the Ebola epidemic began one year ago, and are only now starting up again.

“Not only did hundreds of health care workers lose their lives to the disease, parents became frightened to take their children for regular vaccinations, believing they might become infected with Ebola. Consequently, a large number of young children have missed out on their measles vaccination and remain vulnerable should there be an outbreak,” said Moulaye Camara, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Sierra Leone.

Beginning 29 May, and as part of a mass measles immunization campaign, volunteers with the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society will go door-to-door to check for unvaccinated children. Their parents will then be encouraged to take them to the mobile health units which are being deployed by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to villages across the country.

Aimed at reaching 1.5 million children, volunteers will explain to parents the need to protect their children against diseases other than Ebola. “Red Cross volunteers are trusted and respected voices within their communities and can play a key role in regaining the confidence of parents in national immunization programmes,” said Camara.

The week-long campaign follows from a four-day campaign at the start of May during which Red Cross volunteers raised awareness about the importance of measles vaccinations in communities across the country. That exercise is already resulting in positive changes in behaviour.

“Parents are coming back to the hospitals because they have started to trust again and appreciate us. They want to keep their children safe from diseases like measles,” said Melisand Bascho George, a child and maternal health nurse in Freetown.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world with a maternal mortality ratio of 1,165 per 100,000 live births, and an under 5 mortality rate of 156 per 1,000 live births. (WHO / Global Health Observatory 2013)

It has been one year since Ebola arrived in Sierra Leone, and while the Red Cross continues to respond to new Ebola cases, it is also planning for recovery which will, in part, include collaborating with government and other partners to strengthen the country’s broken healthcare system.

“The Red Cross can play a vital role in ensuring community health programmes are stronger than they were before Ebola,” added Camara. “Our trained volunteers can rapidly deliver crucial and culturally sensitive health messages, enabling communities to make informed decisions about their health care. We must ensure that Red Cross volunteers are integrated into community health systems as they begin to recover.”

Source:: Red Cross helps strengthen Sierra Leone’s broken healthcare system

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Africa unity can enhance ecological farming

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As we celebrate diverse cultures and traditions that unite us on this Africa day, let’s not forget our small holder farmers; those brave men and women who toil hard each day to ensure Africa has enough to feed itself.

Small holder farmers produce 70% of Africa’s food using only a quarter of the Africa’s land. Ultimately, they are the ones who have become custodians of indigenous knowledge and varieties.Yet they lack support from governments and donors who chose to fund industrial Agriculture in the believe that it will address food insecurity and poverty eradication on the continent.

“Africa ought to unite and promote ecological farming because it ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow by protecting soil, water and climate. It promotes biodiversity, and does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs.”said Greenpeace Africa’s Executive Director, Michael O’Brien Onyeka.

Between 2009 and 2011, East Africa received a combined USD $2.4 billion of agricultural development assistance, averaging $811 million per year. Most of this agricultural aid money came from a small number of donors.

“There is need for greater investment into sustainable and climate resilient agricultural systems. Donors and governments can provide crucial financial, technical, capacity and network-building assistance to scale-up ecological farming initiatives.” continued Onyeka.

So on this day, as we gather to celebrate Africa’s beauty and cultural dynamics, lets spare a thought for that small scale farmer and ask our governments and other stakeholders to support the very person that feeds the continent by committing to support them with sustainable ecological farming.

Greenpeace Africa calls on African leaders and funders to Increase overall financial, research, and technical support to ecological farming and to support the integration of local ecologically-grown crops into public food procurement systems.

Source:: Africa unity can enhance ecological farming

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Security Council Press Statement on Burundi

NEW YORK, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the killing of Mr. Zedi Feruzi, leader of the opposition Union pour la paix et le développement (UPD) Zigamibanga party in Burundi, and his bodyguard, on 23 May 2015 in Bujumbura. The members of the Security Council also condemned the grenade attack in Bujumbura’s central market on 22 May 2015 that left two dead and many others injured.

The Security Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. They urged the Burundian authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their call on all Burundian stakeholders to demonstrate their sense of responsibility and exercise calm and restraint in the interest of peace and reconciliation in Burundi. They called on the Burundian authorities to take concrete steps to prevent further violence, whilst respecting fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

The members of the Security Council called on all Burundian stakeholders to pursue the consultative political dialogue facilitated by the Special Envoy for the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, Mr Said Djinnit, and representatives of the African Union, the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, to create an environment conducive to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Burundi, in the spirit of the Arusha Agreements.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their intent to respond to violent acts which threaten peace and security in Burundi.

Source:: Security Council Press Statement on Burundi

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Didier Reynders condemns murder of Zedi Feruzi in Burundi

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, May 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders condemns the murder of opposition figure Zedi Feruzi and his bodyguard. He also condemns the attack on the central market of Bujumbura that killed two and injured many people. He extends his condolences to the family and friends of the victims.

Belgium calls for an impartial investigation, under UN monitoring, in order to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Didier Reynders calls on all actors to show restraint to refrain from using violence. It is also essential that all stakeholders commit to creating swiftly the conditions required to organise peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections, in the spirit of the Arusha Agreements. Didier Reynders therefore encourages Burundian stakeholders to pursue the consultative political dialogue facilitated by his Special Envoy Said Djinnit and representatives of the African Union, the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL).

Source:: Didier Reynders condemns murder of Zedi Feruzi in Burundi

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