Northeast Nigeria: Bringing aid before the rains

Teams from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are scaling up assistance in anticipation of increasing humanitarian and medical needs in hard-to-reach areas of Borno state, Nigeria.

The onset of the rainy season will render some locations impossible to reach, as the countryside transforms into muddy swamps and roads disappear under water. The remote town of Rann will turn into an island, completely cut off from the outside world. Around 40,000 inhabitants and displaced people living in the area will have no assistance unless it is deployed in advance.

The rainy season coincides with the peak of malaria and increased malnutrition rates. In anticipation, MSF is deploying a mobile team to deliver medical and humanitarian support in Rann, Banki and Damasak over the coming months. Team members will carry out health consultations, give preventive treatment for malaria, distribute mosquito nets and soap, and work to improve water and sanitation. They will also screen and treat children for malnutrition.

Insecurity and logistical challenges make it difficult to provide assistance in these places, but we are working hard to step up action now before the rains come,” says Dr Moussa Sow, MSF project coordinator for the mobile rainy season teams.

People here have been displaced and many have been victims of violence. Our team will do our utmost to make sure they don’t suffer or die of preventable diseases.”

The mobile team has been pre-positioning medical and logistical supplies and is now starting medical activities. The team members will rotate in the three locations throughout the rainy season.

A second mobile team is distributing preventative malaria treatments in Bama this week, is preparing to do the same in Dikwa, and will respond to the expected increase in malaria cases in the months ahead.

Living conditions are already precarious and displaced people will depend on the continuity of food distribution to avoid malnutrition. More rain could also lead to outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and MSF has put an emergency preparation plan in place in parts of the state, including in the capital Maiduguri.

A hepatitis E outbreak has already been declared in parts of Borno state, with MSF leading the medical response in Ngala. The risk of outbreaks will be higher if crowded camps for displaced people flood, and there is insufficient access to clean water and toilets

When MSF started providing assistance in Rann in January, only one litre of water was available per person per day – far below the emergency standards. MSF and other organisations have worked to improve the water supply, enabling people in Rann to access between ten and fifteen litres of water each per day.

But MSF fears the insufficient number of latrines will lead to disease outbreaks. Teams estimate that in Rann, 279 people share each latrine. According to accepted minimum sanitation standards, one latrine should be used by a maximum of 20 people.

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

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Mozambique : IMF Staff Concludes Visit 2017

  • Performance in some sectors of the economy has improved since the latter part of 2016.
  • Growth declined to 3.8 percent in 2016 and is now projected to edge up to 4.7 percent in 2017.
  • Publication of the detailed summary of the Kroll audit report is welcomed; more needs to be done to fill the information gaps on the use of loan proceeds.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Michel Lazare visited Mozambique from July 10-19, 2017 to discuss with the authorities measures needed to follow up on the recent audit report of EMATUM, Proindicus, and MAM public sector companies. The team also assessed recent economic developments and discussed monetary and fiscal policies in the context of the 2018 budget.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Lazare issued the following statement:

“Performance in some sectors of the economy has improved since the latter part of 2016. The decisive October 2016 monetary policy tightening helped rebalance the foreign exchange market and resulted in the metical appreciating by about 30 percent vis-à-vis the US dollar since end-September 2016. This monetary stance contributed also to a decline in inflation from a year-on-year peak of 26 percent in November 2016 to about 18 percent in June, despite a large increase in fuel prices in March. Moreover, higher international coal prices and a marked increase in coal export volumes helped narrow the trade and current account deficits of the balance of payments, supporting a large accumulation of international reserves, which at end-June covered about 6 months of non-megaproject imports. On the fiscal front, the government took important steps by removing wheat and fuel subsidies and reinstating the old automatic fuel price mechanism in March.

“However, the overall outlook remains challenging. Growth declined to 3.8 percent in 2016 and is now projected to edge up to 4.7 percent in 2017, mainly on account of a surge in coal production and exports. Inflation remains elevated but is expected to decline further. Despite budget cuts in investment and in the purchase of goods and services, increased spending on wages and salaries continues to put pressure on the budget, contributing to a large accumulation of domestic arrears. Total public debt, mostly denominated in foreign currency, remains in distress and the government missed external debt payments.

“Macroeconomic policy discussions centered on the urgent need to further consolidate public finances. The team emphasized that a strong commitment to fiscal adjustment is an essential element to ensure policy sustainability, foster a decline in inflation and interest rates, limit further increases in public debt, while at the same time facilitate debt restructuring. The team stressed that the 2018 budget should decisively reduce the fiscal deficit. It should focus on eliminating tax exemptions (including for VAT), containing the expansion of the wage bill, and prioritizing the implementation of only the most critical public investments while avoiding the further accumulation of arrears. Protecting critical social programs and reinforcing the social safety net should cushion the impact of these measures on the most vulnerable segments of the population. Urgent action is also needed to strengthen the financial position of loss-making companies and limit the fiscal risks they represent.

“On the monetary side, the team welcomed the recent introduction of the new monetary policy regime centering on the use of a new policy rate (MIMO) as the central bank’s main instrument of monetary policy. The team acknowledged the strong commitment of the central bank to reduce inflation. To address financial sector vulnerabilities, the team urged the central bank to remain vigilant to risks, ensure adequate liquidity provision to the economy, and continue to step up supervision and enforcement of prudential regulations.

“The team welcomed the publication of the detailed summary of the Kroll audit report by the Public Prosecutor’s Office as an important step towards greater transparency regarding the borrowing undertaken by the Ematum, Proindicus, and MAM public companies. However, as highlighted in a June 24 press statement 17/243, while the report summary provides useful information on how the loans were contracted and on assets purchased by the companies, critical information gaps remain unaddressed regarding the use of loans proceeds. The team urged the government to take steps to fill the information gaps and to enhance its action plan to strengthen transparency, improve governance, and ensure accountability.

“The team met with Prime Minister Carlos do Rosario, Minister of the Economy and Finance Adriano Maleiane, Bank of Mozambique Governor Rogerio Zandamela, Public Prosecutor Beatriz Buchili, senior government officials, representatives from the Parliament, private sector, and the donor community.

“The team thanks the authorities for their continued hospitality.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Mozambique

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Nigeria : Hungarian Prime Minister receives Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán receives Nigerian Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Bertalan Havasi, head of the Press Office of the Prime Minister, has informed the Hungarian news agency MTI that in Budapest on Tuesday Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had talks with Oliver Dashe Doeme, the Bishop of the Nigerian diocese of Maiduguri. The two men discussed possibilities for providing help to persecuted Christians in Nigeria.

At the meeting, which was also attended by Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog, the parties noted that half of Nigeria’s population is Christian, with many of them threatened by continuing attacks from the terrorist organisation Boko Haram. They are being driven from their homes, and their houses, schools, churches and hospitals are being destroyed.
The Prime Minister’s press chief said that at the meeting the parties discussed how Hungary could help persecuted Christians in Africa, and he added that Bishop Doeme thanked Mr. Orbán for the Hungarian government’s offer of special Christian scholarships enabling dozens of African students to study at various Hungarian universities from September onwards.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary.

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Source:: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán receives Nigerian Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

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South Africa : US / South African Defense Force field training exercise

Exercise Shared Accord: U.S. Embassy Invitation to Telephonic Briefing with U.S. Brigadier General William Prendergast and South African Defense Force’s Brigadier General Gustav Lategan

On July 17, the U.S. military, in partnership with the South Africa National Defense Force, launched Exercise Shared Accord 2017, a command post and company-level field training exercise that will take place July 17 – August 3.

Shared Accord 17 is a U.S. Africa Command directed and U.S. Army Africa led exercise designed to assess the capacity and capability of participating staff and forces in peacekeeping operations. More than 1000 military personnel from the U.S. and South Africa are participating in the annual, combined, joint military exercise. It is taking place at the South Africa National Defense Force Combat Training Center in Lohatla.

Brigadier General Prendergast and Brigadier General Lategan will provide a telephonic briefing to members of the media on Monday, July 24 at 10:00 a.m. Interested media are asked to RSVP to U.S. Embassy spokesperson Cindy Harvey at 012-431-4217, 079-111-8280 or
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Source:: Exercise Shared Accord: U.S. Embassy Invitation to Telephonic Briefing with U.S. Brigadier General William Prendergast and South African Defense Force’s Brigadier General Gustav Lategan

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