U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard Visits Limpopo

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard visited Limpopo May 23-24 to engage in a range of activities highlighting the growing ties between the people of Limpopo and the United States. Hlayisani Nkwashu, an alumnus of the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) program, hosted the Ambassador in his hometown of Blinkwater and showcased his work as a champion of youth socioeconomic development projects that create employment opportunities for women in Limpopo.

Ambassador Gaspard kicked off his visit on May 23 by attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly built Mamothalo Primary School. The school, built with funding provided by the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), in partnership with the Department of Education, Limpopo government and USAID, is one of several ODC Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) projects in South Africa that build educational facilities in disadvantaged areas.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Gaspard said, “This new school will serve 700 learners, as well as the administrative functions of the teachers in your community. We all know that there is no one more important in a community than its teachers. It has often been said that a teacher cannot measure the contribution they make in their lifetime. Instead, their influence stretches into eternity. As I look at these young learners, I know the skills they are acquiring today will stretch from generation to generation. We are determined to move toward a partnership for prosperity that will move our relationship from strength to strength. But we know at the backbone of that relationship are the young children in this community. I am sure, once given the tools, they can out-perform and out-innovate any other young people in the world.”

On May 24, Ambassador Gaspard visited one of the 43 schools in Limpopo where American Peace Corps Volunteers are currently teaching. Finally, he met with Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha in Polokwane, where they discussed issues of mutual interest between the United States and South Africa.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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Bilateral negotiations between the African Union Commission and the Federal Government of Germany

Invitation to journalists

What: Bilateral negotiations between the African Union Commission and the Federal Government of Germany

When: Friday, 27 May 2016

Time: 16:30-17:30

Venue: African Union Commission, New Conference Center / Small Conference Room 2

Background: The African Union Commission and the Federal Government of Germany are holding their annual bilateral negotiations: The focus of this year’s commitment is on agricultural development through enhancement of agricultural skills. The delegation of the African Union Commission is chaired by H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission. The German delegation will be chaired by H.E. Guenter Nooke, the German Chancellor’s Personal Representative for Africa in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Germany is planning to make further pledges in support of various fields of the African Union Commission. The negotiations will conclude with a Signing Ceremony of the Summary record for African-German Cooperation 2016.

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

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Government Of Nigeria And WFP Step Up Assistance To People Bearing Brunt Of Boko Haram Violence

Under the Government of Nigeria’s leadership, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up to assist 430,000 people in Northeast Nigeria where Boko Haram violence has led to one of the most acute and largely forgotten humanitarian crises in the world.

“As areas become more accessible and we collectively develop a more refined understanding of what people need, WFP is working with the Government and other agencies such as UNICEF to urgently reach the most vulnerable,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

“We are working in a highly complex environment. It is a race against time as the lean and rainy season is upon us. We know that unless we act fast, and we act now, hunger will only deepen in the months to come,” she added at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

“With diminished harvests caused by the devastating effects of drought and halted crop production in most farming districts, food supplies are terribly low. We face various constraints as we make provision for our dwindling food reserves,” said the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.

Recent joint government and UN assessments show that in the worst-affected areas factors –
such as poor sanitation, a prevalence of disease and people lacking access to food, water and healthcare – are converging and could create a famine-like situation if assistance is not urgently provided.

Some 2.5 million people face hunger in northeastern Nigeria. More than 800,000 people are in urgent need of food assistance in Borno and Yobe states.

WFP will give food or cash-based assistance to 431,000 people, including specialized nutritious food to 64,000 children under the age of two at risk of malnutrition in Borno and Yobe, which are the states worst-affected by violence. This will complement efforts led by the Government and other partners to provide humanitarian assistance to all those in need.

“We are now working at full capacity to address the immensity of needs and hope our collaborations with WFP and other partners will ensure an end to the severe food insecurity at hand. In addition to the mobilization of consolidated financial support to address current requirements, there is also a dire need for sustained development strategies in order to adequately end needs,” Shettima said.

The most vulnerable in northeastern Nigeria will continue to need assistance because they have been cut off from their fields for three consecutive years, and it is likely that this year’s food production will again be disrupted.

According to WFP market assessments, staple food prices in some areas in Borno state have increased by 50-100 percent since the start of the year, and markets are limited because of insecurity and trade restrictions due to the conflict.

Pockets of the Northeast are inaccessible for deliveries of humanitarian assistance due to insecurity. There is very little data available on the condition of people in cut-off areas.

“With the Government and other partners, WFP is doing all it can to gather data so there is a better understanding of needs. We are expanding coverage of mobile-phone based surveys to 6,000 households, and are analyzing satellite imagery so we can understand better how families are coping and can prioritize areas to receive assistance without delay,” Cousin said.

In places in Borno and Yobe states where markets are still functioning, WFP aims to provide cash-based assistance to 267,000 people over a period of six months so that they can buy food. This initiative will also help strengthen local economies.

WFP began providing cash by mobile phones to displaced people and host communities in March in the Maiduguri area. To date, over 20,000 people have received cash assistance in Borno and Yobe. Another 17,600 people are registered and will be assisted in the coming days.

WFP will provide in-kind food assistance to 150,000 people in areas where markets are not functioning. The food basket meets the requirements for a nutritionally balanced diet.

To respond to urgent needs, WFP has distributed since the end of April highly nutritious ready-to-use food to 6,300 children under two at-risk of malnutrition in Maiduguri. To date, 20 metric tons–enough for 14,500 children–has been sent to 14 sites for displaced people in Borno state.

For mobile-phone based assistance, an IDP registration and information platform called SCOPE developed by WFP has been installed with the Government and the International Organization of Migration to help provide both food and other vital support and services, such as nutrition screening of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under five.

With the Government, UNICEF and partners, WFP will carry out nutrition screening and help protect children against malnutrition in parallel with cash and food distributions.

A WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flies humanitarian workers to and across northeastern Nigeria. Since August 2015, UNHAS transported some 4,400 passengers from 54 humanitarian organizations, and about 20 metric tons of humanitarian cargo.

WFP has supported national and state emergency agencies and humanitarian partners to help people displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram in Nigeria since May 2015, and is increasing its assistance at the request of the Government in response to the growing needs.

WFP requires US$21 million for its operations in the Northeast in 2016. To date, US$3.7 million has been given by Canada, the European Union, United Kingdom and United States.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

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UN to mark Africa Day with variety show

Media is invited to attend celebrations to mark Africa Day by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Pretoria, on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This years’theme is “Celebrating Africa” – a valiant celebration of Africa, its history and prosperous future. We will showcase talent from various African dance troupes, poets, musicians and as well as statements from inspirational speakers.

Time: 09h00 –13h00
Venue:UN Information Centre Library, Metropark Building, 351 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria
Who: Special guests will include:

His Excellency Mr Mahamoud Adam Bechir, Ambassador of the Republic of Chad
Mr Mamadou Diallo, First Secretary of the Republic of Senegal
Zolani Mkhiva South African poet, praise singer and social activist

Background:

The Africa Day or Africa Freedom Day, marked annually on the 25th of May offers the continent the opportunity to reflect on its history, liberation struggle, economic and social development and a celebration of its rich and diverse culture. We will also unpack the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are key to Africa’s growth and stability.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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Biodiversity can help fill gap between agricultural production and nutritional needs for a healthy living

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says Africa’s struggle against poverty, hunger, malnutrition, land degradation and climate change can only be won with increased collaboration in the conservation, sustainable, and fair use of agricultural biodiversity.

Speaking at a Regional Consultation on the State of Africa’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Patrick Kormawa, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for East Africa and Representative to AU/UNECA said there is an urgent need to change the paradigm of agricultural production in order to integrate the dimension of nutritional quality.

“A large number of the continent’s poor rely directly on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and their livelihoods are affected first and foremost by the over-utilization and subsequent loss of biodiversity. At the same time, the potentials of Africa’s agricultural biodiversity resources remain largely underutilized, only a very small portion of this biological diversity is used for food, health, or housing by the populations”, Patrick Kormawa emphasized.

“Biodiversity will represent an essential asset for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and for the humanity to adapt to climate change and to build resilience to ensure food security under a changing climate. African countries strongly advocate for a balanced agreement that addresses both mitigation and adaptation in equal measure”, he added.

The three-day meeting, organized by the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture from May 24 to 26, 2016 in the Ethiopian capital and attended by participants from 19 countries and representatives of six regional organizations will assess the state of knowledge as well as the needs and priorities for sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This regional consultation for Africa is part of a global assessment process in view of preparation of the first report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture to be launched in 2017. The Report is expected to look at the contribution that biodiversity for food and agriculture as a whole makes to food security, livelihoods and environmental health as well as to the sustainability, resilience and adaptability of production systems to climate change.

This is the first time that the Commission elaborates a report that focuses on the biodiversity that does not end up on our plate but provides essential ecosystem services supporting food and agricultural production, namely the micro-organisms, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, plants and mammals found in and around production systems.

“In previous assessments we have looked at the state of plant, animal, forest and aquatic genetic resources, in other words the biodiversity that provides food or other products of direct use to human kind. I am confident that this report will shed light on this hidden treasure”, said Irene Hoffmann, Secretary of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

FAO contribution to the implementation of biodiversity

As a major partner in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and in collaboration with other UN partners, FAO contributes to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, the overarching framework on biodiversity for the entire United Nations system. FAO has developed a number of instruments and tools that contribute to sustainable development while addressing objectives and priorities related to biodiversity.

African Ministers participating in the FAO Regional Conference for Africa-Abidjan, April 2015 signed a joint Declaration stating “a common vision that investment in productive and resilient agricultural development are vital to ensuring that our countries – and particularly our poorest and most food-insecure inhabitants – continue to prosper in spite of climate change”.

The Convention, mainly through national biodiversity strategies and action plans, has led – among other things – to the better conservation of biological diversity, especially in those countries that are implementing active conservation strategies.

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

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Tanzania International Forum For Investments, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania

The Tanzania International Forum For Investments (http://www.TZiforum.com) is scheduled to take place at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, 12-14 July 2016.

With confirmed funding commitments amounting to US$1 billion and confirmed participation from global investors and funding institutions in control of more than US$200 billion, the Tanzania International Investment Forum For Investments is set out to be the largest gathering of international investors in Tanzania.

Confirmed participating companies include Credit Suisse International, Africa Finance Corporation, Nedbank, UK Climate Investments, Pembani-Remgro Infrastructure Fund, Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, Intertoll Africa (Pty) Ltd, Advance Consulting, Netherlands, Letsema Consulting & Advisory (Pty) Ltd, Afriwise Consult, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Advanced Finance & Investment Group (“AFIG Funds”), Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries – Netherlands, CRDB BANK PLC, ZHE Africa, East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Kibo Mining Plc, Rand Merchant Bank, Frontier Investment Management (FIM), German International Cooperation (GiZ), Mkoba Private Equity Fund, Kibo Capital Partners, CrossBoundary LLC, Metier Sustainable Private Equity, SME Impact Fund, MasterCard, Public Investment Corporation -Africa’s largest asset manager and many more.

The Forum aims to generate more than $4 billion in potential investments and funding commitments.

The TIFI 2016 world class programme comprises intimate highly-interactive sessions that give entrepreneurs, investors and financiers the best platform to build relationships and forge business-to-business and business-to-government partnerships.

The Forum will showcase specific investment opportunities in key sectors including Agriculture & Agro-processing, Tourism, Energy, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, telecommunications & ICT, Mining, and Financial services; and is expected to attract investors and participants at decision making level, comprising local and foreign companies, heads of public institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.

In addition, an exhibition is planned to take place on the side-lines of the Forum to showcase selected export products and display foreign exhibitors as well to market their products. The Forum is expected to secure investment pledges and commitments, joint venture partnerships between local and foreign companies, financial arrangements, and export orders among a few of the deliverables.

With networking support before, during and after the event, TIFI 2016 is a MUST ATTEND EVENT

“We welcome investors throughout the world to participate in the TIFI 2016 and explore the abundant opportunities available in Tanzania, where return on investment is among the highest in Africa. Should you wish to partner with local investors, we are ready to be of service to link you with credible local companies” – Godfrey Simbeye, Executive Director, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.

To register, please contact Gadi Mbuya, CEO, Shades of Green Congresses

Tel: + 255 (0) 27 2050081; + 255 (0) 27 2050082, Fax: + 255 (0) 27 2050083
Mobile phones: +255 755 747901; +255 789 655690; +255 759 005481
Email- registration@tziforum.com; ceo@shadesofgreencongresses.com

For further details on the Forum, please refer to the forum website www.TZiforum.com

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Tanzania International Forum For Investments.

MEDIA CONTACT :
Gadi Mbuya, CEO, Shades of Green Congresses
Tel: + 255 (0) 27 2050081; + 255 (0) 27 2050082, Fax: + 255 (0) 27 2050083
Mobile phones: +255 755 747901; +255 789 655690; +255 759 005481
Email- registration@tziforum.com; ceo@shadesofgreencongresses.com

Source:: Tanzania International Forum For Investments, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania

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Mohamed Ibn Chambas pays an official visit to the G5 countries

From 25 May to 2 June 2016, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, will undertake a visit to the five countries of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).

This will be his first visit since the establishment of UNOWAS following the merger of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Sahel (OSES), in January 28, 2016. This mission expresses the United Nations commitment to support countries of the Sahel region in the effective implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS).

Mr. Ibn Chambas will meet national authorities of the G5 Sahel countries, representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in the respective countries, as well as officials from the United Nations system.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

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Nigeria Receives Record Praziquantel Donation

Merck (www.MerckGroup.com), a leading science and technology company, announced today that the largest single delivery of praziquantel tablets in the history of the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program recently arrived in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. The west African country has received around 34 million tablets for mass distribution to school children. With this, Merck has donated more tablets to a single country than it did to the entire continent in 2012 (27 million). Today in Geneva, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, expressed his country’s thanks to Merck and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their joint efforts in the fight against the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis. Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck, met the minister on the occasion of the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of WHO, in Geneva. The participants included Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, as well as WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Ren Minghui.

“We want to eliminate the insidious worm disease and give children the opportunity to participate in the economic development of their home countries. Our donation of 34 million tablets to WHO for Nigeria – enough to treat 13.6 million school children – shows that we are on the right track. However, millions of children still suffer from schistosomiasis. And we know that we alone cannot solve the problem with our tablets,” said Oschmann. In Africa, Merck is supporting educational and awareness programs, researching schistosomiasis therapies for very young children and cooperating with partners in the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance, among other things. “Furthermore, in the future we will collaborate even more closely with our partners to finally eliminate schistosomiasis,” Oschmann continued.

“With more than 235 million people requiring treatment, schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent tropical diseases in Africa. The worm disease is widespread in all regions of Nigeria, above all among children. We are therefore grateful for every sustained initiative that supports us in fighting schistosomiasis,” said Adewole. Admasu added, “Merck’s commitment not only helps children who are ill – it also relieves the public healthcare systems of the affected countries.”

Minghui continued, “Medicine donations such as this are essential to the fight against neglected tropical diseases. If we are to meet the ambitious sustainable development goals, we need the strong engagement of the private sector, sectors outside health and all development partners.”

As part of its responsibility for society and within Health, one of its corporate responsibility strategic spheres of activity, Merck is supporting WHO in the fight against the worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa. Praziquantel is well tolerated and the most effective treatment to date for schistosomiasis. Since 2007, more than 74 million patients, primarily school children, have been treated. To this end, Merck has donated over 340 million tablets to WHO.

According to WHO, Nigeria is the world’s most endemic country for schistosomiasis. It is estimated that around 37% of the overall population (64.1 million people) requires treatment. Nigeria has been participating in the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program since 2008. To date, through WHO Merck has donated nearly 105 million tablets to Nigeria, making it the main beneficiary country of the donation program. In total, nearly 20 million Nigerian patients have been treated to date, primarily school children.

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

Your contact
Friederike Segeberg
+49 6151 72-4081
media.relations@merckgroup.com

Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis is a chronic condition and is one of the most common and most devastating parasitic diseases in tropical countries. It is estimated that 260 million people are infected worldwide and that around 200,000 die from it each year. Flatworms transmit the chronic disease. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions where large sections of the populations have no access to clean water and sanitary installations. People become infected with the disease by worm larvae mainly in freshwater, for example while working, swimming, fishing or washing their clothes. The miniscule larvae penetrate human skin, enter the blood vessels and attack internal organs. The infection rate is particularly high among school-aged children. Praziquantel is the only active ingredient with which all forms of schistosomiasis can be treated. WHO has therefore deemed praziquantel, the most cost-efficient solution for the health of patients in need, as the drug of choice.

The Merck Praziquantel Donation Program
Merck initiated the Praziquantel Donation Program in cooperation with WHO back in 2007. Since then, more than 340 million tablets have been donated and over 74 million patients treated, mainly school children. Merck has committed itself to maintaining its efforts in the fight against the tropical disease until schistosomiasis has been eliminated. To this end, Merck is donating up to 250 million tablets per year to WHO. The planned annual donation has a value of around US$ 23 million. In addition, Merck is supporting an awareness program at schools in Africa in order to educate children about the causes of schistosomiasis and ways to prevent it. Furthermore, as part of a public-private partnership, the company is researching a new formulation of praziquantel that can also be administered to very young children. To date, the tablets are only suitable for children older than six. At the end of 2014, Merck founded the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance together with partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Vision International.

Further information on the fight against schistosomiasis is available on the Internet: http://www.apo.af/FAS9kr.

All Merck news releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck website. Please go to www.MerckGroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck
Merck (www.MerckGroup.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.8 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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Commissioner Acyl stresses the need for Member States and Stakeholders to come together in order to achieve the structural transformation of Africa

The Ministerial Session of the First AU Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals (STC-TIM), commenced on 23 May at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters in Addis Ababa under the theme: “Promoting Regional Integration through Trade and inclusive and sustainable Industrialization in Africa”. The STC-TIM is set to provide technical guidance to the Policy Organs of the African Union, to ensure implementation of agreed programs and projects as well as establish synergies, linkages and complementarities in the areas of Trade, Industry and Minerals in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and its Ten Year Implementation Plan. The Meeting will bring together AU Ministers responsible for Trade, Industry and Minerals, and their relevant Senior Officials, Regional Economic Communities and Collaborating Institutions as Observers.

The rationale behind the creation of the Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals is to make trade, industry and minerals policies work in a coherent manner to ensure Africa’s structural transformation. The issues of Trade, Industrialization and the effective use of Africa’s natural resources, including its Mineral Resources, lie at the heart of the continent’s development agenda.

In his statement, Mr. Jean Bakole, the Regional Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), commended the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl for the achievement of Department under her leadership since her election in 2012. He noted that the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) constitutes UNIDO’s response as a means to harness the potential of industry’s contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for a growing share of the youth population. According to Mr. Bakole, it is imperative to boost Intra-African Trade. “This implies accelerating industrialization through promotion of regional value chains. Trade promotion is among the critical components of industrialization, it also plays a fundamental role in the structural transformation of the economy”, he emphasized. To conclude, the Regional Director of UNIDO urged Member States to develop appropriate policies to foster regional integration and boost Intra-African Trade and infrastructure. “In this regard, UNIDO is a major supporter of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) as it is a critical enabler for an industrializing Africa”, he announced.

Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director Regional Integration and Trade Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), underscored the fact that UNECA’s analysis shows that Africa imported at an estimated $87 billion worth of services from outside Africa and if barriers to trade are reduced in trade in services between African countries, Africa may be able to capture that business increasing the integration of its economies through higher cross-border flows of services within the continent. “Analysis done by UNECA suggests that a Continental Free Trade Area in goods alone would lead to an increased Intra-African trade of around $55 billion or 60% of its current level. If this is complemented by Africa taking trade facilitation measures that reduce trade costs by half, these increases would be even greater”, he specified. He finally commended Members States for the Tripartite Free Trade Area arguing that the Tripartite as a whole would see its welfare rise and would also remove all tariffs.

In her opening statement, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl thanked Senior Officials for having demonstrated during the last few days, high commitment and expertise in assessing progress made on CFTA negotiations, on Quality Infrastructure, on the implementation of other continental strategies in the sectors of Trade, Industry and Minerals as well as on customs and trade facilitation issues. She informed the Ministers that Senior Officials have also discussed World Trade Organization (WTO) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), issues that have a definite impact on Africa’s trade with the rest of the world and if utilized properly can increase Africa’s domestic capacities. Commissioner Acyl acknowledged the progress made by the CFTA Negotiating Forum on the Rules of Procedure for the CFTA negotiating Institutions, the definition of guiding principles for the negotiations and formulated important recommendations. “It’s time to move forward our Agenda. Africa can no longer wait. The world is watching. It is our responsibility as Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Cooperating and Development Partners to overcome our differences and effectively work together in order to positively impact our people’s lives” she urged. In conclusion, she thanked all stakeholders, cooperating and development partners for their continued efforts to support the implementation of key Departmental frameworks. She announced the launch of the Trade Facilitation website (http://www.tfa4africa.com), which she said, will be of great assistance to our Member States in their trade facilitation activities, including the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. With regards to the Institutionalization and hosting of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), Commissioner Acyl pointed out that a lot of interest has been expressed by Member States. “We hope that by the next Summit the AMDC will finally find a permanent location”, she indicated.

The key recommendations from the STC will be submitted for approval at the upcoming Summit in July in Kigali, Rwanda for the necessary political endorsement.

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

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Commissioner Acyl stresses the need for Member States and Stakeholders to come together in order to achieve the structural transformation of Africa

The Ministerial Session of the First AU Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals (STC-TIM), commenced on 23 May at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters in Addis Ababa under the theme: “Promoting Regional Integration through Trade and inclusive and sustainable Industrialization in Africa”. The STC-TIM is set to provide technical guidance to the Policy Organs of the African Union, to ensure implementation of agreed programs and projects as well as establish synergies, linkages and complementarities in the areas of Trade, Industry and Minerals in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and its Ten Year Implementation Plan. The Meeting will bring together AU Ministers responsible for Trade, Industry and Minerals, and their relevant Senior Officials, Regional Economic Communities and Collaborating Institutions as Observers.

The rationale behind the creation of the Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Minerals is to make trade, industry and minerals policies work in a coherent manner to ensure Africa’s structural transformation. The issues of Trade, Industrialization and the effective use of Africa’s natural resources, including its Mineral Resources, lie at the heart of the continent’s development agenda.

In his statement, Mr. Jean Bakole, the Regional Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), commended the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl for the achievement of Department under her leadership since her election in 2012. He noted that the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) constitutes UNIDO’s response as a means to harness the potential of industry’s contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for a growing share of the youth population. According to Mr. Bakole, it is imperative to boost Intra-African Trade. “This implies accelerating industrialization through promotion of regional value chains. Trade promotion is among the critical components of industrialization, it also plays a fundamental role in the structural transformation of the economy”, he emphasized. To conclude, the Regional Director of UNIDO urged Member States to develop appropriate policies to foster regional integration and boost Intra-African Trade and infrastructure. “In this regard, UNIDO is a major supporter of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) as it is a critical enabler for an industrializing Africa”, he announced.

Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director Regional Integration and Trade Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), underscored the fact that UNECA’s analysis shows that Africa imported at an estimated $87 billion worth of services from outside Africa and if barriers to trade are reduced in trade in services between African countries, Africa may be able to capture that business increasing the integration of its economies through higher cross-border flows of services within the continent. “Analysis done by UNECA suggests that a Continental Free Trade Area in goods alone would lead to an increased Intra-African trade of around $55 billion or 60% of its current level. If this is complemented by Africa taking trade facilitation measures that reduce trade costs by half, these increases would be even greater”, he specified. He finally commended Members States for the Tripartite Free Trade Area arguing that the Tripartite as a whole would see its welfare rise and would also remove all tariffs.

In her opening statement, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl thanked Senior Officials for having demonstrated during the last few days, high commitment and expertise in assessing progress made on CFTA negotiations, on Quality Infrastructure, on the implementation of other continental strategies in the sectors of Trade, Industry and Minerals as well as on customs and trade facilitation issues. She informed the Ministers that Senior Officials have also discussed World Trade Organization (WTO) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), issues that have a definite impact on Africa’s trade with the rest of the world and if utilized properly can increase Africa’s domestic capacities. Commissioner Acyl acknowledged the progress made by the CFTA Negotiating Forum on the Rules of Procedure for the CFTA negotiating Institutions, the definition of guiding principles for the negotiations and formulated important recommendations. “It’s time to move forward our Agenda. Africa can no longer wait. The world is watching. It is our responsibility as Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Cooperating and Development Partners to overcome our differences and effectively work together in order to positively impact our people’s lives” she urged. In conclusion, she thanked all stakeholders, cooperating and development partners for their continued efforts to support the implementation of key Departmental frameworks. She announced the launch of the Trade Facilitation website (http://www.tfa4africa.com), which she said, will be of great assistance to our Member States in their trade facilitation activities, including the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. With regards to the Institutionalization and hosting of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), Commissioner Acyl pointed out that a lot of interest has been expressed by Member States. “We hope that by the next Summit the AMDC will finally find a permanent location”, she indicated.

The key recommendations from the STC will be submitted for approval at the upcoming Summit in July in Kigali, Rwanda for the necessary political endorsement.

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

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Source:: Commissioner Acyl stresses the need for Member States and Stakeholders to come together in order to achieve the structural transformation of Africa

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ICMPD establishes Coordination and Cooperation Center for Migration in the Mediterranean

Six months after the Valletta Summit of Migration there are concerns that the Mediterranean could again be the epicentre of irregular migration-flows. With this in mind, the Foreign Minister of Malta, George Vella, and the Director General of ICMPD (International Center for Migration Policy Development) (www.ICMPD.org), Michael Spindelegger, opened the organisation’s “Coordination and Cooperation Center for Migration in the Mediterranean” in Valetta. All future ICMPD activities in the Mediterranean will be coordinated and promoted from this new hub.The focus of ICMPD’s regional activities will be on various migration dialogues and technical assistance as well as the relationship between the countries of the Mediterranean.

Half a year after the Valletta Summit of Migration, ICMPD addresses the most urgent aspects of irregular migration and forced displacement from its new Coordination and Cooperation Center for Migration in Malta. At a regional level, the Euromed Migration Programme aims to establish a framework that develops and implements evidence-based migration and international protection policies. At a national level, this will initiate the development of a rights-based migration system for Libya as well as the improvement of border management in Lebanon. The “City-to-City” project, implemented by ICMPD, looks at opportunities of migration in between eight urban centers in Europe and North Africa and the Middle East and will develop new ideas for and success stories of migration in between major cities.

In the words of ICMPD’s Director General, Michael Spindelegger: “The opening of the ICMPD’s first regional office in Malta highlights our concerns regarding the migration issues in the Mediterranean. Together with local and international partners we will bring a valuable contribution to finding solutions and advancing new policies in the migration field in Europe and beyond.” Welcoming the novel presence of ICMPD on the island, the Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Vella, emphasized the importance of the active involvement of ICMPD in solving one of the most pressing issues facing the European Union today: “We are very honored that ICMPD chose Malta for its first regional office and we are confident that our joint efforts will soon bring about much awaited results for the current migration and refugee crisis.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

For further inquiries:
Bernhard Schragl
ICMPD-Spokesman
Tel.: +43 1 504 4677 2444
Bernhard.schragl@icmpd.org

ABOUT ICMPD
The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (www.ICMPD.org) is a key player in the migration field. The organisation has 15 member states and carries out activities throughout the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The Vienna-based organization has a mission in Brussels and project offices in 7 countries, including in Nigeria and Tunisia.

Founded in 1993, ICMPD served as a support mechanism for informal consultations and to provide expertise in multilateral cooperation on migration and asylum issues. The principles of partnership and balancing of interests are the foundation of the organisation.

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Source:: ICMPD establishes Coordination and Cooperation Center for Migration in the Mediterranean

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The African Union Commission and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre concluded the training programme of the AU human rights observers

The African Union Commission (AUC) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeepers Training Centre (KAIPTC) have concluded the training programme designed for the human rights observers that are to be deployed to Burundi. The training programme was held at the KAIPTC in Accra, Ghana and was financially supported by GIZ-Ghana.

The KAIPTC is a regional Centre of Excellence for the delivery of training and research in the areas of conflict prevention, management and peace building. The KAIPTC has to date offered over 230 courses in diverse aspects of peace support operations for over 11,000 military, police and civilian personnel. This course was designed by Experts aiming at building and enhancing the capacities of the Human Rights Observers involved in multi-dimensional peace operations to ensure human rights compliance, address human rights violations and mainstream human rights principles and practices.

The special objectives of the course were to enhance participants’ ability to understand, identify and apply international legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the promotion and protection of human rights; provide participants with practical skills and strategies to advocate and support the implementation of human rights mandates; and expose participants to the challenges of human rights promotion and protection and equip them with the knowledge and skills required to overcome them.

Amb. Salah S. Hammad, Senior Human Rights Expert, representing H.E. Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs, addressed the Closing Ceremony of the Training Programme and thanked the KAIPTC for its efforts to train the African Union Human Rights Observers that are to be deployed to Burundi in conformity with decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council.

The AUC and the KAIPTC discussed ways and means to enhance the existing working relationship and recommended that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be signed between the two institutions as a platform to strengthen this important partnership.

The proposed MoU is expected to avail opportunities for cooperation and non-exclusive partnership in the following areas:

Training programmes for the human rights observers for deployment by the AU;
The development of a well-designed roster of personnel trained in areas needed by the KAIPTC;
Assist the AU in policy development and the provision of resource persons for common programmes in the area of Human rights, rule of law and other peace support operation courses that may be needed by the AU;
KAIPTC will develop other training support AU might require.

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

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Source:: The African Union Commission and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre concluded the training programme of the AU human rights observers

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