IMF and World Bank Announce US$1.1 billion Debt Relief for Chad

NDJAMENA, Chad, April 30, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) have decided to support US$1.1 billion in total debt relief for Chad, of which US$1.0 billion is expected to be delivered by multilateral creditors and the remainder by bilateral and commercial creditors.

The Boards of Directors of both institutions1 determined that Chad has made satisfactory progress in meeting the requirements to reach the completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the stage at which the HIPC debt relief becomes irrevocable and the country will benefit from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Chad has taken the key decisions, actions and measures required to fulfill all but four of the fifteen triggers, including the participatory preparation of a full Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and its satisfactory implementation for at least one year, and the continued maintenance of macroeconomic stability as evidenced by broadly satisfactory implementation of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) supported program.

Debt relief under the HIPC Initiative from all Chad’s creditors was estimated at US$170.1 million in end-2000 present value terms. Debt relief from the IMF would total US$18.0 million and from the World Bank’s IDA, US$68.1 million. After reaching the HIPC completion point, Chad also becomes eligible for further nominal debt service reduction from IDA (US$509 million) and the African Development Fund (US$236 million) under the MDRI.

“Reaching the HIPC completion point represents an important achievement and milestone for Chad. It reflects the significant improvement in economic management in recent years, including during the period covered by a staff monitored program (SMP) approved by Fund management in July 2013 and the ongoing three-year ECF-supported program approved by the Executive Board in August 2014,” said Mauricio Villafuerte, IMF mission chief for Chad.

“It will also help Chad allocate more resources for poverty reduction and the promotion of economic growth. Sound macroeconomic management will remain critical after the completion point for Chad to reap the full benefits of the debt relief,” Mr. Villafuerte said.

“The attainment of the HIPC completion point opens a new development era for Chad. It acknowledges the many efforts accomplished by Chad to exit from a difficult decade of conflict and instability, and allows refocusing attention and resources on Chad’s forward looking emergence agenda. In the next months, the World Bank will present its new Country Partnership Framework to support Chad’s aspirations over the period 2016-20, notably in terms of rural development, health, education, social protection, and governance,” said Paul Noumba Um World Bank Country Director for Chad.

Full delivery of debt relief (HIPC Initiative, MDRI, and additional bilateral assistance at the completion point) will significantly reduce the debt burden of Chad. The present value of debt-to-exports ratio would fall from 55.1 percent at end-2013 to 31.3 percent at end-2015. It is projected to fall further to 12.5 percent at end-2019. However, the future evolution of these indicators will be sensitive to the macroeconomic developments, particularly petroleum exports and the terms of new external financing, as well as government policy. In particular, sound macroeconomic management, further progress with export diversification, and strengthened debt management will be important for debt sustainability.

Chad is the 36th country to reach the completion point under the HIPC Initiative.

Note to Editors

The HIPC Initiative. In 1996, the World Bank and IMF launched the HIPC Initiative to create a framework in which all creditors, including multilateral creditors, can provide debt relief to the world’s poorest and most heavily indebted countries to ensure debt sustainability, and thereby reduce the constraints on economic growth and poverty reduction imposed by the unsustainable debt-service burdens in these countries.

The MDRI. Created in 2005, the aim of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative is to reduce further the debt of eligible low-income countries and provide additional resources to help them reach the Millennium Development Goals. Under the MDRI, three multilateral institutions – the World Bank’s International Development Association, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund– provide 100 percent debt relief on eligible debts to qualifying countries normally at the time they reach the HIPC Initiative completion point.

For more information on Chad, please visit:

Chad and the IMF

Chad and the World Bank

For more information on debt relief, please visit:

Debt Relief Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative and Debt Relief.

1 The IMF Executive Board met on April 27, 2015, and the IDA Executive Board met on April 28, 2015.

Source:: IMF and World Bank Announce US$1.1 billion Debt Relief for Chad

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Congo Republic to burn seized ivory stockpile / Burning ceremony to take place a day before first pan-African strategy on illegal wildlife trade

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government of Congo will incinerate nearly five tons of seized ivory, fuelled by seized timber, in a strong show of Africa’s opposition to wildlife crime.

The ceremony will precede the announcement, in Brazzaville, of the first pan-African strategy to combat the illicit trade in flora and fauna. The document and a draft action plan will be taken to the African Union Summit to be held in Johannesburg in June.

Wildlife trafficking devastates biodiversity and ecosystems, threatening the supply of food and freshwater and eroding livelihoods for millions of people in Africa. It also creates insecurity, fuelling conflicts and corruption, depriving countries of their assets, weakening the rule of law and dividing societies. Poaching and trafficking pose a direct threat to sustainable development efforts in Africa and elsewhere.

What: International Conference on the Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa

When: 29 April, 9AM GMT

Where: Palais des Congrès, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Who:

His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo

His Excellency Henri Djambo, Minister of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development

Anthony Ohemeng-Boamah, UN Resident Coordinator, Republic of Congo

Nik Sekhran, Director/ Chief of Profession -Sustainable Development, UNDP

Paul Harrison, Global Advisor on Wildlife & Forestry Enforcement, UNDP-GEF

Source:: Congo Republic to burn seized ivory stockpile / Burning ceremony to take place a day before first pan-African strategy on illegal wildlife trade

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Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo concerned on the situation in Burundi

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo follow with concern the situation in Burundi. Last Saturday, Belgium was one of the first countries to call for the respect of the public space and of human rights. Belgium condemns all forms of violence and intimidation against civilians, the political opposition and human rights activists. Those who commit violent acts or human rights violations will be personally held responsible.

Belgium pays particular attention to the involvement of the Burundi National Police. Together with the Netherlands our country has recently invested in the professionalization of the Burundian police. The task of the police is to protect the people and ensure that demonstrations can proceed peacefully.

In recent years, Belgium financed several projects in support of a free and professional press in Burundi. Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are essential elements that should guide the electoral process. The Ministers express their concern about the restrictive measures taken against a number of independent radio stations and the use of social media via mobile data traffic. They demand that these measures be lifted as soon as possible.

These are very important elections for Burundi. Belgium gives its full support for these elections to be as peaceful and inclusive as possible. Belgium contributes significantly to the UN human rights office, where 14 human rights experts closely monitor the situation. They report to the Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council. Their testimony and their reports are an important source of information in the case of irregularities. Through its development cooperation, Belgium also funds two Burundian NGOs with experience in election observation. In total, thanks to the Belgian support, some 8.000 observers can observe the election process throughout the country.

In a spirit of reconciliation, with the national interest in mind and with the Arusha Agreement as a guideline, Ministers Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo call for a common understanding on the issues that divide the political class, opposition parties and civil society. Violence must be excluded by all political parties, actors and agencies. Only peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections organized in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the institutions can bring Burundi back to the path on which it has made so much progress since the signing of the Arusha Agreement.

Source:: Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo concerned on the situation in Burundi

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Private Sector Forum on Food Security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region Barcelona, 5-6 May

BARCELONA, Spain, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — How can increasing cooperation between the public and private sectors contribute to promoting a sustainable, regional approach for agriculture and food security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean?

To look at these and related issues, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) are organizing a high-level forum in Barcelona on 5-6 May 2015 that will bring together policymakers, financing institutions and CEOs from leading agribusiness companies, to deepen relationships between the public and private sector and develop initiatives to increase agricultural investment in the region.

Co-chaired by UfM’s Secretary General, Fathallah Sijilmassi, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Laurent Thomas, and EBRD’s Vice-President, Philippe Le Houerou, the forum will address challenging policy and investments dilemmas — from self-sufficiency to trade liberalization; from traditional value chains to innovative food quality paradigms — by exploring:

• best practices for advancing regional integration

• developing strategies for financing food import bills

• improving the efficiency of import supply chains through private sector engagement

• focusing on advantageous agricultural exports

• achieving more efficient use of resources in production processes

• supporting local producers to create higher value products through quality

Where: Headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean. Barcelona, Spain.

When: 5 May from 14:30 to 18:00 / 6 May from 9:00 to 15:30

Press conference

A press conference will be held on 5th May at 14.30h. Participants:

• Carlos Cabanas Godino, Secretary General, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

• Claudio Cortese, Senior Deputy Secretary General, UfM

• Laurent Thomas, Assistant-Director General for Technical Cooperation , FAO

• Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness

Moderator: Jonathan Charles, EBRD Director of Communications

Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Address: Headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean: side entrance to Palacio de Pedralbes at Calle Pere Duran Farell, 11 (red door) – 08034 – Barcelona – Spain

To accredit: To confirm attendance and accreditation, kindly send an email to media@ufmsecretariat.org (T. +34 935 214 169) with the following information: name, surname, media, ID and position, as well as the number plate of the vehicle (vehicles entrance limited to mobile units). Please, confirm your accreditation not later than Thursday 30 April at 16:00h.

More information: http://www.medagri.org/meetings/foodsecurity2015/

Source:: Private Sector Forum on Food Security in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region Barcelona, 5-6 May

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Minister Nicholson Calls for Return to Calm as Burundi’s Elections Approach

OTTAWA, Canada, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over the violence that erupted on Sunday, April 26, in Burundi. This violence, occurring in the lead up to the elections in June, led to the death of protesters:

“We are troubled by the rising political tensions and by credible reports of violence involving the Imbonerakuré, armed militants in the ruling party’s youth movement, who are terrorizing the people of Burundi. As a result, large numbers of Burundians are fleeing to neighbouring countries, mainly Rwanda. Arbitrary arrests of journalists and other opponents are becoming more frequent.

“Canada calls on all Burundian parties to work peacefully and actively to restore a safe and secure environment for all Burundians, which is vital to ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.

“We urge Burundi to comply with the Arusha Accords, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, to which Burundi is a signatory, and Burundi’s international commitments, including within La Francophonie.”

Source:: Minister Nicholson Calls for Return to Calm as Burundi’s Elections Approach

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Violence not the solution to Burundi crisis

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 29, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deploring the violence in Burundi that has led to the reported deaths of several protesters in clashes with police in the past few days, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has urged all sides to exercise utmost restraint and avoid further bloodshed.

IPU has been increasingly concerned by the growing violence following street protests against President Nkurunziza’s bid to stand for a third term and the deployment of armed police to respond to the demonstrations.

The protests are the largest the country has reportedly witnessed since the end of the civil war in 2005, when President Nkurunziza began his first term.

The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental democratic right that has to be respected and protected, IPU states.

The Organization is also calling for a peaceful, transparent and fair electoral process to ensure Burundi continues on its path to democracy following the conflict. This would be critical to preventing further political instability and violence. Burundi is due to hold local and parliamentary elections from May and presidential elections on 26 June.

IPU will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Source:: Violence not the solution to Burundi crisis

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