Oshinbajo, Dangote, Tinubu, Wigwe, Philip Walker, others to speak at The Economist’s Nigeria Summit 2016

All is set for this year’s edition of The Economist Event’s Nigeria Summit (www.NigeriaSummit.Economist.com). Philip Walker, Regional Manager of The Economist Intelligence Unit, Miguel Melo Azevedo, Head of Investment Banking, Africa, Citi Group among others will, on Monday March 7 and Tuesday March 8, 2016, join eminent Nigerian businessmen and top government officials—from around the world—to review Nigeria’s current economic situation and provide an overview of the global macro-economic picture, talking through the growth prospects for Nigeria and the region.

This will be taking place at the 11th Annual Nigeria Summit being organised by the events’ arm of the foremost international socio economic news magazine, The Economist. The 2-day summit, themed The Dawn of A New Day, is scheduled to take place at the highbrow Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos.

The event will feature exhibitions, experts’ submissions, panel discussions around the opportunities (http://www.APO.af/T7e4Fd) and challenges that lie at the point where technology, infrastructural development, political transparency and global partnerships meet.

The forum will bring key government ministry officials, industry and business leaders as well as representatives of the Nigerian civil society; together with international investors, economists and academics to discuss and debate Nigeria’s economic direction.

The summit will also examine and review the socio economic challenges that Nigeria is facing in view of her first democratic power transfer and the implication of the global macro-economic forces as being shaped by the ridiculously low global oil prices which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

The guest line up and speaker list includes: Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group; Danladi Verheijen, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Verod; Herbert Wigwe, Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Nigeria; Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria, Jonathan Rosenthal, Africa Editor, The Economist.

Other speakers and panelists are Alhaji Kashim Shettina, Governor, Borno State, Nigeria; Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President and Chief Execuive Officer, IMANI; Philip Lindop, Head of Africa Investment Banking, Barclays Africa Group, Fola Laoye, Chairman, Hygeia Group.

The list also includes: Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al Makura, Governor, Nasarawa State, Nigeria; Chief Willie Obiano, Governor, Anambra State, Nigeria, Issam Darwish, Executive Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, IHS Towers; Adebola Williams, Co-Founder, RED among others are also billed to speak at the summit.

Now in its 11th year, the Nigeria Summit is part of the Economist’s successful high-growth markets series that has become one of the leading events in Africa where business, government and ideas people meet.

Chaired by a senior Editor from The Economist, the summit will explore the economic and social progress made to date and take an in-depth look at what the future will hold for Africa’s biggest economy

“This year’s Nigeria Summit will bring together over 350 participants drawn from different walks of life including Nigeria’s public and private sectors, international business players and investors for a discussion on how Nigeria can turn its economic growth into social and political prosperity,” Daniel Franklin, Executive Director of The Economist disclosed.

Further details about the summit and registration process visit www.NigeriaSummit.Economist.com.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Economist Events.

PRESS ENQUIRIES

For enquiries relating to the event or media attendance at the event, please contact:

CMC Connect Burson-Marsteller: Tola Odusote. Senior Group Head, Media & Public Affairs
Email: odusote.adetola@gmail.com or adetola.odusote@cmcconnectbm.com
Mobile: +234 8023103355

The Economist Events’ contact: Delores Broni, Senior Marketing Manager
E-mail deloresbroni@economist.com
Tel: +44 (0)20 7576 8139

For general queries or further information about the event please call 0207 576 5118 or e-mail emeaevents@economist.com

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Source:: Oshinbajo, Dangote, Tinubu, Wigwe, Philip Walker, others to speak at The Economist’s Nigeria Summit 2016

Categories: AFRICA

IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Tunisia

In response to a request from the Tunisian authorities, an IMF mission led by Mr. Amine Mati visited Tunis from February 18 to March 3, 2016, to hold discussions on a four-year arrangement under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF), expected to amount to about $2.8 billion, to support the country’s economic reform program. At the end of the visit, Mr. Mati issued the following statement:

“The team held productive discussions with senior government and Central Bank officials. It also met with members of parliament, representatives of the banking and private sectors, political parties, trade unions, donors, and civil society. Discussions focused on the government’s economic reform agenda, policy priorities to boost economic growth, and the role that the IMF can play to support Tunisia’s economic recovery.

“Moving ahead with economic reform is crucial as the Tunisian economy confronts several significant challenges. Economic growth is held back by investors’ wait-and-see attitude and regional uncertainties, unemployment is high, and the current account deficit remains significant. Promoting private-sector development and modernizing the public sector are important tasks. Additional financing will be needed to rebuild buffers, while at the same time correcting structural inefficiencies that lower Tunisia’s ability to create jobs and future growth potential.

“The team supports the government’s comprehensive economic reform program, spelled out in its economic vision, which is expected to be detailed in its forthcoming 5-Year Development Plan. The government program appropriately focuses on boosting economic growth, creating more jobs, and raising the living standards of all Tunisians. Overall, the program will help make growth more inclusive and reduce regional disparities. To achieve these objectives, the government has committed to continue pursuing prudent macroeconomic policies and accelerate the implementation of its ambitious structural reform agenda. The mission discussed its observations on the economic reform program with the Tunisian authorities.

“Negotiations for a new IMF arrangement to support the government’s economic reform program are at an advanced stage. As next steps, the team will continue its discussions with the authorities as they finalize their reform priorities and fine tune plans for this year’s budget execution and financing needs. In the coming weeks, the team plans to finalize the details of the EFF in support of Tunisia’s economic program.

“The mission would like to thank the authorities and all those with whom they met for their warm welcome and the frank and productive discussions.”

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

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Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Tunisia

Categories: AFRICA

Message of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on World Hearing Day 2016

Today, 3 March 2016, we join the world in observing World Hearing Day to raise awareness about the need to prevent and control hearing loss particularly among children. The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Childhood hearing loss: act now; here is how!”.

Around 360 million people – 5% of the world’s population – live with disabling hearing loss, and nearly 32 million of them are children. The vast majority of affected children live in low- and middle-income countries. In the African Region, it is estimated that 4.5% of the entire population and 1.9% of children live with this disability. Hearing loss is a barrier to education and social integration. In low-resource settings in which a child would already be at risk of injury, hearing loss can also represent an additional and crucial element of vulnerability. Furthermore, in a broader context, untreated hearing loss can affect the social and economic development of entire communities and countries.

WHO estimates that 75% of hearing loss in children under 15 years of age in low- and middle-income countries is preventable. Over 30% of childhood hearing loss is caused by diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, and ear infections. Another 17% of childhood hearing loss results from complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight, birth asphyxia and neonatal jaundice.

Clear interventions are available to reduce childhood hearing loss: prevention is crucial through strengthened immunization programmes, improvement of dissemination of good hygiene practices, provision of stronger maternal and child health services including advocating for the reduction in the use of ototoxic medicines in expectant mothers and newborns.

In affected children, early detection through screening programmes for hearing and the availability of timely and appropriate interventions as well as the provision of rehabilitation services can dramatically minimize the adverse impact of the disability and facilitate a normal education and social development.

Crucial achievements are possible in this area through recognition and visibility of the problem, shared responsibility and solidarity of African governments and partners, provision of accessible services to people in need.

As we commemorate World Hearing Day, I call on all countries and partners to sustain and strengthen the solidarity towards the fight against childhood hearing loss in the African Region. This means: filling major gaps in data collection to be used for advocacy, resource allocation and adequate planning; enhancing prevention and early detection; offering accessible services for treatment and rehabilitation to all children living with hearing loss and ensuring that no one is left behind.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.

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Source:: Message of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on World Hearing Day 2016

Categories: AFRICA

Research-based interventions to support climate change adaptation

The Government of Finland and The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) have signed an agreement of the implementation of the AFERIA programme with a value of 1 million Euros during 2016-2017.

This new initiative is a continuation of a programme named “Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa” (2011-2015) and aims to implement research-based interventions to manage climate risks and reduce vulnerability in the highlands of eastern Africa. It is aimed at supporting the ability of smallholder farming families living around fragile mountain ecosystems in eastern Africa to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change through research-based interventions.

Known as the Adaptation for Ecosystem Resilience in Africa (AFERIA), the two-year initiative will be coordinated by the Nairobi-headquartered International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), with funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Globally, and in Africa in particular, sensitive mountain ecosystems provide invaluable services, such as water provision, which are seriously threatened by accelerating land cover and land use change on the upper slopes where most of the remaining mountain forests are located. The capacity of these mountain water towers to store moisture, supply freshwater to the lowlands and reduce peak flood flows during extreme weather events has been compromised mainly by human activities, such as deforestation. The impacts are also amplified by increasing temperatures and variability in rainfall due to global climate change.

Through climate change adaptation action plans and technology transfer, the AFERIA Project will disseminate research findings on climate change impacts and implement research-based interventions in different agro-ecological zones including: the Taita Hills and Murang’a County in Kenya; Mount Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania and the Jimma Highlands of Ethiopia. The Project will cooperate with national and local organizations to reach smallholder farmers, especially women and special needs groups. Among the adaptation technologies to be transferred to communities are: drip irrigation, roof rain water harvesting, conservation agriculture, farm forestry and insect pest management.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Embassy of Finland in Nairobi.

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Source:: Research-based interventions to support climate change adaptation

Categories: AFRICA

Opportunity for UK citizens in Gambia to register to vote in the EU Referendum

Many British citizens living in Gambia will be eligible to register to vote in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on Thursday 23 June.

To be eligible to register you need to:

have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years
know your UK National Insurance number
know your British passport number
give your date of birth

The whole registration process can be completed online here. If you do not wish to register online, you can still download and post back paper forms from here. Deadline for registration is 12 working days before the day of the Referendum.

Once you have registered, you can choose how you wish to vote. You can vote by post, by proxy or in person at a polling station in the UK.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British Embassy Banjul.

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Source:: Opportunity for UK citizens in Gambia to register to vote in the EU Referendum

Categories: AFRICA

Explanation of Vote at the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2271 on South Sudan Sanctions

Ambassador David Pressman

Alternate Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City

March 2, 2016

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President.

This Council and the United Nations remain steadfast in their commitment to support the people of South Sudan in their quest for stability, peace, and good governance. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go and much work remains. As such, we must work together to send the right signals to South Sudan’s leaders. The Secretary-General perhaps put it best last week when he told the leaders bluntly: “Put peace above politics. Pursue compromise. Overcome obstacles. Establish the Transitional Government of National Unity. And do not delay it.”

This Security Council has repeatedly shown its willingness to use targeted sanctions to marginalize spoilers, target those who commit violations and abuses, and impose accountability for atrocities. This Council should consider carefully new proposals to use sanctions to better stabilize the situation, limit the unrestricted flow of arms, and incentivize the parties towards compromise.

Rather than rush this deliberative process, the United States supports the Security Council’s decision today to renew the current sanctions measures until April 15th and the mandate of the Panel of Experts for just a few more weeks, until May 15th. This period of time will allow the Council to fully discuss proposals that have been put forward by delegations around this table and will allow us time to measure the progress made by the parties on implementing the peace agreement and forming the transitional government.

We fully agree that this is a delicate moment in this peace process, but it is also a critical moment where humanitarian needs are greater than ever, human rights violations persist, and the people of South Sudan continue to suffer. Parties to this conflict need to show progress on the peace agreement signed last year, an agreement which is severely lagging in implementation, as we heard Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Chair Mogae testify to last month. We urge South Sudanese parties to take the key steps that are necessary for full implementation of the peace agreement.

Over the next several weeks, in line with the timeline set out by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, we expect to see full cooperation by both sides with implementation of the Juba security arrangements as decided by the JMEC Chair and agreed to by the parties on February 24th, with the return of designated SPLM-IO security to Juba. This should lead to the return of Riek Machar to Juba and immediate formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity. It is also important that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan suspend implementation of the decree creating 28 states as called for by IGAD in its January 30-31, 2016, communique.

We encourage South Sudan’s leaders to show their commitment to peace and to a prosperous future for the people of South Sudan through these concrete actions over the next weeks. We will use this time to support the parties in their effort to carry out these tasks, to measure their progress, and to respond appropriately.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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Source:: Explanation of Vote at the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2271 on South Sudan Sanctions

Categories: AFRICA

Japan Contributes to UN Mine Action Work in Sudan Enabling Clearance, Risk Education and Victim Assistance Work

The Government of Japan has decided to contribute USD 2.1 million to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for humanitarian mine action work, in coordination with the Sudan National Mine Action Center, in the Republic of Sudan. Aimed at reducing suffering and saving lives, this contribution will enable UNMAS to survey and clear landmines and explosive hazards in the States of Kassala, Red Sea, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. “This is a very important and significant contribution that enables the United Nations to continue its essential work. We expect to release more than 1.5 million square meters of land,” stated Mr. Habibulhaq Javed, the UNMAS Programme Manager in Sudan.

The generous donation will support risk education projects designed to assist 100,000 people living in affected regions and will also allow the United Nations to provide assistance to the children, women and men living with disabilities caused by landmines and explosive hazards.

“This contribution from the People of Japan, which represents 20 percent of our 2016 budget, will reduce casualties, make it possible for refugees and the internally displaced to safely return to their communities and homes and will improve the safety of humanitarian aid workers,” explained the Programme Manager Javed.

The contribution will also strengthen the National Mine Action Center’s (NMAC) quality assurance and project management capacities, which is a strategic objective of the United Nations in all of its mine action programmes.

Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Hideki Ito appreciated the commitment of the Sudanese Government in fulfilling its obligation under the Ottawa treaty. He said “The conflict is not over until its remnants are cleared. Japan is pleased to contribute to put a real end to the conflict through this project so that people can enjoy a safe and normal life in peace.” He stressed that landmines must be removed not only to save lives but also to open up new chances for development. He hoped that the contribution of Japan in land mine issue in Sudan will assist it in realizing a real end to the conflict and moving forward to economic development for the better lives of friendly Sudanese people. Ambassador Ito, in addition, hoped that other countries will also make contributions so that UNMAS can complete its operations.

Reaffirming Sudan’s commitments, General Ibrahim Mohamed El Hassan, the State Minister of Defense expressed that “We are highly committed towards our obligations under Ottawa Treaty and I am personally keen to see the very last mine removed from our land and our people live in peace and security.” Appreciating the contribution from the government of Japan to UNMAS for mine action operations in Sudan, He added “Japan is a good friend of Sudan, their contribution to mine action in Sudan is another example of expressing the friendship in practice”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

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Source:: Japan Contributes to UN Mine Action Work in Sudan Enabling Clearance, Risk Education and Victim Assistance Work

Categories: AFRICA

World Wildlife Day – the future is in our hands

‘The future of wildlife is in our hands’ – the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day and a call to action. The issues raised are serious and affect us all. The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is a major criminal industry worth more than £6bn each year. It threatens the existence of some of the world’s most iconic species, such as elephants, rhinos and tigers. It drives corruption and instability, undermines the rule of law and steals valuable resources from some of the world’s poorest communities.

The facts are stark. The illegal ivory trade worldwide has more than doubled since 2007. At least twenty thousand elephant poaching deaths were recorded in 2013. 2014 was the worst year on record for rhino-poaching with 1,293 killed across Africa. 2013 saw the Western Black Rhino declared as extinct – all species of rhino could be extinct in our lifetime. At least 1,000 park rangers have been killed while protecting wildlife over the last decade. I could go on.

The illegal wildlife trade threatens the security, stability and prosperity of all the communities it touches at every point along the chain. It erodes state authority and fuels conflict, costing lives and livelihoods.

So what can we do about it? The British Government, with our Embassies and High Commissions across the world, is actively working with international partners, governments and NGOs, to offer practical support to combat IWT: reducing demand, strengthening law enforcement, and developing sustainable livelihoods for affected communities. In 2014 the UK hosted the London Conference on IWT with the participation of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. At that conference, and at the follow up conference last year in Botswana, 40 countries endorsed a total of 40 commitments to action. The UK’s IWT Challenge Fund is funding 19 projects, and has just awarded a further 15, covering a range of species including elephants, rhinos and pangolins, lions, great apes, and tigers. The British military is training park rangers in Gabon. We have supported the African-led Elephant Protection Initiative, which has doubled in membership since its launch in London two years ago. And we sponsored the first ever UN resolution on IWT. But there is more to be done.

This year we will be supporting the government of Vietnam as it prepares to host in November the 3rd international conference on IWT. We are looking forward to supporting The Royal Foundation and United for Wildlife’s Transport Taskforce on IWT and working with international partners to ensure IWT is kept on the political agenda at UN General Assembly and the G20. Next week I will be in Tanzania where we have been working closely with the government to help protect that country’s incredible natural heritage.

The future of wildlife, and the communities and countries that are its home, is in our hands. We mustn’t let them down.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Dar es Salaam.

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Source:: World Wildlife Day – the future is in our hands

Categories: AFRICA

FAO Food Price Index steady in February, palm oil rises

The FAO Food Price Index was stable in February, as falling sugar and dairy prices offset a substantial jump in vegetable oil prices from the previous month.

Averaging 150.2 points for the month, the FAO Food Price Index was virtually unchanged from a revised 150.0 points in January and down 14.5 percent from a year ago.

FAO also issued its first forecast for the world’s 2016 wheat harvest, projecting 723 million tonnes of total production, about 10 million tonnes below last year’s record output.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.

Diverging from February’s generally stable trend was a sharp increase in the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index, which rose 8.0 percent from the previous month. That was led by a 13 percent surge in palm oil, which gained on reports of falling inventories and a poor production outlook in the near future. Soy oil prices also firmed as a result.

But other staple commodities more than absorbed that rise. The FAO Sugar Price Index declined 6.2 percent from January, buoyed by strong global inventories and improved crop conditions in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter.

The FAO Dairy Price Index fell 2.1 percent on the month amid sluggish imports, especially by China.

Prices of the world’s staple grains were broadly stable. The FAO Cereal Price Index inched down only around half a percentage point from the previous month but was 13.7 percent lower than a year earlier. Wheat prices fell 1.5 percent, maize prices slipped only slightly, while rice prices rose modestly.

Meanwhile, the FAO Meat Price Index rose slightly, buoyed by supply constraints for beef from Australia and the U.S. as well as support for private storage of pig meat in the European Union. Poultry prices fell, reflecting lower feed costs.

Strong 2016 wheat harvests seen in China and South Asia

FAO’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief forecasts a 1.4 percent drop in worldwide wheat output in 2016, due mainly to dry weather leading to reduced winter plantings in the Russian Federation and Ukraine. However, China and Pakistan are expected to sustain near-record wheat harvests, and India’s output is anticipated to recover.

FAO also trimmed its estimate of last year’s total cereal production to 2 525 million tonnes, reflecting updated wheat production estimates from India and revised output figure from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Estimates were also lowered for last year’s world output of coarse grains and rice due to developments in Asia. Combined world cereal production in 2015 is now seen at around 1.4 percent below the record level reached in 2014.

Global cereal stocks are likely to amount to 636 million tonnes by the close of seasons ending in 2016, nearly unchanged from their already high opening levels, but down 6.2 million tonnes from the previous month’s forecast. The revision mostly reflects reduced wheat inventory forecasts for the Islamic Republic of Iran and Uzbekistan, largely resulting from adjustments to historical stock numbers of both countries.

The world cereal stock-to-use ratio, a leading indicator of global world food security, still stands at a relatively high level of 24.7 percent.

FAO now expects world trade in cereals to decline by 2.0 percent in volume terms in 2015/16 from the previous season. That mostly reflects shrinking demand for wheat and barley, more than offsetting firmer demand for rice.

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

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Source:: FAO Food Price Index steady in February, palm oil rises

Categories: AFRICA

At less than a week to global science forum, Next Einstein Forum launches global call for a new era in science and technology in Africa

In less than a week, the first global forum for science on African soil will take place in Dakar, Senegal, from 8-10 March 2016. The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) (http://gg2016.nef.org) has launched a global call for support for Africa’s scientific and technological emergence (http://www.IamEinstein.org). The video, which asks the question, “Can the next Einstein come from Africa?” calls on game changers from Africa and around the world to support Africa’s scientific renaissance.

Watch the video “Can the next Einstein come from Africa?”: https://youtu.be/sR8TClNe9Ts

The Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2016, Africa’s premiere global science and technology forum is convened by the NEF, a global platform that brings together leaders in industry, policy, science, and technology. The first edition of this biennial event will set the stage for a vibrant conversation on transforming Africa and the world through a renewed and increased focus on science, technology and innovation. The NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) (http://www.NextEinstein.org) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

“At more than 700 participants from 80 countries already registered, 52% of them young people and 40% women, we are expecting a truly global forum that discusses opportunities, innovations, and solutions. The NEF Global Gathering will unveil Africa’s global contributions to science and technology and as the forum opens on International Women’s Day, we will specifically acknowledge the contributions and address the challenges faced by female scientists,” said Thierry Zomahoun, NEF Chair and President and CEO of AIMS.

The NEF Global Gathering 2016 will showcase the innovations and contributions of the NEF’s 15 Fellows –some of Africa’s brightest young scientists (http://www.NEF.org/fellows) who are on the frontline of Africa’s science renaissance. Flying under the radar, these scientists have been tackling some the continent’s most urgent technological and development challenges – from, big data and cybersecurity to hypertension, heart disease, immunology and public health. In addition, for the first time in history, all 54 African countries will come together to talk science and technology each represented by a NEF Ambassadors (http://NEF.org/ambassadors) that will work to raise awareness about science and technology in their countries.

“A great idea can come from anywhere in the world, and there is no doubt that new and novel scientific ideas to solve global health challenges will come from Africa.,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health and Science Policy, Johnson & Johnson and Member of the NEF International Steering Committee. “The scientific talent in Africa is outstanding with the potential to produce the next Einstein, Pasteur or Madame Curie. The world needs the best science from across the globe to solve the medical challenges of our lifetime like HIV, TB, and other infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika virus, and non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.”

With a truly exciting program (http://gg2016.nef.org) that focuses on advances in basic and applied science and technology as well as an innovation pitching competition, a Presidential Panel with H.E. President Macky Sall of Senegal and H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and other exciting sessions like Meet and Greets with groundbreaking scientists and inventors, the NEF Global Gathering 2016 will be live-streamed to a global audience from 8 March 2016 starting at 10:10 am UTC at www.NEF.org.

Supporters of science, innovation and technology as drivers of growth in Africa can join the NEF movement by pledging their signature at www.IamEinstein.org.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Next Einstein Forum (NEF).

MEDIA PARTICIPATION
Complimentary meeting registration is available to members of the media who provide appropriate press credentials and identification via the conference registration system. If you would like more information, contact us at info@nef.org

MEDIA CONTACTS
Nathalie Munyampenda
NEF Communications and Media Manager
T: +221 777967234
E: nmunyampenda@nef.org

For AIMS:
Mimi Kalinda
Director of Communications
E: mkalinda@nexteinstein.org

About the Next Einstein Forum

Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) (http://www.NextEinstein.org), an African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) initiative in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, will unite outstanding thinkers and distinguished stakeholders from around the world together in Africa for the first ever NEF Global Gathering on 8-10 March 2016 under the patronage of H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal. Held every two years, NEF Global Gatherings will showcase Africa’s top young scientists and connect them with leaders from Africa and the rest of the world in high-profile, invitation-only forums that touch on the three pillars of science, society and policy.

The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

Source:: At less than a week to global science forum, Next Einstein Forum launches global call for a new era in science and technology in Africa

Categories: AFRICA

United States Calls on Burundi to Carry Out Stated Commitments

Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC

March 2, 2016

The United States welcomes signs of intensified regional and international commitment to resolving the Burundi crisis. This includes the appointment of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as the full-time facilitator for the regionally mediated dialogue and recent commitments by the Government of Burundi to the UN and African Union (AU) to release political prisoners and allow independent monitors.

In particular, the United States recognizes the AU High Level Delegation’s success in securing the Government of Burundi’s acceptance of 200 AU human rights and security observers, and we urge the government to allow these officials complete and free access to perform their duties by signing the memorandum of understanding associated with their deployment without delay.

We urge prompt action by the Government of Burundi to implement President Nkurunziza’s promise to release at least 2,000 detainees. We also call upon the Government of Burundi to lift all restrictions on media, create conditions for citizens to safely express dissenting views, and drop charges against and release political opponents. We welcome the decision by the Government of Burundi to accept the first visit by three United Nations independent experts, appointed by the Human Rights Council, to investigate violations and abuses, and to meet with all stakeholders.

The United States looks forward to the East African Community immediately announcing a date for the resumption of dialogue with all stakeholders, both those inside and outside the country. The United States continues to urge all sides to lay the groundwork for a successful dialogue by refraining from the daily grenade attacks, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and other acts of violence that continue to destabilize Burundi. We also urge all the stakeholders to publicly commit to participating in the regionally-mediated dialogue without preconditions or red lines.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: United States Calls on Burundi to Carry Out Stated Commitments

Categories: AFRICA

Security Governance Initiative: 2015 Review

Report

Bureau of African Affairs

March 2, 2016

Enhancing the transparent, accountable, and legitimate management and oversight of security policy and practice

Overview

At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014, President Obama launched the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), a multi-year effort with $65 million in initial funding between the United States and partner countries to improve security sector governance and capacity to address threats. SGI partners with countries to undertake strategic and institutional reforms required for governments to tackle key security challenges. Together with our six current partners – Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia – SGI is making great strides to focus on shared security priorities and enhance security sector management. Each of the six countries has demonstrated partnership with the United States, expressed a desire to strengthen its security sector, and committed to the core elements of the initiative.

SGI’s central objective is to enable partner countries to develop and enhance policies, institutional structures, systems, and processes that allow them to more efficiently, effectively, and responsibly deliver security and justice to their citizens. SGI is not a tactical-level training and equipping program, but rather focuses on supporting partner country efforts to improve the management, oversight, accountability, and sustainability of security sector institutions.

SGI uses Presidential Policy Directive 23 on Security Sector Assistance (PPD-23) as a policy framework to ensure transparency and coordination across the U.S. government, and to help partner countries not only build sustainable capacity to address common security challenges, but also to promote universal values such as good governance. In line with PPD-23, SGI is also designed to share information, expertise, and lessons learned within the U.S. government and beyond to improve other ongoing and potential future security sector assistance.

Approach & Principles

SGI leverages expertise and experience from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Counterterrorism Center. Coordination and collaboration both within the U.S. government and with partner countries is a hallmark of SGI.

The SGI approach is based on the recognition that sustainable solutions to security sector challenges must come from within the country. SGI launches a dialogue between the U.S. government and partner countries to share experiences and sound practices, and identify opportunities to tackle urgent and emerging security challenges, while endorsing principles of good governance.

→ SGI applies a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach, focusing on the systems, processes, and institutions that reinforce democratic security sector governance.

→ SGI conducts joint analyses, shares data, and agrees on goals with partner countries.

→ SGI regularly measures and evaluates progress through consultation and dialogue with security sector stakeholders in partner countries.

→ SGI matches targeted investments with willing partners to strengthen military and civilian institutions.

→ SGI consults with a broad audience, including civil society, international donor partners and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to ensure a thorough understanding of issues and efforts to address security sector governance challenges.

Management

The Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs established an SGI Coordination Office that includes liaison officers from other U.S. government agencies. State also convenes an SGI Working Group to coordinate with the broader SGI interagency community. The SGI Coordination Office closely works with U.S. Embassy country teams in partner countries, which play a critical role in SGI program development and implementation.

Applying PPD-23’s central tenets of transparency and coordination across the U.S. government, the SGI Working Group includes all relevant U.S. government agencies working together to synchronize efforts, reduce redundancies, minimize assistance-delivery timelines, ensure consideration of the full range of policy and operational equities, improve data collection, and measure effectiveness.

National Security Council staff coordinate the interagency to drive implementation and engage senior interagency stakeholders at key decision points.

Process

Phase One – Pre-Consultation Coordination: Before traveling to a partner country for an initial visit, the SGI Office gathers information and organizes briefings with U.S. government and non-governmental country and subject matter experts. The SGI Office also arranges information-sharing and planning sessions with U.S. Embassy country teams to develop a shared understanding of the U.S. interests at stake, discuss the country-specific situation, and identify potential areas for engagement. The partner country assigns a senior SGI Point of Contact, usually in the Office of the President, to coordinate SGI engagement within its government, and provide oversight, access, and visibility to fulfill SGI objectives.

Phase Two – Consultation Visits: Multi-agency U.S. government teams visit SGI partner countries to meet with government representatives, non-governmental stakeholders, and international donors to identify challenges as well as opportunities for SGI to support partner country efforts to improve security and justice institutions. Based on priorities articulated by a partner country, the U.S. government proposes areas for SGI to focus. This identification and framing of requirements by partner countries is essential to the SGI process and will contribute to its success.

Phase Three – Development of Joint Country Action Plan: Once the United States and the partner country agree on the focus areas, the Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP) is developed to define the parameters of the SGI partnership. U.S. and partner country experts jointly conduct an analysis of the challenges and opportunities available in each focus area, to include reviewing any related and parallel activities. These expert teams then articulate the goals for each focus area and recommend activities, required steps, and milestones for achieving desired end states. A Senior SGI Steering Committee, co-chaired by U.S. officials and partner country counterparts, meets to review and approve the analysis and recommendations, and to develop a plan and schedule to monitor SGI activities and review SGI progress. The final JCAP is presented to U.S. and partner country leadership for signature.

Phase Four – JCAP Implementation: Using the JCAP as the roadmap, focus area teams design and implement programs to reach goals through a variety of bilateral engagement such as: technical assistance, mentoring, and workshops. Steering Committees convene periodically to review progress, modify goals as necessary, and agree on next steps.

Outreach

Outreach contributes greatly to SGI’s success. SGI outreach goals are to: 1) familiarize a wide range of stakeholders with the SGI approach and principles; 2) create opportunities for engagement and dialogue with technical experts to inform SGI analysis and implementation; and 3) coordinate SGI planning and implementation with key stakeholders to foster complementary activities and avoid duplication of efforts.

Key SGI Stakeholders

→ Civil Society Organizations: U.S.-based and SGI country-based think tanks, academics, advocacy groups, and other NGOs possess SGI country and regional expertise. They also have security sector governance subject matter expertise that provides valuable perspectives for SGI planning and programs. SGI leadership hosts information sessions with civil society organizations in Washington to provide updates on SGI progress, while soliciting ideas and support. Interagency delegations also meet with civil society organizations in SGI countries.

→ International Donors: Through consultations and coordination with other international partners in Washington, donor capitals, and SGI countries, SGI seeks to maximize the impact of security sector governance reform efforts by sharing information to ensure complementary activities.

→ Partner Country Representatives in Washington: Regular contact with SGI partner country embassies in Washington provides the opportunity to brief ambassadors on SGI activities, discuss security sector governance challenges, and receive feedback from senior level SGI partner country representatives.

Lesson Learned

Since its launch in 2014, SGI has tackled challenges and learned from these experiences. The following are key lessons that have shaped SGI thus far.

→ A steadfast commitment is required by partner countries, U.S. government interagency partners, and U.S. embassies for SGI to succeed. Each plays a unique and important role in ensuring appropriate SGI management, coordination and prioritization of efforts, and in identifying opportunities to contribute to long-lasting reforms.

→ Civil society and international donor partners provide a vital perspective. Establishing an SGI community is critical to share best practices and ideas, provide for a more rigorous analysis of security sector governance, and prevent the duplication of efforts.

→ The SGI process has helped both the U.S. government and partner country governments develop whole-of-government strategies and exchange information to address security challenges. PPD-23 provides a useful model for developing U.S. government coordination mechanisms.

→ Defining milestones and measuring results help determine the efficacy of the SGI approach and process. The development of a monitoring and evaluation framework is important to guide SGI implementation and decisions on next steps for country-level engagement, as well as the future of SGI more broadly.

Ghana

The Government of Ghana (GOG) has signaled its commitment to the SGI process, principles, and partnership, by conducting frank conversations about security sector governance, and proactively organizing inter-ministerial working groups to support the implementation of SGI activities. The SGI-Ghana U.S. Head of Delegation is Ambassador Susan Page.

September 2015
• Focus Areas Approved

October 2015
• JCAP Drafted

February 2016
• JCAP to be Signed

Focus Areas

Maritime Security
Border Management
Cybersecurity and Cybercrime

→ Cross-cutting Theme: Administration of Justice

SGI Engagement: SGI consultations prompted senior inter-ministerial dialogue on critical security governance challenges, sparking candid analysis of interagency processes, responsibilities, and gaps. This yielded an unexpected SGI focus area for Ghana – cyber security and cybercrime. Ghana ranks second in Africa in the number of web-based crimes occurring each year, and many victims are in the United States. The GOG also relies more extensively than many countries in Africa on electronic financial transactions, which if not properly secured are vulnerable to attack. At the GOG’s request, SGI will partner with Ghana to develop clearer authorities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute cybercrime.

Ghana also faces a variety of maritime security and land border management challenges. Offshore, threats undermine safety in its coastal waters as well as hurt prospects for economic development, including piracy, terrorism, oil bunkering (theft), narcotics trafficking, illegal fishing, and environmental degradation. Onshore, enhancing border management is necessary in order to address porous land borders that allow Transnational Criminal Organizations to engage in drug and human trafficking, bulk cash smuggling, and the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, all of which threatens the safety of the populations around the borders and legitimate trade and commerce. Established in 2002, the Ghana Maritime Authority provides an opportunity for SGI to support improved coordination across Ghanaian agencies responsible for various aspects of maritime security. Similarly, SGI will help the GOG improve land border management by supporting the establishment of an interagency border management group to clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and legal authorities needed to empower border security agencies to ensure appropriate oversight, enforcement, and accountability.

Kenya

September 2014
• Initial Consultation Visit

February 2015
• Focus Areas Approved

March 2015
• JCAP Drafted

May 2015
• Kenyan Prosecutors Visit US

June 2015
• Border Advisor Deployed
• Integrated Border Management Architecture Workshop

July 2015
• JCAP signed

August 2015
• IBM Strategic Planning Workshop in Washington, DC
• Police HRM Infrastructure Assessment

September 2015
• Evidence Workshop

November 2015
• Senior Steering Committee

Focus Areas

Integrated Border Management
Police Human Resource Management
Administration of Justice

→ Cross-cutting Theme: Countering Violent Extremism

The Government of Kenya (GOK) is enthusiastic about SGI and responded positively to initial outreach efforts. President Uhuru Kenyatta received the head of delegation and U.S. Ambassador to pledge the full support of his government to SGI, and quickly appointed a senior GOK point of contact to facilitate high level discussions on critical security sector governance issues. The progress made to date is due to excellent bilateral collaboration, and proactive steps Kenya has taken to meet desired SGI objectives. Kenya was the first of the SGI partners to finalize a JCAP, which was signed on the margins of President Obama’s visit to Nairobi in July 2015. The SGI-Kenya U.S. Head of Delegation is Ambassador (retired) Pamela Bridgewater.

SGI Engagement: The three mutually agreed focus areas for SGI-Kenya address shared security interests and challenges. The GOK identified thwarting the movement of terrorists across the porous Kenya borders, particularly the Somalia border, as one of its highest national security priorities. Through SGI, the U.S. government is working with Kenya on integrated border management to create a holistic border management program. This integration will ensure GOK’s capability to effectively manage both the legal and illegal movement of people and goods by land, air, sea, and rail in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

Countering the threat of violent extremism requires the full participation of all members of Kenya’s diverse population. SGI is working with the GOK to enhance police human resources management and the administration of justice in order to foster greater public confidence in security institutions, prevent the marginalization of segments of Kenya’s population, remove obstacles hindering effective prosecution, and allow all citizens access to judicial resources and recourse.

Thus far, SGI has helped the GOK in its efforts to draft an integrated border management strategy; craft legislation to prevent illicit trafficking of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), dual use technology, and conventional weapons; and completed an assessment of the current human resource management systems infrastructure for both the National Police Service Commission and the National Police Service. As part of SGI, Kenyan investigators and prosecutors examined U.S. methods of generating admissible evidence in terrorism cases.

Mali

January 2015
• Initial Consultation Visit

August 2015
• Focus Areas Approved

September 2015
• JCAP Drafted

December 2015
• JCAP Signed

January 2016
• Defense strategic planning workshop in Washington

Focus Areas

Alignment of Ministry of Defense Resources to Real Operational Needs
Police Human Resource Management
Improving Human Resource Management through a Justice Sector Strategy

→ Cross-cutting Theme: Interagency Coordination

From the outset, the Government of Mali (GOM) and the Malian public have shown interest in and commitment to the SGI. In January 2015, newly-appointed Prime Minister Modibo Keita and his cabinet met the visiting SGI consultation team as his first international meeting. Local Malian press covered the SGI visit and the subsequent JCAP signing ceremony, providing an opportunity to share security governance principles with the Malian public. The SGI-Mali U.S. Head of Delegation is Ambassador (retired) Larry Wohlers.

SGI Engagement: The SGI process has provided insights into planned Malian justice reforms and the national security strategy. SGI has also provided a forum for Malian inter-ministerial discussions on security sector governance priorities, and the opportunity to explore innovative reform options outside of the current system of governance. The GOM demonstrated its commitment to security sector reform by independently taking actions to address SGI objectives.

Mali faces several security governance challenges as it works to consolidate and build on the 2013 restoration of democracy and implementation of a peace accord. The SGI focus areas seek to strengthen internal decision-making processes in key security sector institutions, particularly the Ministries of Defense, Security (police), and Justice. These include the systems and processes that oversee the budget, human resources, resource management, accountability, strategy, and policy. The police, for example, have not recruited new personnel since 2011, and existing recruitment efforts lack sufficient rigor to yield high-quality results. In all three agencies, challenges in managing logistics and matching resources to identified needs have reduced the effectiveness of security efforts. Improvements in these areas will make the provision of other U.S. assistance more effective, as well as assist the GOM in rebuilding effective security institutions in order to address its national security priorities, to include providing enhanced citizen security throughout the country and ensuring access to justice for all.

While the current security situation in Mali limits opportunities for SGI to engage in-country, a defense strategic planning workshop was held in Washington in January 2016 and programming to evaluate court procedures is underway in Mali.

Niger

January 2015
• Initial Consultation Visit

May 2015
• Focus Areas Approved

June 2015
• JCAP Drafted

October 2015
• JCAP Signed
• Conducted strategic framework and resource needs workshop

November 2015
• Conducted workshop on structures and processes required for improved external communication

January 2016
• Conducted workshops to enhance strategic planning, human resource management, logistics management, and budgeting
• Deployment of Embassy SGI Coordinator

The Government of Niger (GON) has welcomed the SGI approach and appointed a senior-level official in the Office of the Presidency as the SGI point of contact. The President of Niger and Prime Minister both engaged with the local press during the SGI consultation team’s visit and highlighted SGI as a major feature in the future of the bilateral partnership. The SGI-Niger U.S. Head of Delegation is Ambassador (retired) Larry Wohlers.

SGI Engagement: Niger faces a variety of security threats that are acute and expanding. The GON has been effective in responding to the rapid rise in threats since 2012, but the SGI process identified the lack of a broader strategic security framework as one factor hampering the GON’s ability to comprehensively address these threats. SGI will work with the GON to develop a National Security Review and Strategic Framework to help the GON analyze current and emerging threats and efficiently allocate resources to address them. These efforts will include developing systems to plan for multi-year programming, which is not currently possible in the Nigerien system. SGI will also work to help develop an approach to manage human and material security sector resources, including human resources, logistics, and budgeting. This is needed because each of Niger’s five security services currently manages separate and sometimes conflicting human resources classifications, recruiting, and oversight systems. These inconsistencies have eroded employee confidence and degraded the ability to effectively recruit. Enhancing consistency in job qualifications, management policies, procedures, and doctrine will help remedy these challenges. Finally, Nigerien security services struggle to effectively communicate with the public due to both a lack of established channels and insufficient experience. SGI will work with the GON to enhance its external communication in order to build public trust with its citizens.

Focus Areas

National Security Review and Strategic Framework
Alignment of Human and Material Resources to More Efficiently Address Short- and Long-Term Security Needs
External Communication

As a result of keen interest and active participation, the GON has already proactively instituted several reforms, such as the Prime Minister’s call for each Ministry to appoint a designated media/communications contact to facilitate interagency communication and public outreach.

Security Governance Initiative: 2015 Review

May 2015
• Initial Consultation Visit

October 2015
• Conducted pre-JCAP visit

February 2016
• Focus Areas Approved

March 2016
• JCAP Drafting

Focus Areas

Border Management
Police Policy, Procedure, and Community Engagement
Promoting Integrity and Addressing Radicalization in the Criminal Justice System

The Government of Tunisia (GOT) has expressed a strong interest in working on security sector reform issues through SGI. An SGI consultation team visited Tunis in May 2015 and November 2015. The Tunisian and U.S. governments reaffirmed a commitment to this multi-year partnership during other high-level engagements, including the U.S.-Tunisia Strategic Dialogue and the visit of President Caid Essebsi to Washington in May 2015. The SGI-Tunisia U.S. Head of Delegation is Ambassador (retired) Ronald Neumann.

SGI Engagement: Since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, Tunisia has been working to institutionalize its new democracy. However, the GOT faces several security governance challenges as it works to counter its many threats. The three SGI focus areas in Tunisia address shared security interests. As in Kenya and Ghana, porous borders have facilitated the flow of armed groups, weapons, and illicit trade into Tunisia, contributing to Tunisia’s growing terrorist challenge. Under SGI the U.S. government will partner with the GOT to improve Border Management by enhancing coordination among the various ministries with responsibilities for border control. By improving police policies and procedures, especially with respect to community engagement, SGI will help the GOT build public support for its security forces, by enhancing their legitimacy and improving transparency, all of which are crucial to ensure citizen security.

Finally, SGI will work with the GOT to strengthen the judiciary and law enforcement agencies as legitimate democratic institutions and to help address key drivers of radicalization. This SGI partnership will facilitate a strategic approach to address these issues and identify Tunisian-led solutions to their most pressing security sector governance concerns.

Thank you to all that have contributed to the progress the Security Governance Initiative made in 2015.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Security Governance Initiative: 2015 Review

Categories: AFRICA