The Commissioner for Peace and Security Meets the UN Secretary General

The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui was received at the UN Headquarters by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon in New York, on 22 March 2016.

The Commissioner thanked the UN Secretary General for receiving him and conveyed the greetings of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. They discussed the latest developments in Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, DRC, Burundi and Western Sahara as well as the issue of sustainable and predictable funding for AU led peace operations. They also expressed concern on the spread of terrorism and the need to step up efforts in the fight against the scourge.

The UN Secretary General and the Commissioner for Peace and Security expressed their mutual appreciation for the growth and strengthening of the partnership between the AU and UN. They reiterated the importance for the AU and the UN to maintain close cooperation and coordination in addressing the peace and security challenges on the continent.

The Commissioner reiterated the AU’s full support to the Secretary General in the discharge of his responsibilities as mandated by the Security Council and its deep appreciation for his integrity and relentless efforts to address conflict situations across the continent in order to achieve sustainable peace and development.

– See more at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/press-release-the-commissioner-for-peace-and-security-meets-the-un-secretary-general#sthash.tWVEw4UE.Hg5Il1IV.dpuf

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

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Source:: The Commissioner for Peace and Security Meets the UN Secretary General

Categories: AFRICA

Canada welcomes newly adopted Congolese children

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Omar Alghabra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs), today issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, we extend a warm welcome to the five newly adopted Congolese children who arrived yesterday and to the 24 others who preceded them over the past months.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to Ginette Martin, Ambassador of Canada to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, and her team in Kinshasa for doing everything they could do to resolve the challenges faced by these families. Together, we remain deeply moved by the resiliency and conviction of the parents who experienced a number of difficulties in finalizing the adoptions and bringing their children home.

“We would like to acknowledge the members of Parliament and the Senate from both sides of the aisle who contributed to this outcome. Working together as parliamentarians is the best way to help Canadians in trouble around the world. We also acknowledge the efforts by Congolese authorities to expedite the adoption cases over the past few months.

“The remaining five children were finally united with their new families in their new homes in Canada yesterday. The Government of Canada is therefore pleased to report that the adoption cases of Canadian families in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] that were pending have all been resolved.”

International adoptions from the DRC had been suspended since September 2013 pending a review by the Congolese authorities of internal procedures.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.

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Source:: Canada welcomes newly adopted Congolese children

Categories: AFRICA

North Africa Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Ending Child Marriage and other Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa opens in Cairo, Egypt

A five-day workshop to build the capacity of North African Member States of the AU, to end Child Marriage kicked off today in Cairo, Egypt.

The workshop organised by African Union Commission in conjunction with UNFPA, UNICEF, Inter-African Committee and the African Chid Policy Forum, under theme; “Ending Child Marriage and Other Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa – Mechanisms and Strategies” is being attended by experts from Regional Economic Communities, Member States and regional based Civil Society Organizations from the North African Region and is the 3rd in the series of Workshops, with similar workshops having taken place in Zambia and Nigeria for Eastern and Southern Africa; and West and Central Africa respectively.

The workshop will encompass theoretical presentations on the linkages of harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, the role of stakeholders and the effect of traditional and religious practices of child marriage on Africa’s socio-economic development.

In her welcome remarks, the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Health and Population, Dr Maissa Shokri, expressed appreciation for the commitment shown by the African Union Member States towards the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa and outlined some of the lessons learned from the Egyptian experience on the eradication of FGM/C and the aspiration to declare Egypt as child marriage and FGM free. She referred to policy level actions adopted by the Egyptian government to provide a protective framework, including the 2008 child law, as well as the 2014 national strategy on child marriage, which revolved around the early detection of girls at risk of dropping out, formulating unified messages on the harmful effects of CM, targeting vulnerable families with a package of social services.

The Minister charged all workshop participants to maximize the opportunity in coming up mechanisms and strategies that will reflect the noble cause of ending child marriage and other harmful trditional practices within the broader agenda of safe-guarding the life of children, especially the girl child.

On behalf of the African Union Commission, Mr Nadir Fath Elalim, the Acting head of the AU Mission in Cairo, thanked the Government of the Arab Reupublic of Egypt for accepting to host the North Africa Regional Capacity Building Workshop, stating that ‘the Government of Egypt offers evidence toward the commitment of African governments in ensuring that resolutions are instituted nationally as well as at a community level’.

In a contemporary culture, where social volatility is a common occurrence, child marriage has become a dominant subject for debate. There needs to be continuous efforts to discover new directions in eradicating the practice and enhancing the prospects grounded in gender and development. Mr Elalim affirmed that, “Girls and women have the right to live free from violence and discrimination and achieve their potential and should not be forced into marriages or subkected to harmful practices that endager their health and wellbeing.

The UNFPA Deputy Representative for Egypt, Dr. Magdi Khaled, noting that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region has led to increasing rates of child marriage, due a host of reasons ranging from a lack of education, increasing poverty rates and insecurity, but appluaded the partnership of AU, UNICEF and UNFPA in organizing this regional training program, with a view to discussing and agreeing on strategies to end child marriage and come up with action plans for countries to implement at national level.

The UNICEF Deputy Representative for Egypt, Ms. Gillian Wilcox, also expressed her thanks to the AU and the government of Egypt for hosting the regional workshop. She stressed the importance of partnership in ending HTP and elaborated on UNICEF’s partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the National Population Council (NPC) on the eradication of FGM.

About the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa

The campaign was launched at the continental level in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 29 May 2014, during the Conference of Ministers of Social Development. It aims at ending child marriage by: (i) supporting legal and policy actions in the protection and promotion of human rights, (ii) mobilizing continental awareness of the negative socio-economic impact of child marriage, (iii) building social movement and social mobilization at the grassroots and national levels; and (iv) increasing the capacity of non-state actors to undertake evidence based policy advocacy including the role of youth leadership through new media technology, monitoring and evaluation among others.

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

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Source:: North Africa Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Ending Child Marriage and other Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa opens in Cairo, Egypt

Categories: AFRICA

Event – Restoration, reinvigoration and renewal of the APRM

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: Media is invited to attend the side event of the APRM under the theme – RESTORATION, REINVIGORATION AND RENEWAL OF THE APRM.

WHO: Former Presidents H.E Thabo Mbeki (SA), H.E Chissano and H.E Amos Sawyer will be discussants of this critical topic.

Prof. Eddie Maloka, Chief Executive Officer of the APRM Secretariat, Dr Carlos Lopez, Executive Secretary, UNECA and H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission will preside over the proceedings of the event.

DATE: Saturday, 2 April 2016,

TIME: 11h30 to 13h30

WHERE: UNECA Compound in CR4.

BACKGROUND: The APRM in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is organizing a Panel Discussion on the Revitalization of the APRM as a Side Event. We believe this is an opportune moment to bring to the APRM Vision and Turnaround Strategy aimed at revitalizing the APRM and restoring the Mechanism to its glory as the premier African governance framework under the current leadership of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chairperson of the Forum of Heads of State and Government Participating in the APRM (APR Forum).

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

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Source:: Event – Restoration, reinvigoration and renewal of the APRM

Categories: AFRICA

President John Mahama Launches the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Ghana

In an effort to strengthen and accelerate national consciousness and action towards ending child marriage, the Government of the Republic of Ghana has now launched the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa. In his keynote address, Mr. John DramaniMahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, noted that,“Child marriage is the most obnoxious practice of the 21st century and a total violation of the rights of children, especially the girl-child”. The Launch of the campaign took place on the margins of the 7th African Conference on Sexual and Health Rights hosted by the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA).

The Republic of Ghana is the 11th African Nation to launch the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage. The Ghanaian launch of the campaign took place in Accra at the State Banquet Hall, and was hosted by H.E. LordinaMahama, First Lady of Ghana and President of OAFLA. The First lady was among 11 first ladies present at the launch, which included the First Ladies of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Other prominent attendees included Naa Prof. J.S. Nabila, president of the National House of Chiefs, as the voice of traditional leaders. The Ghanaian First Ladynoted the need for immediate and widespread action in addressing the implications of child marriage as well as the disempowerment of African girls and women.

In Ghana, despite the legal age of marriage being 18 for both girls and boys, 21% of Ghanaian girls are married before they reach the age of 18 years with rates amounting to as high as 50% in the northern part of the country.[1] Alarmingly, girls can marry as young as 16 with the consent of their parents.Her Excellency, Hon. Nana OyeLithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection highlighted the need for a multi-sectoral approach toward addressing the issue, thus, engaging local communities to strengthen their efforts in standing by the Campaign and to accelerate dialogue between religious leaders, civil society organizations, men, boys and the youth.

The launch highlights an increased political commitment to end child marriage in Ghana, with the development of a national strategy making what was once a controversial issue firmly represented on the political agenda. Ms. Christine Muhigana, the UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa noted that keeping girls in school and allowing them pursue their dreams would contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the continent.

On behalf of the African Union Commission, the Commissioner for Social Affairs, His Excellency,Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kalokocongratulated the Government of Ghanaon the bold step of launching the AU Campaign and a national strategy on ending child marriage. The Commissioner emphasized the need to ensure that the implementation of the strategy reaches the communities mostly affected by the harmful practice of child marriage and encouraged all stakeholders to collectivelywork towards assuring that the campaign launch delivers the requiredchange and relief for young girls and adolescents.

About the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa:

The AU Campaign to End Child Marriage was launched at the continental level in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 29 May, 2014, during the Conference of Ministers of Social Development. TheCampaign is aimed at ending child marriage by means of supporting and advocating legal and policy actions in the protection and promotion of human rights; mobilizing continental awareness of the adverse socio-economic impact of child marriage;fostering social movement and social mobilization at the grassroots and national levels; and amplifying the capacity of non-state actors to undertake evidence based policy advocacy including the role of youth leadership through new media technology, monitoring and evaluation – amongst others.

[1] Girls not Brides, http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/ghana/, Accessed: 26 January 2016

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

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Source:: President John Mahama Launches the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Ghana

Categories: AFRICA

Expert Group Meeting on Revitalization of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM): Strategizing, Planning, and Developing Improved Review Methodologies

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: Media is invited to attend the APRM Experts meeting which seeks to conjure up strategies to improve the APRM review methodologies.

WHO: Prof. Eddie Maloka, Chief Executive Officer of the APRM Secretariat, Dr Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECA, H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union will lead discussions.

DATE: 29 – 30 March 2016,

TIME: 09h30

WHERE: AU Conference Centre.

BACKGROUND: The objective of this expert meeting is to provide a platform to discuss and deliberate on elements of a Revitalization Strategy for APRM from an expert point of view and also provide the CEO with a forum to share his vision for the Mechanism. This would include revisiting the APRM methodology and updating its mandate to include important developments on the Continent including AU Agenda 2063 and UN Agenda 2030, with a view to outlining key strategic priorities on the way forward.

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

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Source:: Expert Group Meeting on Revitalization of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM): Strategizing, Planning, and Developing Improved Review Methodologies

Categories: AFRICA

Egypt’s National Coordinating Committee on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration Undertakes Study visit to Italy

Eleven senior officials from the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combatting Illegal Migration (NCCPIM) have undertook a study visit organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM Egypt) to Italy on best practices in the protection of vulnerable migrants, with particular emphasis on unaccompanied migrant children.

The study visit supports NCCPIM to operationalize Egypt’s law on “Combatting Illegal Migration and Migrant Smuggling” which was recently approved by the Egyptian Council of Ministers and revised by the State Council, and is currently under review by the Egyptian Parliament. IOM Egypt provided technical support to NCCPIM for the development of the Law.

“The study visit will feed into the development process of NCCPIM’s 2016-2018 National Strategy on Combating Illegal Migration, especially regarding the establishment and operationalization of a national referral mechanism for unaccompanied migrant children”, highlighted Ambassador Naela Gabr, chairperson of NCCPIM.

“The experience gained from this study visit will help inform the strategy’s priorities, which in turn will ensure that no migrant is left behind; and particularly every child at risk of, and or engaged in, illegal/irregular migration is catered for in accordance to the Egyptian law,” emphasized IOM Egypt Head of Office Amr Taha.

IOM and NCCPIM have developed a constructive relationship since the Committee’s establishment by Prime Ministerial Decree in 2014. NCCPIM is the Egyptian government focal point for policies and efforts in the field of preventing and combating irregular migration. The Committee comprises 20 different ministries and national entities, in addition to the National Council on Human Rights, and the one on Childhood and Motherhood.

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

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Source:: Egypt’s National Coordinating Committee on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration Undertakes Study visit to Italy

Categories: AFRICA

Condolence message sent to Pakistan by President Michel following Lahore suicide bombing

Following a devastating and senseless act of terror which has claimed over 60 lives in Lahore, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, President James Michel has sent letter on behalf of the Government and people of Seychelles to Mr Mamnoon Hussain, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

President Michel remarked that it was was with profound sadness and shock to have learnt of the suicide bombing that claimed more than 60 lives and injured over 200 others.

In his message President Michel said, “the Government and the people of Seychelles stand in support and solidarity with the people of Pakistan and wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to families of those who lost their lives and to those injured a speedy recovery.

President Michel also noted that the Government and people of Seychelles join him in condemning callous acts of terror and it was his wish that those responsible are swiftly brought to justice.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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Source:: Condolence message sent to Pakistan by President Michel following Lahore suicide bombing

Categories: AFRICA

Empowering Berna – A new initiative of “Merck More than a Mother” to mark CSW60 in partnership with Africa Fertility Society, BPW International and AFRAWE (African Alliances for Women Empowerment)

Merck KGaA (www.MerckGroup.com), Darmstadt Germany, in partnership with African Fertility Society, African Alliances for Women Empowerment (AFRAWE), and International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW), marked Commission Status of Women – CSW60 with the theme fighting violence against women and girls.

Through the “Merck More than A Mother” initiative (www.MerckMoreThanAMother.com), women leaders, women parliamentarians, Africa Fertility Society, Ministers of Gender, Healthcare Providers and media were invited to define interventions to raise awareness about infertility prevention and management. They sought to build fertility care capacity, support government to improve access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care, decrease the social suffering and stigmatization of infertile women and fertility at large in order to achieve any systemic shift in the current culture of gender discrimination in the context of fertility care in African societies.

During the event, they announced the start of a new initiative as part of “Merck More than a Mother” called “Empowering Berna”.

Berna Amullen is a Ugandan woman who suffered infertility as a result of an untreated Sexually Transmitted Disease – STD. Berna was diagnosed too late to be given proper treatment and she lost the hope of being a mother and leading a happy life.

In her video, Berna shared her devastating story of mistreatment, discrimination and violence by her husband, family and community due to her infertility condition. She speaks about her attempt to commit suicide and how she was saved at the last moment.

“There are many cases like Berna’s out there and we cannot just leave them to suffer alone without any hope of a happy and independent life. We all have to believe that women are more than mothers.” Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer of Merck Healthcare and Chair of Women Health of AEAWE emphasized, “Therefore ‘Empowering Berna’ initiative will aim to empower underprivileged infertile women who can no longer be treated. The initiative will help them to establish their own small business and build their own independent lives.”

“It is very important to empower infertile women by providing treatment so they can bear children as part of their human rights. In case they can no longer be treated, we are in partnership with Merck to empower and train them to establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives, a woman is more than a mother, Empowering Berna initiative will prove this every day,” Mentioned Dr. Amani Asfour, President of AFRAW.

“We will partner with “Merck More than a Mother” campaign to empower infertile women socially and economically through changing of mindsets and negative cultural aspects, elimination of violence against women and improving access to healthcare information and education,” H.E. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Liberia Minister of Gender said during the event.

During the event, Malawi Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, H.E. Hon. Patricia Anne Kaliati highlighted, “We should partner with other ministers in health, education and economy to change our policies and regulation to empower our women by improving their access to information, knowledge and through capacity building to start their own business. Thus, they will be independent and able to contribute to our local and global economy. This is the only way they can comprehend their rights, roles and responsibilities and be more than mothers.”

H.E. Hon. Sarah Opendi, Uganda Minister of State of Health said, “We are happy to partner with reputable and innovative companies such as Merck. We believe that “Merck More than a Mother” campaign addresses a very sensitive topic for the first time in Africa; we all know it is there but no one wants to talk about it. This initiative will help to empower infertile women by improving access to information and change in the culture and mindset.”

“Most Sub-Saharan African countries do not have trained embryologists hence, providing training to our embryologists will contribute significantly to improve the quality and accessibility of fertility care for couples in Uganda and Africa so that they can start their families,” she added.

“Through this historic campaign, Ministries of Health and Gender together with African Women Leaders will be able to contribute to raising awareness about discrimination, stigma and ostracism women undergo for their inability to have a child.” Dr. Yasimin Darwish, President of BPW International remarked, “We encourage men to acknowledge and discuss openly their fertility problems and strive for a team approach to family building with their partners in order to progress toward shared fertility responsibility among couples. BPW international commits to build advocacy for the More than a Mother campaign across the globe.”

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lower levels of development are thought to be associated with higher levels of non-genetic and preventable causes of infertility. For instance, poor nutrition, untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unsafe abortion, consequences of infections caused by the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) or child marriage, exposure to smoking, leaded petrol and other environmental pollutants can lead to infertility. Hence prevention awareness is very important,” Dr. James Olobo Lalobo, Vice President of Africa Fertility Society, explained.

All partners agreed on an affirmative action – Creating awareness about male infertility, infertility prevention and management integration in the existing healthcare infrastructure such as HIV prevention programs, mother and child, family planning and maternity health programs. “Moreover, pushing bills that regulate fertility care such as the Assisted Reproductive Technique – (ART) bill that has been approved by the National Assembly of Kenya,” states Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament and –Merck More than a Mother- Ambassador of Kenya.

Join the conversation and let your voice be heard:

In order to reduce the stigma of infertility, create awareness and define interventions to improve access to better fertility care in Africa.

Twitter handle: @MerckAndMothers

Facebook page: Merck More Than A Mother: http://www.apo.af/QzAcNn

YouTube Channel: Merck More Than A Mother: http://www.apo.af/hjlOqk

For more information on the “Merck More than a Mother” Campaign, please visit www.MerckMoreThanAMother.com

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Alliances for Women Empowerment and Africa Fertility Society.

Editor ; Amany Asfur

President of African alliances for Women Empowerment and Africa fertility Society

Source:: Empowering Berna – A new initiative of “Merck More than a Mother” to mark CSW60 in partnership with Africa Fertility Society, BPW International and AFRAWE (African Alliances for Women Empowerment)

Categories: AFRICA

Sudan Signs Action Plan to Protect Children from Violations in Armed Conflict

In an important milestone for the protection of children in Sudan, the Government signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to prevent the recruitment and use of children by Sudan Government Security Forces. The United Nations welcomes the Government’s commitment to protect children from violations in armed conflict.

“We will work to promote and protect children’s rights in areas of armed conflict and displacement. We are also committed to strengthen existing mechanisms that are included in the Child Act of 2010 and the Sudan Armed Forces law, ” said His Excellency Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim, State Minister of Social Welfare.

The State Minister of Social Welfare signed the Action Plan on behalf of the Sudanese Government in a high-level ceremony that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was attended by cabinet ministers to highlight the Government’s determination to turn the page on the recruitment and use of children.

“The United Nations in Sudan stands ready to support every step of the implementation of this Action Plan, ” declared the three co-chairs of the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, Bintou Keita, Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur, Marta Ruedas, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative.

The Action Plan sets out a series of measures to enhance the overall protection of children affected by armed conflict, including the cessation and prevention of child recruitment, and the release of children from national security forces.

The Government also committed to appoint a high-level focal point to coordinate the implementation of this Action Plan and to collaborate with the United Nations in monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan.

A new milestone for the campaign ‘Children, Not Soldiers’

With today’s signing of the Action Plan, all seven countries whose national security forces are listed by the Secretary-General for recruitment and use of children have committed to the objective of ‘Children, not Soldiers’, a global campaign to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by Government security forces in conflict.

“Twenty years after my mandate was created, governments around the world now agree that children should not be associated with national security forces in conflict,” said Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. “The Action Plan signed today will bring about a more protected future for the country’s children. I look forward to its full implementation and reiterate my full support to the Sudanese authorities to reach this objective.”

Upon successful completion of all measures agreed to in the Action Plan by the Sudanese Government and verification by the United Nations, the Sudanese Government Security Forces will be removed from the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict.

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

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Source:: Sudan Signs Action Plan to Protect Children from Violations in Armed Conflict

Categories: AFRICA

United States Congratulates Benin on Peaceful Election

Press Statement

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

Washington, DC

March 26, 2016

The United States congratulates the people of Benin on holding a successful presidential election that international observers deemed free and fair. Over the past 25 years, the Beninese people and their leaders have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to the democratic process. This election, once again, has proven the strength and vibrancy of Benin’s democracy.

We also congratulate President-elect Patrice Talon. The United States looks forward to working with the new administration and the people of Benin to enhance prosperity through good governance, improved healthcare, and access to energy. We also will continue our partnership to fight common security threats, including transnational crime and terrorism.

We recognize the Benin Autonomous National Electoral Commission’s (CENA) conduct of the elections and thank civil society organizations for the supportive roles they played in producing a transparent and fair electoral process.

Finally, we applaud President Boni Yayi for his commitment to an orderly and timely political transition, and Prime Minister Zinsou, whose respect for the election results was a superb example of leadership and support for democracy.

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

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Source:: United States Congratulates Benin on Peaceful Election

Categories: AFRICA

1000 Young Nigerians to Receive N500million Naira Grant for Start Ups

Over 1000 Nigerians will this year be beneficiaries of N500Million Naira Grant seed capital set aside for young Nigerian entrepreneurs and students.

This was disclosed today during the launch of the YESGrant Scheme (www.YESGrant.com) by the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) (http://www. NYPForum.org) in partnership with Heritage Bank, which took place at the Four Point Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.

The event which was very well attended by dignitaries, including representatives from the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as well as captains of industries and top Government Functionaries as part of efforts to grow more indigenous entrepreneurs among young Nigerians and deliberately create over 50,000 jobs in the next 5 years of the program circle.

Speaking during the launch, Chairman of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF), Moses Siloko Siasia, said he was inspired by the big impact small businesses can have on the economy and that was why the grant was created to provide incubator support to enable young entrepreneurial postulants with creative ideas in Agriculture, ICT and creative economy start or expand their business concepts in those areas.

“I have built businesses from the scratch and I understand the challenges people face and that is why I am optimistic that if given the necessary support, young Nigerians will not only grow the Nigerian economy, they will completely revolutionize it”.

Speaking also, the Managing Director of Heritage Bank (http://www.HBng.com), who was represented by the Head of Marketing Strategy Mr Obioma Emenike said he was optimistic that the initiative would lead to start ups and give a boost to economic growth and issued a call out to entrepreneurs to use their network to encourage their friends and colleagues apply for it.

The YESGrant will provide business training for up to 600 aspiring young entrepreneurs spread across all geo-political zones in Nigeria and will encourage expansion, specialization and spin-offs of existing businesses, which is to enable young entrepreneurs access a wide business professional network and improve their visibility, while entrepreneurs will receive up to 2million Naira annually as grant.

The YESGrant is to enable Nigerian students with extreme financial need pursue their academic dreams and aspiration in the areas of research and technological/scientific innovation and it will also help low income and disadvantage students with their tuition of which over 500 students will benefit from this year’s grant .

Furthermore, Students studying in Nigeria will receive up to 500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) while those studying in the United Kingdom will receive up to 3,000pounds and those studying in the United States will receive up to 5,000dollars annually as grant

To apply for the YESGrant available at www.YESGrant.com prospective recipients must be between the ages of 18- 40, be registered members of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and have an account with Heritage Bank prior to the disbursement of the funds in August 2016. Student’s award recipients must in addition provide their matriculation number and academic progression report.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF).

Media contact:
Temitope Obe
owomilere.obe@gmail.com
+2349091591509

Source:: 1000 Young Nigerians to Receive N500million Naira Grant for Start Ups

Categories: AFRICA