Round table on governance issues in the multi stakeholder responses to the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: Round table on governance issues in the multi stakeholder responses to the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa

The opening ceremony will be addressed by the Commissioner/Director of the African Union’s Department of Social Affairs; Director of APSP/IPSS; Director APN/SSRC; Head of Oxfam Delegation to the AU and Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

WHEN: Monday 4th April 2016

WHERE: The roundtable will take place at the AU Commission HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 4 April 2016, starting at 09:00

It will be conducted in both in English and French.

WHO: The meeting will be attended by representatives of the African Union Commission, Member States especially officials from the affected countries, UN agencies, Scientists, CSOs, INGO, partner organizations involved in the response against the EVD, researchers, and policy makers.

WHY: The meeting is expected to achieve the following:

Create a platform for leading academics, civil society actors and policy-makers at the levels of national government, RECs and the AU to engage in deeper reflections and holistic stocktaking around governance-related lessons learned vis-à-vis the multi-stakeholder’s responses to EVD;
Provide a first-time opportunity for those who took the lead, at great cost, to mobilize national, regional, continental and global responses to share their first-hand experiences with key policy makers;
Give national governments, RECs and the AU an opportunity to re-evaluate available emergency response options, and the basis for future harmonization of such response options;
Produce critical insights and innovative outcomes capable of feeding into debate and deliberations on future health emergencies.

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

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Categories: AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire to chair FAO Regional Conference for Africa for the next two years

Mr. Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa along with Mr. Germain Dasylva, FAO Representative to Côte d’Ivoire, briefed the press on the forthcoming 29th Session of FAO Regional Conference for Africa (4-8 April 2016, Sofitel Abidjan Hôtel Ivoire).

More than 50 Ministers of Agriculture and related sectors from 49 countries have confirmed their attendance as well as high officials from FAO and the host country. Representatives of regional, intra-regional and international organizations, civil society and the private sector are welcome as observers to the sessions of the Conference.

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

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Source:: Côte d’Ivoire to chair FAO Regional Conference for Africa for the next two years

Categories: AFRICA

Upscaling Sustainable Charcoal Production in Namibia

According to the best available estimates, 26-30 million hectares of Namibian farmland are affected by bush encroachment. Evidence exist that this phenomenon severely degrades rangelands and hampers agricultural productivity. At the same time bush encroachment creates unique opportunities for the Namibian economy if biomass is recognised as a valuable resource for existing and new value chains.

Acknowledging the overall importance of bush control, the governments of Namibia and Germany agreed on a 4-year Project to address both the challenges and opportunities that bush encroachment entails.

The Support to De-bushing Project runs from 2014 until 2017 and is a bilateral cooperation between the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The Project’s overall objective is to trigger large-scale bush thinning activities. To this end a demand- driven approach is pursued, focusing on the identification and testing of potential bush based biomass value chains. The Project selected three value chains to be supported during the course of its project lifetime, namely the value chains of charcoal, animal feed and biomass energy.

The MAWF/GIZ Support to De-bushing Project conducted a first charcoal stakeholder workshop in November 2015 in Otjiwarongo to identify joint sector promotion activities for the year 2016.

The identified activities were based on the Sector Growth Strategy developed by the Ministry for Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development (MITSD). The charcoal stakeholders agreed on the joint vision to develop a fully functioning sector association and to introduce improved production methodologies in order to foster sustainable charcoal production in Namibia.

It is against this background that the MAWF/ GIZ Support to De-Bushing Project has signed a Financial Agreement with the Namibian Agricultural Union, to which the NCPA is currently affiliated.

The agreements foresees financial support of NAD 1,691,000 (ONE MILLION SIX HUNDRED NINETY ONE THOUSAND) and runs for the period April 2016 to December 2016.

The financial agreement encompasses the following activity areas: 1) re-shaping the organisational structures of the NCPA, 2) setting up a pilot project on improved production technologies and methodologies, 3) developing a marketing strategy for the Namibian charcoal sector, 4) developing informational material and training manuals.

The official start of this cooperation was celebrated during an inception meeting, which took place at the C’est Si Bon Hotel in Otjiwarongo on Thursday, 31 March 2016. The meeting was attended by NCPA management and members, NAU representatives, as well as representatives of MAWF/Directorate of Forestry and GIZ.

The NCPA will hold a Special Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday 25 April 2016 in order to confirm the planned institutional changes.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Windhoek.

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Source:: Upscaling Sustainable Charcoal Production in Namibia

Categories: AFRICA

Africa Development Week Kicks Off in Addis with Calls for Green Industrialization

The inaugural African Development Week opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday March 31, with various speakers urging participants to engage in constructive debates that will promote Africa`s structural transformation through green industrialization.

The week, which will have highlights, including the launch of the Economic Commission for Africa`s flagship Economic Report for Africa 2016 report, began with a meeting of the committee of experts and is running under the theme “Towards and Integrated and Coherent Approach to The Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Agenda 2063, and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Deliberations will over the week evolve around the transition from the millennium development goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s 50-year development plan; Agenda 2063.

“We will debate on how countries can adopt and implement effectively a common framework for meeting the goals of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”, said Ms. Hamisi Mwinyimvua, Chair of the outgoing Bureau of the Committee of Experts and also Tanzania`s Ambassador to Ethiopia.

Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping called on African countries to embrace an “integrated and coherent approach to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 2063 and SDGs”.

“Current economic and financial challenges are spurring member states towards economic transformation,” he said as he urged member states to harmonise Agendas 2063 and 2030 for Africa`s transformation.

Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, called for constructive debate and thought provoking discussions that will lead to the formulation of strategies for the effective implementation for the continent`s collective developmental vision.

He cautioned, however, that such strategies should not only focus on expediting the promotion of strong and sustainable long term growth but also ensuring that the benefits of such growth are widely shared in order to reduce poverty and improve African’s standards of living”.

Mr. Admasu Nebebe of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia said the full implementation of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 will improve the lives of more than one billion people on the African continent.

The expert committee, which will run until April 2nd 2016, marks the start of the African Development Week. It will be followed by the annual meetings of the Conference of the AU Ministers of Economy and Finance and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on 4th – 5th April.

A number of meetings will also take place during the week, including the 17th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa), the annual meeting of the Group of African central Bank Governors as well as more than 20 events and the presentation and launch of a dozen reports and publications, including the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2016), the ECA country profiles, the Africa Governance Report and the evaluation of regional integration in Africa.

More than 1,000 high level delegates are expected during the African Development Week, including current and former heads of State, Central Bank Governors, and representatives of member-states, civil society, private sectors, media as well as international academics and experts and development partners.

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

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Source:: Africa Development Week Kicks Off in Addis with Calls for Green Industrialization

Categories: AFRICA

WHO coordinating vaccination of contacts to contain Ebola flare-up in Guinea

Hundreds of people who may have been in contact with 8 individuals infected with Ebola virus in Guinea’s southern prefectures of Nzérékoré and Macenta have been vaccinated with the experimental Ebola vaccine in a bid to contain the latest flare-up of Ebola.

WHO’s office in Guinea says more than 1,000 contacts have been identified and placed under medical observation. Nearly 800 have been vaccinated over the past week, including 182 who are considered to be high-risk contacts.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine currently being administered was found to be highly effective in preventing Ebola infection in a large trial conducted by Guinea’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partner agencies last year. It has since been used in Sierra Leone to contain a recent flare-up there, and now, once again, in Guinea.

The “ring vaccination” strategy involves vaccinating anyone who has come into contact with a person infected with Ebola, as well as contacts of theirs.

In this latest flare-up, there have been 8 cases of Ebola and 7 deaths since late February. The most recent case, an 11-year old girl, is being treated at an Ebola care facility in Nzérékoré and as of today, is reported to be in a stable condition. Six of the deceased are from three generations of the same extended family in the village of Koropara Centre.

Inter-agency response in full motion

Local health authorities reactivated the emergency coordination mechanism that was in place during the height of the Ebola epidemic in Nzérékoré and a large-scale inter-agency response is in progress.

WHO has a team of 75 staff members working in the affected areas to support the government-led response, including epidemiologists, surveillance experts, contact tracers, vaccinators, social mobilizers and infection prevention and control experts. WHO has also dispatched two top-level Ebola-experienced clinicians to assist at the Ebola treatment centre in Nzérékoré.

Households under medical monitoring are receiving a range of assistance from partner agencies, including food packages, hygiene kits and cash stipends to purchase additional items.

Infection prevention and disease control measures, including a public awareness campaign and other health promotion and community engagement activities, are taking place in the affected areas.

Tests from blood samples of the confirmed cases indicate that this latest cluster of Ebola stems from a known transmission chain and not a new chain introduced by the animal population.

Ongoing flare-ups expected

Both Nzérékoré and Macenta have been hard hit by Ebola in the West Africa outbreak. In the sub-prefecture of Koropara, at the centre of this latest flare-up, there were 24 Ebola cases, 15 deaths and 9 survivors between October and December of 2014.

This re-emergence of Ebola in Guinea is the first since the original outbreak in the country was declared over on 29 December 2015. WHO has continuously stressed that flare-ups like this one should be anticipated, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and that the three Ebola-affected countries must maintain strong capacity to prevent, detect and respond to further outbreaks.

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

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Source:: WHO coordinating vaccination of contacts to contain Ebola flare-up in Guinea

Categories: AFRICA

Central African Republic: Red Cross volunteers “show the power of humanity”

The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has paid tribute to the “extraordinary courage” of the volunteers and staff of the Central African Red Cross Society, who have managed to expand life-saving malaria, HIV and tuberculosis prevention and treatment in the midst of the crisis that has gripped the country over the past two years.

Malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in Central African Republic, accounting for 40 per cent of hospital cases and deaths nationwide. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are also major public health concerns – an estimated 4.9 per cent of the population is living with HIV, and some 520 cases of tuberculosis are reported per 100,000 inhabitants.

In 2013, at the peak of the crisis, the Central African Red Cross, in partnership with the Global Fund to fight Aids Tuberculosis and Malaria and the IFRC, began a project to address these killer diseases and establish nation-wide mobile phone based reporting system which would allow the country to rebuild a health reporting system which had collapsed as a result of years of conflict.

“Our initial forecast of the number of health facilities we could support with malaria prevention programmes was 166,” said Mr Sy. “We reached 745. Over the past two years, Central African Red Cross volunteers have distributed most of the 2.1 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets that are now offering protection to more than 60 per cent of the population of the country (several members of the same family sleeping under one net). Even when fighting was at its worst they were able to ensure uninterrupted distributions,” said Mr Sy.

“They also reached more than 25,000 people living with HIV with antiretroviral treatment – far exceeding the initial target of around 18,000 people.”

As a result of this programme, the Central African Republic has been able to expand its health provision to many of its most vulnerable citizens. This was achieved during a conflict that has displaced more than 1 million people and left 2.1 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and which threatened to bring already weak health systems to a complete standstill.

Mr Sy said: “At a time when the country seemed to be on the brink of catastrophe, Red Cross volunteers were able to reach the most vulnerable and make a tremendous difference to their lives. This is evidence not only of their courage and commitment, but also of the ability of local organizations and volunteers to operate effectively in environments where no one else can.”

The Central African Red Cross has more than 12,000 volunteers providing a range of services across the country, including first aid, ambulance services, distributing relief items, providing water and sanitation services, peace education, managing burials, and giving psychosocial support. Many volunteers report being exposed to significant trauma and personal risk in the line of their humanitarian duties.

IFRC is working to build on the success of its collaboration with the Global Fund and partners to scale-up its life-saving activities across the country.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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Categories: AFRICA

EU-African High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

When: From 4th – 6th April, 2016.

Time: From 9:30 AM

Where: AUC’s New Conference Complex, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Who: Organized by the Department of Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST) of the AUC and the European Union.

Background: Africa and Europe have a rich and long-term evolving relationship in scientific and technological research and innovation. Shared priorities and policy objectives between the two continents affirm the contribution of science, technology and innovation (STI) to addressing common and global challenges, by enhancing social, environmental and economic well-being of the people, hence being the drivers of this cooperation.

Continental frameworks such as the African Union’s STI Strategy for Africa 2024 and the Europe 2020 Strategy spell out the regions’ scientific and technical priorities for driving social and economic growth and development. Both are explicitly cognizant to the importance of partnership to addressing these priorities, an acknowledgement that is regularly endorsed at high-level meetings across the continents.

The recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in New York and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development affirms the global consensus around the centrality of international cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, and of enhanced knowledge sharing for achieving the goals and their associated targets. The second SDG on achieving food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture as well as the first SDG on ending poverty in all its forms everywhere is of direct relevance to the context of the High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) stakeholder forum.

Objectives

The HLPD seeks to centralize around these objectives:

Foster the engagement of actors across the whole FNSSA value chain and essential for innovation: government, industry, and civil society and research organizations.
Present the short-to medium-term investments made towards the implementation of the Africa-EU R&I Partnership on FNSSA.
Explore concrete long-term options for the implementation of the Africa-EU R&I Partnership on FNSSA.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes:

Stimulating engagement of existing and new national, regional, philanthropic and private funders with their programs/schemes for supporting the Africa-EU R&I Partnership on FNSSA.
Developing a concrete approach for a long-term collaboration platform including all relevant actors and existing initiatives along the whole FNSSA value chain from knowledge to innovations.
Gaining further stakeholder recommendations on modalities like organizational structure, funding and communication for the implementation of the R&I Partnership on FNSSA for particular attention of funding institutions and policy makers.
Initiating a discourse on:

Common Research agendas
The monitoring and evaluation of collaborative bi-regional cooperation and draft guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation of the Africa-EU R&I Partnership on FNSSA.

Achieving local impact for end-users and consumers.

Journalists are invited to cover the Conference on EU-Africa High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in ensuring food security, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture, (FNSSA), scheduled for Monday 4th- Wednesday 6th April, 2016.

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

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Source:: EU-African High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation

Categories: AFRICA

Press Conference by H.E. Anthony Mothae Maruping Commissioner for Economic Affairs African Union Commission

H.E Dr Anthony Mothae Maruping Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the AUC at a press conference in the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on the Ninth (9TH) Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development briefed the media under the theme “towards an integrated and Coherent Approach to Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs”. The Commissioner stated that there are sustainable development goals and Agenda 2063, Agenda 2063 is broader and the African blue-print for economic transformation. He added that SDG’s are already embedded in Agenda 2063.

H.E. Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping stated that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are in line with the Agenda 2063 because the parameters both consist of social, economic & political sustainability issues faced in Africa. However Agenda 2063 is broader which makes SDG’s a subset of the Agenda 2063 in terms of meeting the global expectations. He further underscored that in preparations for Agenda 2063 and SDG’s ,Africa has formulated a written, well articulated proposal on how post 2015 Agenda should look like which influenced the formal inter-governmental negotiations.

The Commissioner emphasized that as long as the contents of the SDG’s and Agenda 2063 are assimilated into national and Regional Economic Committees (REC) action plans, then implementation, monitoring and evaluation will run smoothly. He went ahead and called upon African Union member states to formulate a transformative blueprint of the economy to prevent their economies from being subjected to the illicit financial flows like running on a deficit budget. He further stated that the Regional coordination mechanism is a place where all UN Agencies come together to see how they can support the African Union Commission (AUC) in several activities around the continent. It is where all decisions are made and integrated, decisions on implementation and evaluation, so that there is one periodic report. He added that this meeting is the most rational for transformation and development as it simplifies things for Member States. The single joint or combined periodic progress report from monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 2063 and SDG’s is to be produced and this increases the chance of implementation.

Moreover, he spoke about the Domestication process of Agenda 2063 and stated it is ongoing and implanting or infusing into national and regional plans. Agenda 2063 will also guide transformation of African economies by increasing productive capacities. Capacity has been assessed to prove gaps and manage risks, financing has also been given a lot of thought, communication strategy is being considered to give the people an idea of what is being done. The Agenda 2063 is a document of the people which is people’s Centre and takes the bottom-down approach inclusive of social, economic, sustainability and economic development of the continent, the commissioner emphasized.

Furthermore, the commissioner welcomed all Ministers, Press, civil societies, private and public sector to a roundtable discussion scheduled for the 3rd April 2016 at the ECA on the current financial and economic challenges under the theme: Addressing the impact of Drought, Floods and Declining Commodity prices in Africa: what coping strategies and capacities are required?”. .

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

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Source:: Press Conference by H.E. Anthony Mothae Maruping Commissioner for Economic Affairs African Union Commission

Categories: AFRICA

United States Concerned about Prison Conditions in Burundi

Media Note

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

Washington, DC

March 31, 2016

The United States expresses deep concern over the death yesterday of Jacques Bihozagara, a former Rwandan ambassador and government minister, in the Bujumbura, Burundi, prison where he had been detained since 2015. Mr. Bihozagara’s death highlights abiding concerns about inhumane prison conditions in Burundi, as well as persistent credible reports of arbitrary arrests, increased torture, the presence of underground detention facilities, and disappearances of individuals detained by security forces.

While Burundian authorities have allowed independent experts from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) access to some political prisoners, the conditions for thousands of prisoners are unknown. We remain concerned about a lack of due process in many of their cases. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid reported to the Security Council this month that over half the detainees his team met with in Burundi showed signs of having been tortured.

We call on the Government of Burundi to provide unfettered access to monitors and observers from OHCHR, the AU, and other independent organizations to monitor the conditions of prisoners and prison facilities, as well as to investigate broader allegations of human rights abuses.

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

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Source:: United States Concerned about Prison Conditions in Burundi

Categories: AFRICA

Secretary Kerry’s Meeting with Federal Republic of Nigeria President Buhari

Readout

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

March 31, 2016

The following is attributable to Spokesperson John Kirby:

Secretary Kerry met today on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit with Federal Republic of Nigeria President Buhari.

The Secretary expressed a firm commitment to continue working closely with Nigeria, highlighting the country’s importance to the region and to the continent. He offered continued U.S. support for efforts to increase security and stability, and to promote development in the areas of northeast Nigeria that have fallen victim to terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.

Secretary Kerry also offered continued U.S. support to locate and help with tracing and investigating looted funds. He noted Nigeria’s potential to enhance its agricultural production and infrastructure, and the potential of these industries to generate more employment opportunities, especially for Nigerian youth. He encouraged President Buhari to take steps to leverage private sector investment in these areas.

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

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Source:: Secretary Kerry’s Meeting with Federal Republic of Nigeria President Buhari

Categories: AFRICA

Concerns Regarding Sentencing of Angolan Activists

Press Statement

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

Washington, DC

March 31, 2016

The United States believes the harsh sentences levied this week by an Angolan court against the Angola 15+2 activists threaten the exercise of freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. Both freedoms are enshrined in the Angolan Constitution, protected under Angola’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any strong and functioning democracy.

We are also concerned about reports of procedural irregularities and lack of transparency in the trial, which raise questions about whether the rule of law has prevailed in this case.

We are encouraged, however, that the trial of the 15+2 activists has become a matter of national Angolan debate. We call on the Government of Angola to protect Angolans’ constitutional right to engage in peaceful, open, and public discourse.

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

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Source:: Concerns Regarding Sentencing of Angolan Activists

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Concerns Regarding Sentencing of Angolan Activists

Press Statement

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

Washington, DC

March 31, 2016

The United States believes the harsh sentences levied this week by an Angolan court against the Angola 15+2 activists threaten the exercise of freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. Both freedoms are enshrined in the Angolan Constitution, protected under Angola’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any strong and functioning democracy.

We are also concerned about reports of procedural irregularities and lack of transparency in the trial, which raise questions about whether the rule of law has prevailed in this case.

We are encouraged, however, that the trial of the 15+2 activists has become a matter of national Angolan debate. We call on the Government of Angola to protect Angolans’ constitutional right to engage in peaceful, open, and public discourse.

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

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Source:: Concerns Regarding Sentencing of Angolan Activists

Categories: AFRICA