Smile, Leading 4G LTE Innovation in Africa

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd (“Smile”) (, which owns and operates 4G LTE mobile broadband networks in the 800MHz band in Nigeria, and in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands in Tanzania and Uganda, announced today that in all its operating markets customers would enjoy the benefits of two first-to-market services, namely SmileVoice and SmileUnlimited.

This follows Smile’s announcement in September 2015 of the raising of USD365 million of debt and equity funding, the first tranche of which has been applied to significantly expand Smile’s existing 4G LTE mobile broadband networks. Smile’s coverage is now comparable to the largest 3G network in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, with coverage in the DRC to be announced soon.

Irene Charnley, Smile Group’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: “With the introduction of SmileVoice and SmileUnlimited, we are once again demonstrating our commitment to the advancement of the people of Africa. As the pioneers of SuperFast mobile broadband on the continent, we understand the direct correlation of broadband penetration to the creation of wealth and the acceleration of development, and we are expending huge resources to make SuperFast internet access and SuperClear voice available across all our markets.”

SmileVoice is a world-first free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple iPhone device to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE networks. Having the SmileVoice app on your mobile is like having a second SIM card in your phone. SmileUnlimited provides customers with unlimited access for 30 days over Smile’s SuperFast 4G LTE broadband network.

As an additional innovation and convenience to its customers Smile is the first mobile provider in Africa to offer Voice over 4G LTE to customers with VoLTE-capable handsets and the first mobile operator to launch a free SmileVoice App to enable customers who do not have access to VoLTE-capable handsets to access its SuperClear voice services.

“We made our first Voice over LTE calls in Nigeria during beta-testing in October 2015 and the feedback from our existing customers since our soft-launch early February has been extremely positive. Thousands of our customers now make national and international voice calls using their data bundles,” says Charnley about the Nigerian market.

SmileVoice will provide customers with the ability to use their data bundles to make SuperClear voice, video calls and send SMSs to any number locally and internationally.

Using SmileVoice, Smile-registered customers can make high quality voice calls to anywhere in the world with their data bundles, at the lowest local call rate per second in Nigeria. All SmileVoice calls are charged in MBs to an active data bundle and equated to a local per second call rate.

Elaborating on the SmileUnlimited offering, Ms Charnley explained that any unlimited offering is subject to a fair usage policy (FUP) which ensures that connectivity will be maintained throughout the 30-day period, albeit at declining speeds once the generous FUP is reached. It also provides for the speed to be increased again by the simple purchase of another data bundle.

Not only is Smile’s pricing more affordable than that of competitor narrowband offerings, but the superior experience of true broadband also makes SmileUnlimited a fitting application of Smile’s value proposition of speed, quality, reliability and simplicity.

The roll-out of SmileVoice and SmileUnlimited in Nigeria will be followed by similar offerings in Tanzania and Uganda. In addition, Smile is set to launch its services in the DRC in 2016.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd.

Issued by:
Nicolene van Zyl
Smile Group
Mobile: +27 82 9944 282

On behalf of:
Smile Telecoms Holdings Limited

About Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd
Founded in 2007 and incorporated in Mauritius, Smile ( is a pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria (Smile Communications Nigeria), Tanzania (Smile Communications Tanzania), Uganda (Smile Communications Uganda) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Smile Communications DRC). Smile has a single transformative objective of using the best and most innovative technologies to provide its customers with fast, reliable, high-quality, easy-to-use and affordable communication services.
In 2012, the company launched Africa’s first 4G LTE commercial network in the 800MHz band (ITU “band 20”) in the East African market, starting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and then Kampala, Uganda. This was followed by the launch of West Africa’s first 4G LTE commercial network, also in band 20, starting in Ibadan and then Lagos, Nigeria.
Smile’s vision and mission is to be the broadband provider of choice in all its markets and to enable its customers to benefit fully from the Internet world with data and voice services.

Source:: Smile, Leading 4G LTE Innovation in Africa

Categories: AFRICA

Mohamed Ibn Chambas encourages a serene debate on the constitutional reforms Process in Senegal

The Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) , Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, is following with keen interest the ongoing process of the constitutional reforms in Senegal.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas encourages all actors to conduct a serene debate on the constitutional reforms, and has no doubt that the process will be carried out in an inclusive and participative manner. Senegal enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a solid democracy in Africa, and any efforts aimed at consolidating the democratic institutions are welcomed.

The United Nations will remain ready to support the Senegalese authorities in this process.

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

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Source:: Mohamed Ibn Chambas encourages a serene debate on the constitutional reforms Process in Senegal

Categories: AFRICA

European Union participates in dedication of the Gbarnga-Ganta-Guinea Border Road

European Union Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Emma Sundblad, participated in the Dedication of the Gbarnga-Ganta-Guinea Border road on Monday 7 March.

Speaking at the Dedication, Mrs Sundblad said ” The European Union and other European donors are extremely proud to be part of this highly successful project managed by the Government of Liberia with the support of the World Bank: good roads are a key factor for economic and social development and also of security.”

Mrs Sundblad participated in the event and spoke as a representative of the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) donors, who include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Sweden and Norway as well as the European Union. She underlined the EU’s continued strong commitment to the Government’s road building and maintenance programme, including through establishment of the road fund and helping the Ministry of Public Works to set in place a system for regular road maintenance practice. She explained that in addition to contributing over USD 75 million towards the construction of the road between Monrovia and the Guinea border, the EU is presently funding the maintenance of the Monrovia/Buchanan and Monrovia/Sierra Leone Border roads, as well as designing the missing links on the coastal road and testing innovative sealing techniques for dust roads.

The European Union has also included Liberia in the wider plan for completing the West African Coastal Corridor by making available funds for the Sanniquelli – Danane stretch connecting Liberia to Ivory Coast. This is a key piece in the Government’s plan to transform Ganta into a dry port serving three countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia.

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Source:: European Union participates in dedication of the Gbarnga-Ganta-Guinea Border Road

Categories: AFRICA

European and Liberian experts assess the country’s needs to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear related threats (CBRN)

From March 7 to 9, Liberian and European Union specialists are gathering to proceed to the identification of needs in order to strengthen the country’s system to deal with threats emanating from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear agents and materials.

Two experts of the Joint Research Centre, one of the scientific bodies of the European Union, participates in this workshop gathering all the Liberian stakeholders playing a role in the prevention, preparedness and crisis response of CBRN-related whether of a criminal, accidental or natural origin.

This activity takes place within the framework of a global EU action referred to as the “EU initiative of the Centre of Excellence for the CBRN-related risk mitigation”. This cooperation programme brings together 54 countries worldwide clustered around 8 centres of excellence. The objective is to support participating countries to develop national capacities and internal coordination as well as to strengthen regional and international cooperation which is crucially needed to tackle this transversal issue that does not stop at national borders.

After or in parallel to the designation of a national focal point and the establishment of national CBRN team, this needs assessment workshop is the first step towards the development of a national action plan that should notably help better target national priorities through the capacity-building projects that the initiative funds in each region covered.

The exercise is based on a methodology specifically developed by the EU covering legislative, regulatory, strategic, institutional and operational aspects. This process enables to determine the measures to take to reduce CBRN-related risks in conformity with norms and best practices internationally recognised.

Liberia is part of the Centre of Excellence of the African Atlantic Façade since August 2013 together with Morocco (where the regional secretariat is based), Mauritania, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Cameroon and Gabon. The country participates in four projects respectively on the detection of infectious viruses, the management of epidemics, the mitigation of chemical industrial risk, and the management of biological and chemical waste. It also participated in the two closed projects on the management of sensitive CBRN-related information and the development of e-learning courses on CBRN risk mitigation.

At the occasion of this workshop, Mr Alberto Menghini, Development Counsellor at the European Union Delegation, underlined that “this initiative, through its needs-assessment exercise, intends to address specific priorities of Liberia that it can better tackle through regional cooperation; the new regional project to develop a regional mechanism for outbreak management is a case in point”.


Incidents related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear materials and agents have dramatic human, social and economic consequences. In some cases, their consequences may reach a point where they actually threaten to jeopardise development achievements. To a certain extent, these incidents can however be prevented and their consequences mitigated through preparedness and coordination.

It is with this objective to strengthen CBRN governance worldwide that the EU set up the CoE Initiative. Launched in 2010, it pursues the objective to prevent, prepare and help respond to CBRN-related incidents which can be of a criminal, accidental or natural origin. It does so by promoting and supporting political and operational cooperation at internal, regional and international levels. Since these threats often have a transnational nature and require a high-level of expertise requiring the sharing of best practices and the pooling of resources, the action has indeed a regional approach.

There are three levels of actions that it works on. At the institutional level, each participating state is asked and supported to nominate a national focal point and to establish a national team comprised of all relevant stakeholders. At the political level, they commit to proceed to the identification of their needs through a specifically developed methodology (Needs Assessment Questionnaire – NAQ) and, on this basis, to develop and adopt a national action plan (NAP). At the operational level, participating countries benefit from several regional capacity-building projects that they develop together. These projects cover a wide variety of fields including for instance safety and security, emergency planning, crisis response, export control, illicit trafficking, storage and disposal, and redeployment of scientists.

To date, there are 54 countries belonging to 8 centres of excellences for South East and Eastern Europe; African Atlantic Façade; North Africa and Sahel; Eastern and Central Africa; Middle East; Gulf Cooperation Council Countries; Central Asia; and South-East Asia. These centres are administered by a regional secretariat located in one of the concerned participating country. These secretariats benefit from administrative, logistical as well as technical assistance.

Financed by the EU with a budget of EUR 185 M for the period 2007-2017, this endeavour is implemented through its Joint Research Centre and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia.

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Source:: European and Liberian experts assess the country’s needs to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear related threats (CBRN)

Categories: AFRICA

AUC Chairperson welcomes Ghana’s decision to introduce visa-on-arrival for citizens of AU Member States

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has welcomed Ghana’s decision to introduce a visa-on-arrival policy for citizens of African Union Member States. The President of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, announced the decision in his State of the Nations address to the Ghanaian Parliament on 25 February 2016.

“With effect from July this year, we will be allowing citizens of AU Member States to enter – our country and obtain visas on arrival with the option to stay for up to thirty days and experience what our country has to offer. This measure, with time, should stimulate air travel, trade, investment and tourism”, President Mahama said in his address, highlighting the importance of facilitating the mobility of people to unlock Africa’s economic potential.

The decision is a result of a resolution adopted at the African Union Executive Council meeting held earlier this year in Addis Ababa, which stipulated that AU Member States review their internal and external security realities in an attempt to implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay.

The AU Commission Chairperson expressed her great pleasure in Ghana taking immediate concrete steps to implement this decision of the Executive Council. She also noted that Ghana is reaffirming its Pan-Africanism and upholding its place in the area of the African continental integration, which is a key tenet towards the realisation of Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want.

“After Ghana, I am convinced that many other African countries will follow suit, in the interest of achieving an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said.

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

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Source:: AUC Chairperson welcomes Ghana’s decision to introduce visa-on-arrival for citizens of AU Member States

Categories: AFRICA

The United Nations support the Democratic Republic of Congo in its efforts to achieve equality between women and men

On the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrated on 08 March 2016 under the theme : ” Planet 50-50 by 2030 : Step It Up for Gender Equality », Maman Sambo Sidikou, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the DRC, reaffirms MONUSCO’s commitment to work alongside the Congolese government and population to achieve the gender equality goal.

“I commend the efforts being made by the Congolese authorities to promote women’s empowerment, and I encourage all national and provincial stakeholders to take more effective action in order for the principle of gender equality enshrined in the DRC’s Constitution to materialize in everyday life, » stated the Head of MONUSCO.

For Françoise Ngendahayo, UN Women Representative in the DRC, “The date of 8 March is a constant questioning on the implementation of national and international agreements that countries have signed up for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women should not be discouraged by the slow pace at which the reforms are applied. It is a long-standing fight where progress is impeded by socio-cultural factors, hence the need for renewed efforts to encourage States to honor their commitments. “

The UN and its technical agencies promote the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.

Notes to the Editors:

· International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an opportunity to look back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, to look ahead at the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.

· The United Nations Charter, adopted in 1945, was the first international instrument to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Mission de l’Organisation des Nations unies en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO).

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Source:: The United Nations support the Democratic Republic of Congo in its efforts to achieve equality between women and men

Categories: AFRICA

AUC Chairperson congratulates Ethiopia and Rwanda on newly signed open skies agreement

The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has congratulated Ethiopia and Rwanda on the recently reached open skies agreement. The open-skies agreement would allow the national airlines of both countries to operate freely, with no limitations in the airspace of the other.

The airspace agreement, reached last week under the Fifth Freedom Rights Act and signed between the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, allows aircrafts from either country to carry passengers to the other, and to a third country with no limits or tariffs.

The initiative is likely to boost operations for both countries and thus yielding major gains on revenue. “This a critical step towards the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration, geared toward improved regional and economic integration. I congratulate Ethiopia and Rwanda for taking the leadership”, Dr. Dlamini Zuma opined, hoping many other champions will follow.

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

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Source:: AUC Chairperson congratulates Ethiopia and Rwanda on newly signed open skies agreement

Categories: AFRICA

UN women’s rights experts issue findings on Japan, Iceland, Sweden, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Vanuatu and Tanzania

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has published its findings on the following countries which it examined during its 15 February – 4 March session in Geneva: Japan, Iceland, Sweden, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Vanuatu and Tanzania*.

The findings cover how the respective State is doing with regard to women’s rights, detailing positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action. The findings, officially known as concluding observations, can be found here:

CEDAW is composed of 23 international independent experts, who monitor implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, ratified to date by 189 States.

The Committee will next meet from 4 to 22 July in Geneva to review Albania, France, Mali, Myanmar, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and Uruguay:

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Source:: UN women’s rights experts issue findings on Japan, Iceland, Sweden, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Vanuatu and Tanzania

Categories: AFRICA

Invitation to the celebrations of International Women’s Day at the AUC Headquarters, 8 March 2016

The Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the African Union Commission (AUC) would like to invite all the AUC staff to the Celebrations of the International Women’s Day tomorrow, 8th March 2016 from 10:00 – 13:00 at the Mandela Hall, AUC. The event at the AU Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is organised by the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development of the AU Commission.

Top on the agenda of the International Women’s Day celebration at the African Union will be an African Debate on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment scheduled to take place in the Mandela Hall from 10h20 – 11h20. There will be two groups arguing For and Against the following Motion: “ Electoral Laws should facilitate gender parity”

The public will also be expected to interact and participate in this debate. The debate will be live streamed and questions will be received from the outside public via the social media addressed to the panellists.

Also attached is the draft program of the International Women’s Day.

On this occasion, some AUC Women staff will be hosting a small-scale exhibition where they will display and sale African arts, crafts, clothes as well as food.

AU Staff Association invite all the Staff Members, more especially the women to participate in the exhibition.


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

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Source:: Invitation to the celebrations of International Women’s Day at the AUC Headquarters, 8 March 2016

Categories: AFRICA

FDFA – Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter pays his respects to the victims of the attacks in Ouagadougou

On the first day of his journey to Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Malta and Slovakia, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter visited on Monday the scene of the attacks in Ouagadougou. “It is with much sadness that we are gathered in Ouagadougou this morning, where the attacks of January 15 cost many lives – including two of our compatriots, Jean-Noël Rey and Georgie Lamon” said. Mr Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who went on to state that this sorrow is coupled with “a firm commitment to not forget the people that we have lost, to remember in particular that they had come to this country to help its people, and to continue to work to help young people and prevent violence.”

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

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Source:: FDFA – Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter pays his respects to the victims of the attacks in Ouagadougou

Categories: AFRICA

Japan funds UNIDO Soybean value chain project in Sudan

The Government of Japan has approved the amount of US$ 630,000 to fund the project titled “Supporting food and nutrition security in Sudan through soybean processing”. The project addresses the local production and processing of soybean in Sudan, and comes in line with the national priorities reflected in the ongoing Country Programe implemented by UNIDO. The launching is scheduled in April 2016, and constitutes the second phase of the UNIDO–Sudan soybean value chain development programme implemented in 2014 where Japan contribution amounted US$ 500,000.

The new funding is expected to further promote the utilisation of locally produced soybean in agro-industries and among Sudanese households, through soybean productions and processing; thereby creating jobs and contributing to poverty reduction. It aims at building capacities in the production premium quality soybean beans for local industries, processing of value added soy products including soy milk and soy cake, and as an important component of poultry feed. The project will also address linking soybean producers to the local market end-users.

Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Hideki Ito expressed his pleasure to make another contribution to develop a viable Sudanese business on this strategic crop of soy bean. He said “I hope this second project will further enable the Sudanese farmers, researchers, business people, and consumers to get more familiar with this precious crop. It is an invaluable crop to the lives of the Japanese people. I wish to see a possibility of soy bean playing a role in adding a new dimension to the bilateral relationship between the two countries”.

UNIDO Representative, Mr. Khaled El Mekwad commended the valuable cooperation between UNIDO and Japan for the benefit of Sudan. “The dissemination of soy bean processing and consumption culture in Sudan will allow a larger population to consume food with a higher nutritive value at a more affordable cost. The Sudanese pilot experience may be shared at a later stage with other countries in the region” he added.

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

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Source:: Japan funds UNIDO Soybean value chain project in Sudan

Categories: AFRICA

Ethiopian farmers need urgent assistance to feed country caught in major drought

Timely agricultural assistance for the upcoming rainy season is essential to help the drought-affected people of Ethiopia, as one of the strongest El Niño events on record continues to have devastating effects on the lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders.

Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have tripled since the beginning of 2015 as the drought has led to successive crop failures and widespread livestock deaths.

As a result, food insecurity and malnutrition rates are alarming in the Horn of Africa country, with some 10.2 million people now food insecure. One-quarter of all districts in Ethiopia are officially classified as facing a food security and nutrition crisis.

With planting for the country’s first rainy season, the belg, already delayed and the meher season – Ethiopia’s main agricultural campaign – fast approaching, farmers need immediate support to help them produce food between now and September for millions facing hunger.

“FAO urgently needs $13 million by the end of March to support more than 600,000 of the worst affected people,” said FAO country representative Amadou Allahoury Diallo.

“We’re expecting that needs will be particularly high during the next few weeks,” he added, “so it’s critical that we’re able to respond quickly and robustly to reboot agriculture now before the drought further decimates the food security and livelihoods of millions.”

The meher produces up to 85 percent of the nation’s food supplies.

Recent estimates by Ethiopia’s Bureau of Agriculture indicate that some 7.5 million farmers and herders need immediate agricultural support to produce staple crops like maize, sorghum, teff, wheat, and root crops, and livestock feed to keep their animals healthy and resume production.

Farming families have either exhausted seed reserves through successive failed plantings, or have consumed them as food.

Animal feed stocks are also depleted, and support is needed to enable families to produce fodder. Hundreds of thousands of livestock have already died and the animals that remain are becoming weaker and thinner due to poor grazing resources, feed shortages and limited water availability, leading to sharp declines in milk and meat production.

“It’s important to understand the current drought is not just a food crisis – it is above all a livelihood crisis,” said Allahoury Diallo, who highlighted that last year’s losses have severely diminished households’ food security and purchasing power and forced many to sell their last remaining agricultural assets.

Meeting immediate needs of farmers now is essential to longer-term recovery, as it helps farmers feed their country and keep their productive assets intact.

FAO’s call for $13 million by the end of March is part of the agency’s larger $50million appeal for its Ethiopia El Niño Response Plan. But currently less than 10 percent of the plan is funded.

FAO’s response to El Niño

As part of the emergency response, FAO is already providing planting materials to help seed- and food-insecure households in the worst-affected regions plant in the belg and meher seasons. But this support urgently needs to be scaled up.

In an effort to preserve livestock, FAO has been distributing nutrient blocks in pastoral and agropastoral areas meant to strengthen livestock and bolster the resilience of the cooperatives that produce them. FAO is also providing survival animal feed and support to help farmers produce fodder and improve access to water for livestock. Herds across the country have also benefited from vaccination and treatment campaigns to address their increasing vulnerability as a result of drought.

In Ethiopia’s Somali Region, FAO is enhancing the financial stability of drought-affected households through the purchase of weak sheep and goats for immediate, local slaughter – and providing the meat – rich in protein – to nutritionally vulnerable drought-affected families. The intervention will help reduce stress on available feed, enable households to focus their resources on their remaining productive animals, and invest in productive assets.

In addition, FAO is closely working with the government to conduct seasonal assessments and develop preparedness and response plans, along with guidelines for emergency agriculture support.

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

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Source:: Ethiopian farmers need urgent assistance to feed country caught in major drought

Categories: AFRICA