IMF Staff Concludes Mission to The Gambia

BANJUL, Gambia, January 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Bhaswar Mukhopadhyay, visited Banjul from January 8-14, 2015. Though The Gambia remains completely free of Ebola, the crisis has caused a deep decline in tourism related activities, the economy’s principal foreign currency earner. The mission assessed the effects of this shock to the Gambian economy and explored the possibility of agreeing on a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) arrangement with the IMF. 1 The mission also discussed the Gambian authorities’ plans to address policy slippages over the past two years and the possibility of establishing a program monitored by the IMF (SMP). 2 While the discussions have been fruitful, additional time is needed to reach a final agreement.

Suggested Book: The Gambia In Depth: A Peace Corps Publication

At the end of the mission Mr. Mukhopadhyay issued the following statement:

“The Gambia has been spared from the Ebola outbreak, but the crisis has deterred tourists, reducing activity in the sector dramatically. A projected decline of about 60 percent in tourism, The Gambia’s principal export, will strain the country’s balance of payments. Delayed rains in 2014 are also causing distress in the economy, leading to a significant decline in crop production. Combating the effects of these shocks will require concerted policy effort as well as greater support from the international community.

“Even before the crisis, 2014 was a difficult year for the Gambian economy. The consequences of past fiscal slippages put pressure on the government budget, public enterprises, the private sector, and households. Government borrowing lifted interest rates, which increased interest payments considerably. Banks have restricted their lending to the private sector while higher debt burdens and import costs due to currency depreciation have weighed on the public enterprises. Difficulties in public enterprises have put further stress on the public budget. The local currency price of imported goods, especially basic foods, has risen.

“In light of substantially higher borrowing by the government and looming risks, it is imperative to reinforce corrective measures and to make bold choices about spending priorities. The mission welcomes the government’s determination to limit net domestic borrowing to one percent of GDP this year. This plan is being implemented in the budget but will require vigilance to keep spending on path and to respond to any emerging spending pressures by reducing lower-priority expenditures. The mission has engaged in discussion with the authorities about entering into a staff monitored program (SMP) with a view to a future lending arrangement.

“Implementation of reforms is also urgently needed to put the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) and other public enterprises on a sound financial footing and limit their strain on the state budget. The mission welcomes the authorities’ commitment to a comprehensive restructuring of the energy sector. Similar efforts will be required for a number of other public enterprises that have recently experienced financial distress.

“The government has taken bold steps in its budget agreements, its reform agenda for public enterprises, and its rallying of the donor community. These efforts will need to continue to turn interest rates around and reduce pressure on the Dalasi.

“The mission thanks the authorities for the candid and constructive discussions during the mission, and looks forward to an active and continued dialogue with the aim of restoring macroeconomic stability as a foundation for economic development in The Gambia.

“The mission met with Finance Minister Kebba S. Touray, Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley, other senior government officials, public enterprises, the banking sector, and development partners.”

1 The RCF (http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/rcf.htm ) is a lending arrangement that provides rapid financial support in a single, up-front payout for low-income countries facing urgent financing needs.

2 An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff, whereby the latter agree to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board..

Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Mission to The Gambia

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ECONOMY, Gambia | Tags: ,

Resilient supply chains in Africa – the key to success in 2015

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, January 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Successful companies in 2015 will be those that can adapt to the fast changing global environment, such as unstable currency markets, the fast growing global population and rising number of internet users, and make them work in their favour. This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (http://www.dpdhl.com), who says that as the global economy continues to change, retailers, manufactures and other sectors are increasingly facing difficult, and sometimes unique, challenges that impact their supply chains.

 

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/dhl_logo2.jpg

 

Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa

Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa

Photo Sumesh Rahavendra: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/sumesh_rahavendra.jpg (Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa)

 

Business decision-makers should be asking themselves how they can respond quickly to fast-changing customer demand, how they can contain or reduce escalating costs and how they can enter emerging markets without substantially increasing their risk.

 

Rahavendra elaborates on a few areas which are key to building a well-designed supply chain:

 

 Annual planning and reviewing: This lays the foundation for an efficient supply chain as it assists business owners to see the bigger picture and enables them to be flexible in the face of changing business needs. All potential risks must be identified and assessed, no matter how improbable.

 

It is equally important to review the past year to ascertain what impacted their supply chain, and what can be improved upon to avoid unnecessary interruptions in the future. For example, the fluctuating fuel price directly impacts delivery costs. It is therefore important to streamline delivery processes in order to stabilise costs and in turn, keep client tariffs stable.

 

Another area to look at is seasonal spikes in business which may require additional resources. For example, retailers often experience a surge in sales over the festive season – effective solutions need to be put in place to avoid customer delay, and ultimately complaints.

 

 Reverse logistics: This is often overlooked, however, effectively managing the flow of returned goods and packaging is key to reduce unexpected costs.

 

 International supply chain management: Trading across borders can present a number of challenges, unique to each country. In Africa, these include congestion in major cities, such as Lagos and Nairobi, customs inconsistencies with regards to product classifications and duty and tax exemptions, which can lead to complex customs clearance processes, and a lack of air connectivity with just over 12% of cities served by just one flight a week. It is important to understand these challenges and make the necessary plans to circumvent potential delays.

 

Rahavendra advises that in order to maximise a business’s bottom line, decision-makers should aim to take a more holistic approach to managing supply chain risk and achieve greater visibility, flexibility, and control. “Businesses in Africa are under increasing pressure in the current economic climate to remain competitive, both locally and globally, and sometimes lack the ability to build resilient supply chains. Outsourcing logistics strategically can make a significant contribution to a business’s profitability so make sure that you have the right partners who understand the global economy and more importantly, the intricacies of doing business with each individual African county – it’s not a one size fits all approach,” concludes Rahavendra.

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

 

 

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

 

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their shipping and supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

 

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

Stock images available: http://www.dpdhl.com/en/media_relations/media_library.html

Source:: Resilient supply chains in Africa – the key to success in 2015

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ECONOMY

Canada Supporting Stability and Prosperity in Egypt

OTTAWA, Canada, January 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, on behalf of Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced additional support to encourage economic growth and empower women and young people in Egypt.

“Canada is committed to supporting long-term stability in Egypt by funding initiatives that offer meaningful employment and a secure, self-sufficient future for those who need it most,” said Minister Baird. “Our support will help stimulate economic growth, provide jobs for young people and encourage women’s entrepreneurship and employability.”

Canada is providing an additional $5 million for the Decent Employment for Youth Project. In addition, Canada will be launching a $15-million call for proposals to support projects that increase access to financial and non-financial services, resources and markets to increase the employability, productivity and income of women in Egypt.

“Empowering women to be active economic actors has significant potential to increase sustainable economic growth, bring more benefits to women and their families and accelerate poverty reduction,” said Minister Paradis. “The ensuing projects will help to provide the information, skills and tools that Egyptian women need to become active agents of their own future through productive employment and the development of entrepreneurial activities.”

From 2009 to 2014, Canada provided $50 million to Egypt in long-term development assistance. Minister Baird will next travel to Cairo for meetings with senior political and religious figures.

Source:: Canada Supporting Stability and Prosperity in Egypt

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ECONOMY, Egypt | Tags:

UN expert on the right to adequate housing launches first official visit to Cabo Verde

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha will visit Cabo Verde from 19 to 26 January 2015 to assess the country’s achievements and challenges in realizing the right to adequate housing and non-discrimination in this context. This is the first time a human rights independent expert from the UN Human Rights Council will visit the country.

 

“I will pay especial attention to the situation of the most vulnerable and marginalized, including those who are homeless, women, and people living in informal settlements or without adequate access to services,” said the independent expert charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the realization of the right to adequate housing worldwide.

 

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the authorities and civil society of Cabo Verde, to discuss disparities in access and affordability of housing in urban and rural areas, and how the right to housing is implemented,” she noted.

 

The human rights expert, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Cabo Verdean authorities, will meet with representatives from the national Government, as well as with local government officials, civil society and community organizations and residents, on the Islands of Santiago, Sal and São Vicente. She will also meet with representatives of the international community and UN officials.

 

At the end of her eight-day mission, Ms. Farha will share with the media her preliminary findings at a press conference on 26 January at 15:00 at the United Nations Building in Praia.

 

The Special Rapporteur will submit a report to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will include her findings and recommendations to the Government of Cabo Verde.

Source:: UN expert on the right to adequate housing launches first official visit to Cabo Verde

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Cap Verde

Launch of new ethanol stoves project could change cooking in Kenya for Good

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Launch of new ethanol stoves project could change cooking in Kenya for Good

 

What: Launch of new ethanol stoves project could change cooking in Kenya for Good

Date: 15 January 2015

Time: 10am

Venue: Safi Offices, Kibera

 

ClimateCare Directors Tom Morton and Edward Hanrahan will be joined by Lisa Phillips, Head of DFID, Kenya in Kibera tomorrow,15 January, to launch a revolving fund that will allow residents to purchase clean burning ethanol stoves at an affordable price. The stoves, designed and distributed by Safi International, will change the way people in Nairobi cook, for good.

 

Every year in Kenya, 14,300 people die from exposure to toxic fumes from cooking and heating their homes on open fires and rudimentary stoves. Thanks to this innovative project, ethanol, a bi-product of Kenya’s successful sugar industry, is set to change this. Ethanol is a clean burning, renewable fuel. Replacing charcoal with ethanol fuel cuts out indoor air pollution, saving lives and lowers greenhouse gas emissions helping to tackle climate change.

 

The media will have an opportunity to :

 

• Hear about the background to the project and the innovative financial models that make it possible.

• See the ethanol stoves demonstrated and visit households using the stoves.

• Interview representatives from ClimateCare to understand how this innovative project will help create a new market for ethanol stoves and benefit communities across Kenya and beyond.

Source:: Launch of new ethanol stoves project could change cooking in Kenya for Good

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ENVIRONMENT, Kenya | Tags: , , ,

Gemalto expands its presence in Africa with the opening of a regional office in Côte d’Ivoire

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, January 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653) (http://www.gemalto.com), the world leader in digital security, announces the opening of an office in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to better meet the needs of its customers on the ground throughout West Africa.

 

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/gemalto.jpg

Eric Claudel, President of Africa & Middle East for Gemalto

Eric Claudel, President of Africa & Middle East for Gemalto

 

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1661 (Eric Claudel, President of Africa & Middle East for Gemalto)

 

This move is part of the Group’s strategy of being a global player with a local presence, as demonstrated by its 85 offices in 44 countries worldwide. It also adds to Gemalto’s presence in Africa through its offices and partnerships, in particular in South Africa, Gabon, Ghana, Morocco, Burkina, Kenya and Nigeria.

 

The new information and communication technologies market in Côte d’Ivoire accounts for nearly 10% of the GDP of the country, which has a cell phone penetration rate of more than 90%. This new location will therefore aim to further foster the digital development of the local economic fabric. This genuine technology hub will leverage skill transfer and the pool of engineering excellence available in the country.

 

“Gemalto is playing a key role in the digital revolution taking place in Africa, and has already demonstrated its position as a major player in the field of telecommunications, banking services and governmental programs,” noted Eric Claudel, President of Africa & Middle East for Gemalto. “This new expertise and engineering hub will allow the implementation of an inverted innovation process, repurposing existing solutions to meet the needs and specificities of the local market. It also aims at designing Côte d’Ivoire’s products of tomorrow, in line with its president’s priority to turn it into an emerging country by 2020.”

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Gemalto.

 

 

Gemalto Media Contacts:

Kristel Teyras

Middle East & Africa

+33 6 43 81 93 61

kristel.teyras@gemalto.com

 

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security (http://www.gemalto.com/companyinfo/digital_security.html) with 2013 annual revenues of €2.4 billion and more than 12,000 employees operating out of 85 offices and 25 research and software development centers, located in 44 countries.

 

We are at the heart of the rapidly evolving digital society. Billions of people worldwide increasingly want the freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain and work – anytime, everywhere – in ways that are enjoyable and safe. Gemalto delivers on their expanding needs for personal mobile services, payment security, authenticated cloud access, identity and privacy protection, eHealthcare and eGovernment efficiency, convenient ticketing and dependable machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. We develop secure embedded software and secure products which we design and personalize. Our platforms and services manage these products, the confidential data they contain and the trusted end-user services made possible.

 

Our innovations enable our clients to offer trusted and convenient digital services to billions of individuals. Gemalto thrives with the growing number of people using its solutions to interact with the digital and wireless world.

 

For more information visit www.gemalto.com, www.justaskgemalto.com, blog.gemalto.com, or follow @gemalto (http://twitter.com/gemalto) on Twitter.

Source:: Gemalto expands its presence in Africa with the opening of a regional office in Côte d’Ivoire

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Côte d'Ivoire | Tags: