Libya Humanitarian Situation and its Human Cost can no Longer be Ignored

Today (January 25, 2018), the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Ms. Maria Ribeiro launched the Humanitarian Response Plan 2018 for Libya, to support the humanitarian needs of 940,000 people living in the country. The event was co-chaired by H.E. Fayez al-Sarraj, President of the Presidency Council, and Dr. Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

“The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Libya is being launched at a time when efforts are needed more than ever to address the challenges of restoring stability in Libya,” said H.E. al-Sarraj. “In this context, we reaffirm the government’s determination to effectively address these challenges in the next phase, and we value the international community’s support for us in this process. We hope that the life of ordinary Libyan citizens will improve this year and our next meeting will focus on discussions of reconstruction and development.”

“As we start the year, we look forward to a more stable Libya where all of us can prevent a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation,” said Dr. Salame. “We are investing all UN competencies – humanitarian, development, human rights and political – to improve the living conditions of Libyans. We are here to serve Libyans and the Libyan state but not to replace them. The chief responsibility and potentials fall upon the Libyan state and we are here to assist this state.”

The 2018 HRP is the third coordinated appeal in Libya. It aims to extend protection to civilians in Libya, in accordance with international law, to ensure access to basic services for internally displaced, returnees, the most vulnerable non-displaced Libyans, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers and to strengthen the capacity of families to cope with the continued pressures of life of instability, fragmentation and economic crisis.

The Plan seeks US$313 million in donor funding to implement 71 projects by 21 organizations, including national and international NGOs, and UN agencies.

“The difficulties people in Libya face in providing for their basic needs are real and we all need to be aware of the human cost of inaction,” said Ms. Ribeiro. “In my interactions with Libyan men, women and children I see people who want to feel safe, have their rights respected and know that they do not have to live from day to day.”

In the past year, and through the Humanitarian Response Plan 2017, humanitarian partners provided assistance with a wide variety of services for at least 540,000 people across Libya.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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Food and Agriculture Organization at the 30th African Union Summit

The Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is an important event that brings leaders together to discuss issues vital to the continent’s progress and prosperity. In that framework, several events related to ending hunger and boosting nutrition will be held on the margins of the Summit, and at which the United Nations will be represented.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva is travelling to Addis Ababa from 26-28 January. The highlight of the Director-General’s mission will be the high-level meeting Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa by 2025, on Saturday 27 January. The meeting is co-organized by the AU Commission and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture with support from FAO and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The ambitious target of ending hunger in Africa by 2025 is currently not on track. FAO’s 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report found that despite a prolonged decline, world hunger is on the rise again. The increase is linked to conflicts and drought that affected many countries and hit rural areas particularly hard.

Ending hunger in Africa by 2025
The high-level meeting is the follow-up to a conference held in July 2013 in Addis Ababa during which the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute launched an initiative aimed at eradicating hunger in Africa by 2025. A year later, the results of that meeting were consolidated through the Malabo Declaration, backed by African leaders. Five years on, Saturday’s meeting brings together the original attendees and other stakeholders to assess efforts so far, renew commitments and accelerate progress.

Participants at the high-level event will include the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailermariam Desalegn, and leaders from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), UNECA, and others. Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and former President of Brazil and World Food Prize winner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will also attend. Former President Obasanjo is a champion of empowering rural women in agriculture, which is a vital step towards eradicating hunger. Brazil sets an inspiring example after more than 30 million Brazilians were lifted out of extreme poverty in a 10-year period under their “Zero Hunger” programme, and is active in sharing its successes through south-south cooperation.

FAO in West Africa
Also on the sidelines of the AU Summit, the Director-General will sign an agreement with the Government of Senegal for the opening of a new FAO Sub-regional Office for West Africa in Dakar. The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, as well as other West African Heads of State will attend the signing ceremony on Sunday 28 January. The office will foster FAO’s presence at the sub-regional level, and aims to further strengthen the long-standing collaboration between FAO and West African countries on food security, nutrition, agriculture and rural development.

Empowering women and boosting nutrition
On Saturday 27 January, the Director-General will also attend an event on the Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) initiative, led by the former President Obasanjo.

On Monday, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo will attend a meeting that is expected to endorse the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative by the African Heads of State. The Initiative is intended to catalyze and sustain high-level political advocacy and build on the growing international commitments to tackle malnutrition on the African continent.

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

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Volkswagen Group South Africa completes major investment programme and launches new Polo

  • Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) invests R6.1 billion since 2015 in new products, plant and suppliers, to develop local content
  • New Polo launched for both the domestic and international markets
  • Both new models manufactured on one production line
  • A third shift to be introduced from April to meet expected demand

Volkswagen launched its new Polo and showcased the R6.1 billion investment in its plant and new products, in the presence of Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle, the honourable Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe of the DTI, media representatives and key stakeholders.

In August 2015, VWSA Chairman and Managing Director, Thomas Schaefer announced an investment of around R4.5 billion rand in new product and facilities. The total investment exceeded R6.1 billion rand, which is partially due to exchange rate fluctuations and the approval of additional plant investments.

The majority of the investment spend was on Capital Expenditure for production facilities, local content tooling, quality assurance and manufacturing equipment as well as Information Technology upgrades.

Localisation remains a key priority for VWSA, with the new models at a 60% local content level, with on-going plans to achieve higher levels.

Volkswagen introduces the innovative One-line Concept for the first time as part of the investment; traditionally vehicles are assembled on unique production lines. It has always been possible to build derivatives of the same platform on one line, but to build two completely different platforms on one line is a technical challenge, highly complex and requires new thinking and training for the employees. The introduction of the one line concept also includes a new integrated logistics concept. Whilst there are no short term financial benefits there are synergies and efficiencies as well as people benefits that come about as the result of the one line concept.

Volkswagen is the only vehicle manufacturer which has the words “car” and “people” in its name. This remains relevant and true today. In line with being a socially responsible employer VWSA did not release any employees as the production volumes decreased during the ramp up, but rather retained them in training pools until the third shift commences in April, this year.

VWSA produced 110 000 cars last year, this will increase to 133 000 for 2018 of which 83 000 will be exported to markets around the world. This will include not only right hand drive markets but also to some left hand drive markets, especially for the Polo GTI. Maximum annual plant capacity is expected to be reached with a 3 shift operation of some 160 000 vehicles, in 2019.

Basic economic fundamentals and an investor friendly legislative framework within a reasonably stable economic environment are essential when making major investment decisions for Volkswagen, as is a stable and attractive automotive policy. “The South African Government must be complimented, firstly for the introduction of the MIDP, which gave confidence to the industry and provided a stable base for the successor programme; the APDP which has also been successful in ensuring a future for the automotive sector in South Africa. The Automotive Sector of the South African economy accounts for approximately 7.4% of the GDP and accounts for the direct employment of 113 000 people. I am convinced that the next phase of the APDP will continue in the same vein and allow for continued automotive investment,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa.

The Premier of the Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle said ”The automotive sector is one of the key sectors in our provincial economy mix, which we believe, alongside the Oceans Economy, Agriculture and Energy, if correctly leveraged, can see the Eastern Cape Province not only grow the regional economy and contribute towards further national economic growth but also become a leader in the drive to modernise and re-skill our work force. We are particularly encouraged by Volkswagen South Africa’s commitment to not only their continued and expanding investment in the South African economy, but also bold initiatives such as the announcement of an R86 million grant to SMMEs located in the manufacture and distribution space of automotive parts. This is a clear signal of the private sector accepting that South Africa’s future prosperity will depend on the societal effort all of us are prepared to invest, not just Government. We hope to continue our partnership to undertake a skills revolution in our province by jointly entering into training ventures so that we may be able to improve our skills base as an economy but also increase the employability and entrepreneurial prospects of our people.”

Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe of the DTI commented “As the government, our commitment to local vehicle production is supported in our Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP); with a prime focus on adding value in the manufacturing and industrial sector. Export promotion, job creation and inclusive growth remain as the fundamentals of this policy. It is a privilege to commend VWSA on the launch of its new Polo and its investment of R6,1 billion. Therefore, this investment is particularly relevant to ensure expansion, socio-economic impact and the inclusion of Black Industrialists.”

“We also believe in the long term future of South Africa and Africa, for this reason the Volkswagen Group has created its fourth international region; the Sub Saharan Africa Region with VWSA being fully responsible for the region which will have substantial benefits for our company in South Africa. I believe that there are truly unique opportunities for us as an industry that we need to grasp, specifically here. As the automotive industry goes through radical change with electrification, autonomous driving, digitalisation etc. we must be ready to grasp these opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa”. added Mr Schaefer

The Volkswagen Group retained its number one position in the passenger market for the 7th consecutive year in 2017, achieving a 21.8% market share. One in every 5 cars bought by South Africans last year is either a Volkswagen or an Audi. The Volkswagen brand in the run-out year, of its volume models, the Polo and Polo Vivo achieved a share of 18.9% meaning that the Volkswagen Brand was the passenger market leader, even without its sister brand Audi.

The Polo Vivo and Polo have also been ranked the best selling cars in South Africa since launch in 2010. That is for 7 consecutive years. They are being replaced by the new Polo launched at the event and the new Polo Vivo which will be launched next month. “No doubt these will fare even better in the market in 2018 which we see increasing slightly too some 375 000 passenger cars from the 368 000 in 2017”, commented Thomas Schaefer.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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Seychelles: President Faure to attend AU Summit in Addis Ababa

The President of the Republic, Mr. Danny Faure, will be attending the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28 to 29 January 2018.

The upcoming Summit of the AU is being held under the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”. This follows the declaration made at the 29th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government in January 2017, where the AU would launch 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year.

President Faure will leave Seychelles on 27 January 2018 and return on 29 January 2018.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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