Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kentaro Sonoura Visits Egypt

TOKYO, Japan, March 17, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. Mr. Kentaro Sonoura, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited the Arab Republic of Egypt on March 14 and 15 and attended the Egypt Economic Development Conference as the representative of the Government of Japan in response to a direct initiative from Mr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon his visit to Egypt in January this year. In the conference, Mr. Sonoura delivered a speech (see attachment (PDF)Open a New Window) in which he stated that Japan would continue its proactive cooperation for the stability of the Middle East including Egypt even after the murder of Japanese hostages and would strengthen efforts and assistance/contribution by both public and private sectors of Japan for the economic development of Egypt, a key to stability in the Middle East. In his speech, Mr. Sonoura mentioned that the Government of Japan had expressed its policies to provide new yen loans of approximately 50 billion yen in the fields of water, transportation and electric power, all of which support the development of Egypt, within six months after President El-Sisi’s inauguration and added that a Cabinet decision had been made to newly extend grant aid of approximately 1.5 billion yen to Cairo University Children Hospital.

2. On the occasion of the conference, Mr. Sonoura met with H.E. Mr. Sameh Shukri, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr. Naglaa El Ehwany, Minister of International Cooperation, and H.E. Dr. Hassan Fahmy, Chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) and exchanged opinions on how to strengthen bilateral relations including the follow-up of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Egypt and on regional situations including the fight against terrorism such as ISIL. Moreover, Mr. Sonoura also exchanged opinions on the promotion of investment to Egypt with representatives from Japanese enterprises who attended the conference.

3. Following his meeting with Dr. Naglaa El Ehwany, Minister of International Cooperation, Mr. Sonoura witnessed a signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes and loan agreement concerning the Project for Construction of the New Dirout Group of Regulators, a yen loan project of approximately 5.9 billion yen. The project, which utilizes technology of Japan, aims to effectively use approximately 17% of the available supply of water of the Nile for irrigation to improve agricultural productivity in Egypt.

4. In Cairo, Mr. Sonoura visited the Cairo University Children Hospital which was constructed by the assistance from Japan and Cairo Metro for which a Japanese enterprise provides cars.

Source:: Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kentaro Sonoura Visits Egypt

Categories: African Press Organization

IOM Ebola Response: Training Expands across Sierra Leone from Academy in Freetown

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 17, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and Makerere University in Uganda, has trained more than 4,500 frontline health care workers (HCWs) at the National Ebola Training Academy in Freetown since December 1, IOM’s team in the country reported this week.

Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in March 2014, over 8,400 people have been infected and more than 3,200 have perished in Sierra Leone.

IOM’s Training Coordinator and project lead, Jasmine Riley, said that “After three months it continues to be a privilege to lead this highly committed and multifaceted team – devoted to making Ebola a part of Sierra Leone’s past.”

Week to week IOM’s team of 30 staff train roughly 300 national and international HCWs including doctors, nurses, hygienists, lab technicians, swab takers, ambulance drivers, burial workers and decontamination teams on basic Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) working in both frontline and regular care facilities.

Curriculum provided by WHO features three-day modules on donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), proper hand washing techniques, how to mix chlorine solution, spill clean-up, lectures on identifying and dealing with Ebola infections, and small group tutorials.

A two-day practical component is also provided in an onsite mock Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) that takes health care workers through various scenarios in each stage of the ETU. Trainee and registered nurse, Gladys Kamara said, “IOM’s training has improved my understanding of Ebola and I’m already changing the way I work in the hospital.”

Ten Ebola survivors are on staff as expert patient demonstrators to add realism to the practical training. The survivors also share their experiences with the deadly disease during a “Survivor’s Panel.” Fonti Kargbo, survivor, said that “Despite the pain and the stigma we face, it is our duty to use our experience to help the trainees here defeat Ebola.”

Following a significant decrease in the number of new Ebola cases across Sierra Leone from 320 per week at the beginning of January to only 80 per week one month later, the need for large centralized trainings in Freetown was drawn into question.

As a result, rapid response 4-6 person IPC mobile training teams comprising Training Academy staff from Freetown are being deployed to the districts following requests from the Ministry of Health.

With a slight rise in cases through February, the demand for mobile trainings is expanding swiftly. To date over 220 HCWs have been trained in Kambia, Bombali, Bo, Port Loko and Western Area.

Dr. Michael Laggah, a Sierra Leonean who works at the Academy in Freetown and more recently as a mobile trainer in Bombali said, “The beauty of mobile training is that you take a person with 5 percent knowledge of Ebola, someone who has never been to school, and by the end of the course they have a much more developed understanding of the disease. Mobile training is responsible for changing people’s perceptions and protecting the most vulnerable.”

More training sessions are scheduled in the coming weeks for 125 foreign doctors from UNOPS, 80 health care workers at Masanga Hospital in Tonkolili, 27 hygienists at Lungi International Airport and 200 prison guards in four districts over fears that Sierra Leone’s crowded prison facilities could fall victim to Ebola.

To cover demand three teams will be deployed simultaneously and the number of staff dedicated to mobile training increased. Dr. Desmond Maada Kangbai, an IOM trainer who recently trained airport personnel, emphasized “the importance of Infection Prevention and Control training in the districts where outbreaks of Ebola and other diseases are most likely to occur. It is essential that all health care professionals have the same level of training to deal with possible outbreaks now and in the future.”

IOM’s district level mobile trainings are making a significant impact on health care worker safety and ensuring that the chain of transmission is broken in Sierra Leone.

Source:: IOM Ebola Response: Training Expands across Sierra Leone from Academy in Freetown

Categories: African Press Organization

Pope Expresses his Nearness to the Bishops and People of Nigeria

VATICAN, Holy See, March 17, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Pope Francis has written a letter to the Bishops of Nigeria ensuring them of his nearness to all those in that country. Although Nigeria has one of the strongest economies in all of Africa, it is facing new and violent forms of extremism and fundamentalism that tragically affect the society as a whole. The letter, published today, is dated 2 March, 2015. Following is the full text of the letter:

While we walk this Lenten journey towards the Resurrection of the Lord united with the whole Church, I wish to extend to you, dear Archbishops and Bishops of Nigeria, a fraternal greeting, which I extend to the beloved Christian communities entrusted to your pastoral care. I would also like to share some thoughts with you on the current situation in your country.

Nigeria, known as the ”African giant”, with its more than 160 million inhabitants, is set to play a primary role, not only in Africa but in the world at large. In recent years, it has experienced robust growth in the economic sphere and has again reasserted itself on the world stage as an attractive market, on account of its natural resources as well as its commercial potential. It is now considered officially the single largest African economy. It has also distinguished itself as a political player widely committed to the resolution of crisis situations in the continent.

At the same time, your nation has had to confront considerable problems, among them new and violent forms of extremism and fundamentalism on ethnic, social and religious grounds. Many Nigerians have been killed, wounded or mutilated, kidnapped and deprived of everything: their loved ones, their land, their means of subsistence, their dignity and their rights. Many have not been able to return to their homes. Believers, both Christian and Muslim, have experienced a common tragic outcome, at the hands of people who claim to be religious, but who instead abuse religion, to make of it an ideology for their own distorted interests of exploitation and murder.

I would like to assure you and all who suffer of my closeness. Every day I remember you in my prayers and I repeat here, for your encouragement and comfort, the consoling words of the Lord Jesus, which must always resound in our hearts: ”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”.

Peace ? as you know so well ? is not only the absence of conflict or the result of political compromise or fatalistic resignation. Peace is for us a gift which comes from on high; it is Jesus Christ himself, the Prince of Peace, who has made of two peoples one (cf. Eph 2:14). And only the man or woman who treasures the peace of Christ as a guiding light and way of life can become a peacemaker (cf. Mt 5:9).

At the same time, peace is a daily endeavour, a courageous and authentic effort to favour reconciliation, to promote experiences of sharing, to extend bridges of dialogue, to serve the weakest and the excluded. In a word, peace consists in building up a ”culture of encounter”.

And so I wish here to express my heartfelt thanks to you, because in the midst of so many trials and sufferings the Church in Nigeria does not cease to witness to hospitality, mercy and forgiveness. How can we fail to remember the priests, religious men and women, missionaries and catechists who, despite untold sacrifices, never abandoned their flock, but remained at their service as good and faithful heralds of the Gospel? To them, most particularly, I would like to express my solidarity, and to say: do not grow tired of doing what is right!

We give thanks to the Lord for them, as for so many men and women of every social, cultural and religious background, who with great willingness stand up in concrete ways to every form of violence, and whose efforts are directed at favouring a more secure and just future for all. They offer us moving testimonies, which, as Pope Benedict XVI recalled at the end of the Synod for Africa, show ”the power of the Spirit to transform the hearts of victims and their persecutors and thus to re-establish fraternity” .

Dear Brother Bishops, in perseverance and without becoming discouraged, go forward on the way of peace . Accompany the victims! Come to the aid of the poor! Teach the youth! Become promoters of a more just and fraternal society!

I gladly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing, which I ask you to extend to priests, religious, missionaries, catechists, lay faithful and above all to those suffering members of the Body of Christ.

May the Resurrection of the Lord bring conversion, reconciliation and peace to all the people of Nigeria! I commend you to Mary, Queen of Africa, and I ask you also to pray for me.

Source:: Pope Expresses his Nearness to the Bishops and People of Nigeria

Categories: African Press Organization

PwC launches ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report to highlight the potential of the continent: African CEO Forum, Geneva 2015

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 17, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today at the African CEO Forum of 2015 in Geneva, PwC ( launches the first edition of its ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report, which details the potential of 20 African cities that we believe to be among the most dynamic and future focused on the continent. The report is part of PwC’s global Cities of Opportunity series and its analysis is structured around the critical issues of the business community as well as those of the office holders and other public authorities who are responsible for improving the collective life of each city examined here.

Download the report:


Photo: (Stanley Subramoney, PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa)

The African continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change. Urbanisation is of particular importance, as by 2030, half of Africa’s population will live in cities where economic activity and growth will be focused and which will become communication centers and hubs for social trends. The global megatrends are colliding across Africa. The growing middle class, strong demographic growth with an improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments and a growing choice of investment partners from the global south, as well as fast-paced urbanisation are all shaping what the future of Africa will look like.

Stanley Subramoney, PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa, says: “We have sought to answer ‘what makes an African city one of opportunity’ by developing a set of questions that investors should ask themselves and themes which city politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness. This report assesses how the cities are performing not only on a regional level but also on an international one, which is hugely important in terms of these cities being able to compete and prosper on both of these stages.”

PwC studied four indicators: the economy, infrastructure, human capital and population/society (which itself contains 29 variables). From this analysis, two rankings emerged: ‘general’ and ‘opportunities for cities’. “We believe that these cities demonstrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of Africa’s urban future. Our evaluation and re-evaluation of that future is, of course, a continual work in progress,” adds Kalane Rampai, PwC Leader for Local Government for Southern Africa.

North African cities lead the way

Four of the top five cities in the report are located in North Africa: Cairo, Tunis, Algiers and Casablanca, with the fifth being Johannesburg.

The preponderance of North African cities at the top is mainly due to how long they have been established. This has given them time to develop infrastructure and a regulatory and legal framework, and to establish a socio-cultural ecosystem. Johannesburg is the only exception to this pattern since it was only formed more recently, in 1886 (compared to the other cities it’s ranked highly with), and was developed rapidly for political reasons. Therefore, its infrastructure and services are comparable to those of the more established African cities.

African cities with promise

Another major criterion of a city’s potential is the vision they have for their future. Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a good example of a city that has a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond for the quality of its communications infrastructure, low crime rates and steady democracy. Economically, it ranks second for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment and the diversity of its GDP.

Most of the African cities with promise can (and will), with a little effort and organisation, climb to join those cities at the top of our overall ranking. Moreover, many of them have already become key regional platforms, such as Dar es Salaam and Douala as centres for telecommunications, Accra and Lagos for culture, and Nairobi for financial services.

Outside our top five cities, Kigali finishes at the very top for both ease of doing business and health spending; Abidjan ranks number one in both middle-class growth and diversity; Dar es Salaam is first in GDP growth; and Nairobi outscores all African cities in FDI.

With 5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class, Africa is extremely appealing to investors. After undergoing a period of pessimism about the future of Africa with some exaggerated optimism, leaders today share a more realistic view of the economic climate of the continent. This is what PwC calls ‘Afro-realism’.

The trends identified in the report, with the generally accepted economic data supporting the notion that cities are the world’s ‘engines of growth’, make ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report not only necessary but extremely timely.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

About PwC:

PwC ( helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.


Stanley Subramoney: PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa

Office: + 27 11 797 4380



Jocelyn Newmarch: Account Manager: Edelman, South Africa

Office: + 27 11 504 4000

Mobile: + 27 84 462 1111



Sanchia Temkin: Head of Media Relations, PwC

Office: + 27 11 797 4470


Source:: PwC launches ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report to highlight the potential of the continent: African CEO Forum, Geneva 2015

Categories: African Press Organization

ECAir, Equatorial Congo Airlines, to inaugurate new route Brazzaville-Dakar via Bamako on Sunday, 22 March 2015

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, March 16, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Within the scope of expanding its network, Sunday, 22 March 2015 will see ECAir, Equatorial Congo Airlines (, the national airline of the Republic of the Congo, inaugurate its new Brazzaville-Dakar via Bamako route.


Bamako (Republic of Mali) and Dakar (Republic of Senegal) are two major West African capital cities. This route, which will run three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday departing from Brazzaville; Wednesday, Friday and Monday departing from Dakar or Bamako) was established in response to a growing demand among our passengers.

This new route represents a crucial and strategic step in our company’s expansion process, and it is hoped it will allow us to strengthen the number of exchanges and level of cooperation between Congo, Mali and Senegal, and with the rest of West Africa in general.

Flights to Bamako and Dakar will be operated by Boeing 757-200 and will have a capacity of 148 seats (16 in Business Class and 132 in Economy) until 1 June, then by Boeing 737-700 (12 seats in Business Class and 112 seats in Economy). These two new destinations will round off the service offering of Equatorial Congo Airlines, which already provides services to and from Cotonou (Benin), Douala (Cameroon), Libreville (Gabon) and Kinshasa (DRC) as part of its regional network.

“The inauguration of these two new flight routes to Bamako and Dakar, just a few weeks after the inauguration of Libreville as a destination and the establishment of a daily flight between Brazzaville/Paris and Brazzaville/Dubai, will see us strengthen our presence on the continent. This year, within the scope of expanding our network and our fleet, we are aiming to transform Maya-Maya Airport into a real Central African hub by offering our passengers a number of rotations and a first-class service,” declared Fatima Beyina-Moussa, Managing Director of Equatorial Congo Airlines.

Take advantage of the low prices offered by ECAir:

Brazzaville-Bamako: from XAF 263,000 (EUR 400) return ticket, all taxes included.

Brazzaville-Dakar: from XAF 382,000 (EUR 582) return ticket, all taxes included.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of ECAir (Equatorial Congo Airlines).

ECAir Communication & Public Relations contacts:

Nicolas Négoce

+242 06 510 30 23

About ECAir:

ECAir, the national airline of the Republic of the Congo, was created in 2011 and employs over 500 people. In 2014, the airline transported 360,000 passengers. ECAir operates up to 138 weekly flights from Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) to Paris CDG, Dubai, Cotonou, Douala, Libreville, Pointe-Noire and Ollombo. Equatorial Congo Airlines, which has a fleet of 7 aircraft, also created a river shuttle for passengers travelling from or to Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo). ECAir is the first Congolese airline to connect the continent directly to the Middle East, with daily flights to Dubai and Europe as well as a daily flight to Paris. For more information, visit or telephone +(33) 01 78 77 78 77 or +(242) 06 509 05 09. Our head office is located opposite Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.

For more information:

*Information and reservations:




*Instagram: econgoairlines

Source:: ECAir, Equatorial Congo Airlines, to inaugurate new route Brazzaville-Dakar via Bamako on Sunday, 22 March 2015

Categories: African Press Organization

Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) to bolster African expansion

PORT-LOUIS, Mauritius, March 16, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) ( is affirming its growing African ambitions through its participation as one of the four Diamond Sponsors of the forthcoming Africa CEO Forum. This event, one of major rendezvous of the financial and corporate African scene, will welcome some 800 participants from 38 countries in Geneva on the 16th and 17th of March 2015 with discussions to be held in relation to the strategic priorities of the African private sector.


“The Africa CEO Forum will help boost MCB’s brand visibility and its regional ambitions,” said Antony Withers, MCB’s Chief Executive. “We will be able to showcase our internal capabilities and product offerings to the top African business leaders and the most influential players in African and international finance. It will also allow MCB to engage in constructive dialogue on Africa’s growth dynamics and how the private sector can contribute towards advancing sustainable economic progress across the continent.”

Ranked by The Banker as the largest bank in East Africa, MCB has gradually increased its involvement in Africa. The ‘Bank of Banks’ initiative aims at positioning MCB as a regional hub in handling trade finance, cards operations outsourcing and consulting services on behalf of MCB’s financial and banking counterparts. As such, MCB bundles its industry capabilities to service some 100 financial institutions covering around 30 African countries. The Bank is also active through classic short-term finance with more than 50 African banks and participates on the syndicated loan market through deals in African countries, as much as in the secondary market for the purchase and sale of risks, backed by its signing of 18 Master Risk Participation Agreements with top-tier African banks.

MCB has made major strides in terms of structured finance across the commodity trade value chain, with activities revolving around the provision of bespoke self-liquidating finance facilities to regional oil traders and importers, as well as to some of the world’s top commodity traders. MCB has grown into a privileged partner for asset-based structured project finance in sectors spanning energy and power generation, infrastructure, telecommunications and hospitality across sub-Saharan Africa and the region. These endeavours are underpinned by the Group’s presence across 10 countries through its subsidiaries, associated company and representative offices. Reflective of its growing African aspirations, foreign-sourced income accounts for nearly half of the Group’s net profit, principally stemming from the region and the African continent.

“We have not waited for Africa to be in the spotlight as ‘the new place to be’ to spread our wings across the continent,” said Raoul Gufflet, Head of MCB’s International division. “Today, our ambition to widen and deepen our footprint in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond can be explained by the generally appreciable macroeconomic performance and prospects posted by a number of African countries. We are focused on securing new business across the continent and engaging in organic growth by increasing cross-border financing and entering into regional ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances,” added Raoul Gufflet.

Being the country’s leading bank accounting for a quarter of the market capitalisation on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, MCB will, in Geneva, be the flagship of the Mauritian business and financial hub. “Mauritius has made appreciable headway in refocusing on the African continent as part of its market and geographical diversification strategy in light of the new ‘Africa rising’ narrative,” Antony Withers noted. The country is strategically positioned between Africa and Asia and benefits from a wide network of bilateral agreements, with 19 Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties and 20 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements currently in force with African countries. It is well integrated in major regional economic and trading blocs, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB).


Ryan Coopamah

Head of Communication SBU

Direct line: +230 202 5439


Source:: Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) to bolster African expansion

Categories: African Press Organization