AU Commission Chairperson concludes official visit to Belarus

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A bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Belarus, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding talks with the Board Chairman of the Belarus National Bank and delivering a lecture at the University of Belarus. These are highlights of the maiden official visit of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to Belarus. The visit took place from 21-24 April 2016.

In her meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, H.E. Andrei Kobyakov, the AU Commission Chairperson made a case for greater collaboration and cooperation between Africa and Belarus. She recalled the historic relationship that existed during the days of the Soviet Republic, and invited the Government of Belarus to create favourable conditions for Belarusian businesses to invest Africa at national, sub-regional and continental levels.

“We will never forget the support that Africa got during that time,” said Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. “That is why today we are urging the people of Belarus to invest in Africa as it implements its 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063.”

In line with a clear strategic direction, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus, Mr. Mikhnevich. Following the signing of the MoU, they agreed to put establish a working group to identify specific project areas of cooperation, based on Africa’s Agenda 2063, the 10-year implementation plan and the 12 flagship projects.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham Ibrahim, who was part of the Chairperson’s delegation, would lead the working group from the Africa side.

Areas that would benefit from immediate cooperation include agriculture and agro-processing, transport, energy, ICT infrastructural and industrialisation projects of continental regional and continental reach.

“Belarus has no oil, no gas, and the weather isn’t always good. But we have the head and the hands that we have used develop expertise in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing, energy generation through wind, sun, wood and nuclear,” the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister said.

The same views were shared by the Chairperson’s delegation when they met separately with the Belarus Minister of Industry; the Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology; First Deputy Minister of Architecture; and the Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma highly appreciated the involvement of the Banks at this early stage, given that Financing is often one of the principal challenges raised in international business transactions.

After meetings with Government officials, the AU Commission Chairperson also delivered a lecture at the University of Belarus, focusing on Africa’s Agenda 2063. The lecture was characterized by a lively and interactive discussion between the Chairperson and students.

It was agreed that a MoU would be signed between the Pan African University and the University of Belarus to facilitate, among others, the training of students but also the transfer of technology.

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

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Source:: AU Commission Chairperson concludes official visit to Belarus

Categories: AFRICA

The Guardian Nigeria launches online TV platform

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The Guardian (http://www.Guardian.ng), Nigeria’s most trusted newspaper, launched its online TV platform, Guardian TV (http://www.TV.Guardian.ng), on Wednesday, April 27.

Guardian TV will provide exclusive video interviews, as well as up-to-the-minute videos from across the world, and will be available on virtually any device that has an internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, and Smart TVs.

Guardian TV has partnered with some of the world’s top online news and video outlets in order to provide it’s viewers with the best in news entertainment and sport. Partners include Al Jazeera, AFP, Reuters, CNBC Africa, Bloomberg, Forbes Africa TV and France 24. The list also includes Blustar Entertainment, Ebony Life TV, Ovation TV, Frontera, Channels TV, and Omnisport, the world’s number one sports content provider.

The website, www.TV.Guardian.ng, was officially launched today, and The Guardian’s Executive Director, Toke Alex Ibru, is confident Guardian TV will revolutionise the short form video content market in this part of the world.

He says: “Guardian TV will offer content providers a platform to reach out to larger audiences and demographics, both locally and internationally. I expect Guardian TV to in the not-too-distant-future become the number one source in Nigeria for quality short videos on news, entertainment and sports.”

The service is being launched in partnership with Ventra Media Group a full-service digital marketing and rights agency whose range of services includes digital strategy, growing social media audiences and planning, as well as buying digital media for brands and content owners. The outfit also specialises in platform development and monetisation for content owners such as The Guardian.

Daryn Wober, CEO, Ventra Media Group says, “We believe that Guardian TV represents the first of its kind in the market where a traditional newspaper business has stepped forward to provide a dedicated online video platform. The combination of Ventra’s product and technical expertise combined with the online reach of The Guardian will provide audiences with an unparalleled service.”

The launch of Guardian TV comes after the complete re-launch of The Guardian’s digital platform. The new service is part of a continued investment by the group in to its digital operations and products. The organisation has signalled its intent to launch products and services that can compete on an international basis.

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

Source:: The Guardian Nigeria launches online TV platform

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Welcoming the Resumption of the Burundian Dialogue

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Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 26, 2016

The United States welcomes the announcement by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, as the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC)-led Burundian dialogue, that the next round of talks will take place May 2–6 in Arusha, Tanzania. We continue to support the regionally mediated dialogue as the best means to restoring peace and stability to Burundi and strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or redlines.

The resumption of dialogue is critical, as the situation in the country is increasingly dire. This year-long crisis already has claimed over 400 lives and led over a quarter million Burundians to flee their country. We continue to see reports of sharp increases in killings, including the recent assassination of General Kararuza, torture, forced disappearances, and sexual violence, along with the use of illegal detention facilities by government security forces and armed factions of the ruling party youth wing. This horrific violence must end, and those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable. The opening of a preliminary examination in Burundi by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sends a strong warning in this regard to all perpetrators and would-be perpetrators.

The United States stands ready to support the EAC and all Burundian stakeholders in their pursuit of a peaceful, consensual solution to this crisis. The sooner this crisis is resolved, the sooner we can help Burundi realize greater development and prosperity.

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

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Source:: Welcoming the Resumption of the Burundian Dialogue

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Secretary-General appoints Abiodun O. Bashua of Nigeria to lead the Special Investigation into the Malakal incident in South Sudan

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The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Abiodun Oluremi Bashua of Nigeria to lead the Special Investigation into the attack against the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection of civilians site in Malakal, South Sudan.

The Special Investigation will undertake a detailed examination of the circumstances which led to the incident from 17 to 18 February in which at least 25 civilians in the site were killed and an additional 144 were injured. This investigation will complement the United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry announced on 11 March which is conducting an in-depth investigation into the overall response of UNMISS to the incident.

Mr. Bashua recently concluded his assignment as the Deputy Joint Special Representative of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, during which time he also served as the Acting Joint Special Representative in 2014 and 2015. In addition, he has extensive experience in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, having served at senior levels in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Mr. Bashua has also served as Secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Secretary-General appoints Abiodun O. Bashua of Nigeria to lead the Special Investigation into the Malakal incident in South Sudan

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Report Launch: Transparency International to publish Middle East and North Africa corruption poll

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Transparency International (www.Transparency.org) will publish on 3 May the results of a public opinion poll about people’s experiences and perceptions of corruption in 9 countries and territories in the Middle East and North Africa.

For the survey, Transparency International partnered with the Afrobarometer and several national partners of the Arab Barometer network who spoke to 10,797 adult respondents in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen.

The new survey follows previous editions of the Global Corruption Barometer, last published in 2013.

People and Corruption: Middle East & North Africa Survey 2016 Global Corruption Barometer

3 May 2016
07:00 am Berlin time
Available online at
www.Transparency.org

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

Media contacts:
Chris Sanders
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: [email protected]

Transparency International (www.Transparency.org) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

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Report Launch: Transparency International to publish Middle East and North Africa corruption poll

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Transparency International (www.Transparency.org) will publish on 3 May the results of a public opinion poll about people’s experiences and perceptions of corruption in 9 countries and territories in the Middle East and North Africa.

For the survey, Transparency International partnered with the Afrobarometer and several national partners of the Arab Barometer network who spoke to 10,797 adult respondents in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen.

The new survey follows previous editions of the Global Corruption Barometer, last published in 2013.

People and Corruption: Middle East & North Africa Survey 2016 Global Corruption Barometer

3 May 2016
07:00 am Berlin time
Available online at
www.Transparency.org

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

Media contacts:
Chris Sanders
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: [email protected]

Transparency International (www.Transparency.org) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

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Source:: Report Launch: Transparency International to publish Middle East and North Africa corruption poll

On the Occasion of the United Republic of Tanzania’s Union Day

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Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

April 26, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Tanzania as you celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Tanzania and the United States share a long history of cooperation and friendship. In the coming year, we will continue to work together to make progress in health and education, encourage economic growth, support democratic governance, and advance regional security.

As Tanzanians gather to celebrate Union Day, I share the hopes of the Tanzanian people for a peaceful and prosperous future.

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

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Source:: On the Occasion of the United Republic of Tanzania’s Union Day

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan

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The Secretary-General welcomes the return of Riek Machar to Juba and his swearing in as the First Vice President which marks a new phase in the implementation of the peace agreement. The Secretary-General calls for the immediate formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity. He commends the efforts of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson former President Festus Mogae and the AU High Representative former President Alpha Oumar Konaré. The Secretary-General also calls on the Security Council to work closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to mobilize all the required support for the peace process.

New York, 26 April 2016

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan

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UN and partners call for action and support to help 60 million people affected by strong El Niño

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With millions of people across the world affected by droughts, floods and other extreme weather events triggered by El Niño, the international community must act now to address urgent humanitarian needs and support building communities’ resilience to future shocks, Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has said.

The current El Niño is one of the strongest on record affecting an estimated 60 million people including some of the most vulnerable in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Pacific. The impact of El Niño-induced droughts is reaching an expected peak in late 2016 and early 2017. The situation could become even worse if a La Niña event – which often follows an El Niño – strikes towards the end of this year.

“We must act today to help people whose entire way of life and survival is threatened,” Mr. O’Brien said during a conference in Geneva today. “El Niño has already severely affected the health and food security of so many families and communities across the world. I am deeply worried about rising acute malnutrition among children under five and the increase in water- and vector-borne diseases. People urgently need food, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as health services,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Over the past months, governments, UN, NGOs and other humanitarian partners have stepped up El Niño-related preparedness and response work. Response plans have been completed in 13 countries, requesting some US$3.6 billion to meet critical needs for food and agricultural support, as well as nutrition, health and emergency water and sanitation needs. But the funding gap for the combined global El Niño-related response stands at over $2.2 billion. As some countries have not yet finalized their humanitarian response plans, this figure is expected to rise.

UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator, Izumi Nakamitsu, said it was critical to invest now to help ensure vulnerable communities can cope better with the next El Niño or other crises.

“This shows again the importance of humanitarian and development agencies working together to support national and local governments during crises, to identify the risks for future disasters and build resilience. We can predict most crises, which gives us an opportunity to invest in prevention, preparedness and disaster risk reduction to reduce or end humanitarian need,” Ms Nakamitsu said.

Care International Secretary General and CEO, Dr. Wolfgang Jamann, said: “We need both the resources to respond now – and NGOs both local and international can respond at huge scale if provided with the funding we need – and the political will to break this cycle whereby early warning does not result in early response, despite the clear human and financial advantages of doing so”.

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

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Source:: UN and partners call for action and support to help 60 million people affected by strong El Niño

Categories: AFRICA

Norway to step up drought response in Ethiopia

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The drought in Ethiopia is having enormous consequences for the population. More than 15 million people are now dependent on food aid. ‘The number of people who need food aid may rise dramatically if the international community fails to provide enough aid quickly enough. Norway is now allocating an additional NOK 30 million in humanitarian assistance,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The drought is linked to the El Niño weather pattern, and according to the UN is one of the worst the international community has experienced. The Ethiopian authorities have been contributing to the emergency response, but the scale of the crisis means that further international assistance is vital. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator has therefore convened a meeting in Geneva today to mobilise increased international support for the Ethiopian people.

‘Ethiopia is an important partner country for Norway. Norwegian NGOs have been working in the country for many years, and have built up knowledge and experience in the agricultural and water sectors that is very valuable in the response to the current crisis. We welcome the cooperation between leading Norwegian NGOs on the provision of emergency assistance to Ethiopia,’ said Mr Brende.

Norway has been cooperating with Ethiopia on climate-resilient agriculture for a number of years. However, the impacts of the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, show that the progress Ethiopia has made is very fragile, and that the situation can deteriorate rapidly in poor rural areas. Norway increased the level of its humanitarian assistance to the country from autumn 2015, and recently provided an extra NOK 20 million to the World Food Programme to mitigate the impacts of the drought.

The additional NOK 30 million will be allocated partly to a consortium consisting of Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian People’s Aid and the Development Fund Norway. In addition, some funding will go to NORCAP (the Norwegian Refugee Council’s emergency standby roster), which can deploy experts as needed to support humanitarian crisis response.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Norway.

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Source:: Norway to step up drought response in Ethiopia

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UK in Namibia celebrates Shakespeare Lives with film screenings

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Shakespeare Lives in 2016

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of world’s greatest playwriter, William Shakespeare, on 23 April 2016, the British Council and British High Commission present two Shakespeare inspired films on 26 & 27 April 2016, as part of the global “Shakespeare Lives “ programme.

Shakespeare Lives is an unprecedented global programme of events and activities celebrating William Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. It is an invitation to the world to join in the festivities by participating in a unique online collaboration and experiencing the work of Shakespeare directly on stage, through film, exhibitions and in schools. It will run throughout 2016, exploring Shakespeare as a living writer who still speaks for all people and nations.

On 26th & 27th April 2016, the UK in Namibia presents Shakespeare Lives in Film with the following screenings:

Much Ado About Nothing: 26 April 2016

This witty and fast-paced version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring an amazing cast with Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton and Emma Thompson, is a testament to Kenneth Branagh’s extensive creative abilities, as well as arguably one of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever filmed. The cinematography accentuates the lush scan landscape in which Branagh as the humorous Benedick, and Emma Thompson, as the wilful and challenging Beatrice, bring this adaptation to life.

All Night Long: 27th April 2016

Othello is translated to the world of sixties London jazz clubs in the smoky and sensational All Night Long. During the anniversary celebration of the musical and romantic partners, Aurelius Rex and Delia Lane, a jealous, ambitious drummer, Johnny Cousin (Patrick McGoohan) attempts to tear the interracial couple apart. This daring psychodrama also features onscreen appearances by jazz legends Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Tubby Hayes and Johnny Dankworth. A must-see for film lovers, and lovers of music!

Venue: FNCC Time: 18:30 Entrance fee: N$30 Persons under 18: Free Admission

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Windhoek.

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Source:: UK in Namibia celebrates Shakespeare Lives with film screenings

Categories: AFRICA

Message from HM Queen Elizabeth II to His Excellency President Jacob Zuma

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It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency my congratulations on the celebration of South Africa’s Freedom and Democracy Day, together with my best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of South Africa in the coming year.

Elizabeth R.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Pretoria.

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Source:: Message from HM Queen Elizabeth II to His Excellency President Jacob Zuma

Categories: AFRICA