Nov 052014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, November 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Modification: Adjusted translation

In response to recent developments in Burkina Faso, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced that Canada will immediately suspend development assistance funding provided directly to the Government of Burkina Faso and its institutions.

“Given the current climate, it is not possible to provide development assistance dollars directly to the Government of Burkina Faso and ensure they are spent effectively and as intended,” said Minister Paradis. “We stand with the people of Burkina Faso and urge those responsible to put the needs of the Burkina Faso people first. To this end, we are conducting an immediate assessment and review of all Canada’s development assistance programs currently operating in the country.”

“Canada will suspend all direct funding to the Government of Burkina Faso until we are satisfied that the situation has been resolved, and that a legitimate and accountable civil authority has been put in place. We therefore encourage all parties to quickly set out a timetable for a rapid return to democratically-elected authorities, in line with the Constitution of Burkina Faso,” added Minister Paradis.

In 2014 Burkina Faso was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

The strategic direction of Canada’s program in Burkina Faso is to help the country secure a future for children and youth, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

Quick Facts

• There is a long tradition of strong partnerships between Canadian and Burkina Faso civil society organizations. With Canada’ support more than 20 Canadian organizations are delivering development projects in areas as diverse as agriculture, entrepreneurship, women’s rights, technical professional training and health.

• Canada’s support to the microfinance sector in Burkina Faso has contributed to a strengthened business environment, while also promoting the creation of financial centres for entrepreneurs, including those operating in the agriculture sector.

• Since 2006, Canada has been supporting Burkina Faso’s education sector. As a result of the Canada’s contribution, the number of classrooms at the primary level have increased by 36%, from 38,269 classrooms in 2009 to 52,008 in 2014.The enrolment rate increased by 9% overall, with a significant gain for girls (increasing from 71.2% in 2009 to 84.2% in 2014), and the primary school completion rate rose from 45.9% in 2009 to 59.5% in 2013. Management of the education system, access to education, especially among girls, and the quality of instruction are all improving.

Nov 052014
 

BRUSSELS, Belgium, November 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On Wednesday, 26th November 2014, the EU- Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC) (http://www.eu-africa-cc.org) will host a gala ceremony to showcase the winning projects of the first edition of the “CSR in Africa Awards”. (http://www.csr-in-africa.eu). The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the EU Commission and the sponsor of Afreximbank, will reward some best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The 8 shortlisted companies running for the final prizes, after more than forty manifestations of interests received, are: Cocopack (http://www.cocopack.ci), Deutsche DHL (https://www.dpdhl.com), Ecofund (http://www.ecofund.org), Frigoken (http://frigoken.com), Kakuzi (http://www.kakuzi.co.ke), Mars (http://www.mars.com), Newmont Ghana (http://www.newmont.com/africa), Woolworths (http://www.woolworths.co.za).

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

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1517 (Mr. Serguei Ouattara, President and Executive Manager of the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1518

The EUACC “CSR in Africa Awards” aims to: (1) give a higher visibility to CSR best practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, (2) raise awareness and showcase CSR as a tool of performance and competitiveness, (3) encourage shared-value approaches and engage the private sector from Africa and Europe. Three main categories have been defined: The Sustainable Economy Award – The Environment Award and The Social Impact Award. Including two distinguished categories: The “EUACC – Promising Project” Award and The “EUACC – Be Inspired” Award.

Mr. Serguei Ouattara, President and Executive Manager of the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce states that: “This gala ceremony will also mark the official launch of the 2nd edition of the CSR in Africa Awards and help us to get ready for the upcoming European Year for Development 2015”.

The European Year for Development 2015 (EYD2015) is indeed planned to gather all existing development experiences, best practices and showcase them at European level. The coming year is crucial for the future of development: the deadline for the MDGs will be reached, and the final efforts to reach the goals and targets set out will be assessed. Hence, the European Year for Development 2015, motto is: “Our world, our dignity, our future”.

Moreover, a recent European Commission Communication advocated for: “A stronger role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries” introducing private sector engagement as a new dimension into EU development cooperation. The Commission Communication “Action 10: Promote international Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines and principles through policy dialogue and development cooperation with promotion of sustainable consumption and production” encourages the responsible engagement of European companies in developing countries, including their adherence to social, environmental and fiscal standards, as well as their respect of human rights, in the framework of implementing the EU Strategy on CSR.

“The EYD2015 is therefore an excellent opportunity to spread the message on Corporate Social Responsibility and the EUACC “CSR in Africa Awards” is a key tool to engage the private sector both from Africa and from Europe,” adds Serguei Ouattara.

The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce has opened its office in Brussels in 2012. The EUACC truly believes that CSR is a key way to help ensuring inclusiveness and sustainability in the development of SSA. The EUACC sees its CSR Awards as an added value, to its mission which is: to promote the development of the African private sector, and to encourage win-win partnerships between the European private sector and the African private sector.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC).

Media contact

Sonia Toro

Director Communication and CSR

E-mail: sonia.toro@eu-africa-cc.org

Tel.: +32 471 10 84 83

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EUAfricaMonitor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EU-Africa-Chamber-of-Commerce/187177630165

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Nov 052014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN Committee against Torture is due to review Burundi on 11 and 12 November in sessions that will be webcast live.

Burundi is one of the 156 States parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and is required to undergo regular examinations of its record before the Committee of 10 independent experts. The Committee will engage in a dialogue with the Burundian government delegation and also hear from NGOs.

Public sessions: 10:00-12:00 on 11 November, 15:00-17:00 on 12 November

Venue: Palais Wilson, Geneva

Live webcast: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Among the possible issues to be raised are: measures to address torture and extrajudicial killings by police and national intelligence service; fair trial guarantees, including access to a lawyer and medical care; arbitrary detention; the high number of cases of sexual abuse of women and minors, notably by police officers and soldiers; conditions of detention and prison overcrowding; and protection, justice and reparation for victims of torture.

Further information and Burundi’s report are available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=930&Lang=en. The Committee will publish its concluding observations here on Friday 28 November.

A news conference is scheduled for Friday 28 November at 14:00 at Palais des Nations in Geneva when the Committee will discuss its concluding observations on Burundi and the other countries being reviewed – Sweden, Ukraine, Venezuela, Australia, USA, Croatia, and Kazakhstan.

Nov 042014
 

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government is to provide €2 million to aid agencies responding to the deepening crisis in South Sudan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, have announced.

Widespread violence against civilians in South Sudan has forced almost two million people to flee their homes. Almost half a million of these have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, where President Michael D. Higgins, accompanied by Minister Sherlock, will visit refugee camps in Gambella today. Gambella provides shelter to many of the 180,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Ethiopia as a result of the conflict.

The funding, which will provide food, clean water, healthcare, shelter, education programmes for children and protection to vulnerable people, is being distributed as follows:

• €1 million to Médecins sans Frontières, GOAL, Plan Ireland and Concern to provide health care, clean water and sanitation and education for South Sudanee refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia.

• €1 million to Concern, Christian Aid and Trócaire for programmes in South Sudan to provide emergency nutrition, improve food security and assist people to develop livelihoods.

• This brings to over €8.5 million the funding provided by Ireland to the South Sudanese crisis in 2014.

Minister Charlie Flanagan said:

“With an estimated 3.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan, I am gravely concerned at the impact that the violence is having on the civilian population. I am particularly alarmed by the high levels of sexual and gender based violence being perpetrated against women and girls and at the plight of refugees who have fled the country.

“Given the seriousness of the crisis and the urgent needs of innocent civilians, Ireland will provide a further €2 million to our NGO partners in South Sudan and Gambella, Ethiopia.”

Minister Sherlock, who is accompanying President Michael D. Higgins on his visit to refugee camps in Gambella today, said:

“The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia are women and children. Many are in very poor health having walked for weeks from a number of areas of South Sudan to reach shelter. This additional funding of €2million will ensure that effective aid is delivered in a concentrated manner to where it is most needed here.

This funding will assist Irish Aid’s key partners in their efforts to meet the urgent needs of extremely vulnerable refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia through the provision of food, clean water, healthcare, shelter, sanitation, hygiene and protection’.

Nov 042014
 

MORONI, Comoros, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Mr. Harry Trines, Mission Chief for Comoros, visited Moroni during October 20−November 4 to conduct discussions for the 2014 Article IV consultation. The mission met with President Dhoinine Ikililou and held discussions with Vice President and Minister of Finance Mohamed Ali Soilihi, Minister of Planning Alféine Soifiat Tadjiddine, Governor of the Central Bank Abdou Mohamed Chanfiou, Councilor to the President and Permanent Secretary of the Economic and Financial Reform Agency Chei Oubeidi, and other government officials, representatives of the private sector, unions, and the donor community.

At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Trines issued the following statement:

“While Comoros has made notable progress in recent years and macroeconomic policy making and economic performance have improved since the adoption of the new constitution in 2009, much remains to be done to consolidate and accelerate inclusive economic growth through continued focus on policies that emphasize macroeconomic stability and improvements in infrastructure, and that foster structural reforms that improve the competitiveness of the economy and strengthen the business environment.

“Real economic growth is estimated at 3.5 percent in 2013 and is expected to be 3-3.5 percent in 2014. Inflation was 3.5 percent at end-2013 but had eased to 0.7 percent by August 2014. Both exports and imports grew strongly in volume terms in 2013, the former from a very low base. While remittances also continued to increase, the current account deficit is estimated at above 10 percent in 2014 compared to 9.5 percent in 2013.

“Fiscal developments in 2013 were strongly affected by the spending of significant amounts of proceeds from the Economic Citizenship Program (ECP) that accrued in 2012. The overall balance (cash basis, net of debt relief) went from a surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP in 2012 to a deficit of 1.3 percent in 2013.

“Comoros faces many challenges. In the near term, the government must strive to find a better balance between the resources available and expenditures so that it can avoid the incurrence of arrears, particularly on wages and external debt, and make allocations to some important initiatives. Urgent action is also needed to improve the reliability of the energy supply, a key constraint to growth. For the medium term, the key challenges are to create fiscal space for infrastructure investment and social spending through greatly strengthened revenue mobilization, accelerate inclusive growth and employment generation, and reduce poverty, while also strengthening resilience against external shocks, including natural disasters.

“Implementation of the 2014 budget has been challenging, particularly after mid-year. Resources have been inadequate to meet the higher wage bill resulting from the increase in teacher salaries approved in March and previously unbudgeted expenditures, including on the administration of the elections. In the discussions, the mission urged the authorities to prioritize spending for the remainder of the year so that arrears on wages and salaries and external loans can be eliminated by year-end.

“The mission underscored that the main cause of the current difficulties, as well as the inability to undertake more public investment projects, lay in the low level of domestic revenues. Therefore, the most urgent task for the authorities is to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization. In this regard, the mission urged the authorities to focus their efforts on strengthening revenue administration, including through a freeze on new exemptions, better management of the large tax payers list, and improving general tax compliance. The mission also noted the importance of strengthening public financial management, particularly through the implementation of effective cash management and greater fiscal transparency. All transactions on behalf of the government, whether for revenue or spending, should be reflected in the budget. Better cash management should limit the incurrence of arrears, including on wages and salaries, while greater transparency should contribute to lessened distrust among stakeholders, including autonomous island governments.

“Regarding the 2015 budget, the mission emphasized the need to base spending plans on realistic expectations of resource availability. The results of increased efforts to strengthen revenue mobilization are bound to take time. With the scope for financing constrained, current spending, particularly on wages and salaries, the largest component of expenditure from domestic resources, needs to be carefully controlled in the near term.

“The mission noted that the authorities are in the process of developing a new strategy for sustainable development (SCADD) to replace the expiring poverty reduction strategy. The mission concurred with the main objectives of the strategy but pointed out that it needed to be based on realistic assumptions regarding available financing and should contain a strong component aimed at improving the attractiveness of the Comorian economy as an investment and tourist destination. The mission urged the authorities to add a strong private sector development component to the SCADD. Furthermore, already started reforms in the electricity sector with the help of the World Bank and the African Development Bank need to be pursued vigorously and deepened to alleviate the electricity shortages that are currently affecting the country and are a key impediment to economic growth.

“The mission noted that nonperforming loans in the banking system have increased and recovery is difficult. It encourages the Comorian authorities to implement structural reforms and correct weaknesses in the application of the law.

“Finally, the mission observed that Comoros’ economic data gathering was in urgent need of strengthening. The lack of high quality and timely economic data makes assessment of economic performance, as well as the formulation of economic projections, difficult. Despite the challenging budgetary environment, the mission urged the authorities to make adequate allocations to the new statistical agency to enable it to provide the data necessary for efficient policy making.

“The IMF continues to work closely with the authorities in providing policy advice and technical assistance and training in areas of its competence, including the development of an effective macroeconomic and budgetary framework and cash management. Additional technical assistance is also planned for tax policy, balance of payments and national accounts statistics, as well as banking supervision.

“The Executive Board of the IMF is expected to consider the staff report on the 2014 Article IV consultation in late January 2015. The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality and constructive cooperation.”