Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the postponement of Elections in Nigeria

NEW YORK, February 9, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General notes the decision of the Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission to postpone the general elections, initially scheduled for 14 February 2015. He urges the electoral authorities to take all necessary measures, such as the rapid distribution of the remaining Permanent Voter Cards, to enable all eligible citizens, including those displaced, to exercise their right to vote in a timely manner. This is imperative for ensuring a credible, free and transparent election.

Yesterday, 7 February 2015, the Secretary-General spoke by phone to President Goodluck Jonathan. Earlier this week on 2 February 2015, the Secretary-General also spoke to opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari.

In his conversations, the Secretary-General encouraged both President Jonathan and opposition candidate Buhari to respect the Abuja Accord they willingly adopted and which commits them to non-violence, peace and tolerance during the elections.

He looks to Nigeria’s authorities to uphold their commitment to ensure a violence-free election and put in place adequate security measures so that citizens across the country are able to exercise their civic duty safely and without fear.

The Secretary-General hopes that the forthcoming elections will meet the high expectations of the Nigerian people and the international community. The successful conduct of these polls would strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and enable the country to continue to play a leading role in the promotion of regional peace and security.

Source:: Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the postponement of Elections in Nigeria

Categories: African Press Organization

U.S. Condemns Terrorist Activities by Boko Haram in Cameroon and Niger

WASHINGTON, February 9, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Marie Harf

Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

February 6, 2015

The United States condemns the recent terrorist acts by Boko Haram in Cameroon and Niger in the strongest terms. Boko Haram has perpetrated countless unprovoked attacks on men, women, and children in their homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses. Their brutality and barbarism know no bounds. We condemn the horrific and barbaric actions of these groups that continue to show total disregard for the sanctity of human life.

Boko Haram must not be allowed to continue brutally terrorizing innocent civilians in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. This unchecked killing must stop. The United States stands firmly with the governments and peoples of this region in the face of this threat. We are responding to requests from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. We continue to provide support to governments in the region, including through intelligence-sharing, and are increasing our support for those efforts.

The United States is committed to supporting the efforts of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF). We commend efforts by the African Union and Lake Chad Basin Commission to bring together the MNJTF and we will continue to work with our regional and international partners to make it an effective force.

Source:: U.S. Condemns Terrorist Activities by Boko Haram in Cameroon and Niger

Categories: African Press Organization

IMF Executive Board Concludes First Review of the Precautionary and Liquidity Line for Morocco

RABAT, Morocco, February 9, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On February 6, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the first review of Morocco’s economic performance under a program supported by a 24-month Precautionary Liquidity Line (PLL) arrangement.

The PLL was approved in July 2014 in an amount equivalent to SDR 3.23 billion (about US$5 billion or 550 percent of Morocco’s quota at the IMF). (See Press release No. 14/368). The access under the arrangement in the first year will be equivalent to SDR 2.9 billion (about US$4.5 billion), rising in the second year to a cumulative US$5 billion. Morocco’s first 2-year PLL arrangement was approved on August 2, 2012.

The Moroccan authorities have stated that they intend to treat the arrangement as precautionary, as they have done with the 2012 PLL, and do not intend to draw under the arrangement unless Morocco experiences actual balance of payments needs from a significant deterioration of external conditions.

The PLL was introduced in 2011 to meet more flexibly the liquidity needs of member countries with sound economic fundamentals and strong records of policy implementation but with some remaining vulnerabilities.

Following the Executive Board discussion on Morocco, Mr. Naoyuki Shinohara, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the Board, made the following statement:

“Despite headwinds from external environment, decisive policy action by the authorities has helped in rebalancing Morocco’s economy and in reducing fiscal and external vulnerabilities. Nonetheless, significant external risks remain and sustained implementation of reforms is essential to consolidate gains in macroeconomic stability and foster higher and more inclusive growth. The arrangement under the Fund’s Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), which the authorities treat as precautionary, has supported the authorities’ efforts by providing an insurance against those risks.

“The fiscal deficit declined in 2014 and reached the authorities’ objective of 4.9 percent of GDP. Commendable progress was made in subsidy reform with the removal of subsidies on all liquid petroleum products, while support to the most vulnerable was expanded. The new organic budget law is expected to strengthen the budgetary framework once comments from the constitutional council have been addressed. The parametric reform of the public pension system is urgent to ensure the viability of the system. Continued tax reform is also important to bolster the contribution of the fiscal sector to growth.

“The current account deficit contracted significantly in 2014 while the reserve position strengthened, benefiting mainly from the rise in newly developed export sectors and a positive terms-of-trade shock following the fall in international oil prices. To sustain these gains, structural reforms to enhance competitiveness continue to be a priority. A transition to a more flexible exchange rate regime would also help. The business environment has improved but much remains to be done to enhance transparency and governance. The new banking law is welcome to support the continued soundness of the banking sector. The labor market needs further reform to help reduce unemployment.”

Source:: IMF Executive Board Concludes First Review of the Precautionary and Liquidity Line for Morocco

Categories: African Press Organization

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS DAVID GRESSLY OF THE UNITED STATES AS DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

NEW YORK, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of David Gressly of the United States as his Deputy Special Representative for Operations and the Rule of Law in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Mr. Gressly succeeds Abdallah Wafy of Niger, who had served as Deputy Special Representative for Operations and the Rule of Law since 2013 and as Police Commissioner and Head of the Mission’s police component from 2010 to 2013. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Wafy’s dedicated service during the past five years.

Mr. Gressly has broad experience working in peacekeeping missions, having served most recently as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and as the United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

He also served as Regional Coordinator in the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). Prior to this, Mr. Gressly served for more than twenty years with the United Nations system, including as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel in Senegal.

Mr. Gressly holds a Master of Business Administration in International Finance from the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona (USA).

Born in 1956, he is married and has six children.

Source:: SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS DAVID GRESSLY OF THE UNITED STATES AS DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Categories: African Press Organization

IMF Staff Concludes Visit to the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

SAO TOME, Sao Tomé, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited São Tomé and Príncipe from January 30-February 06, 2015 to discuss recent economic developments and support the preparation of the 2015 budget by the newly-elected government. São Tomé and Príncipe’s medium-term economic program is supported by the IMF under a three-year, SDR 2.59 million (about US$4 million) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) [1] arrangement, which was approved by the IMF Executive Board on July 20, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/272). The second ECF review was completed on December 16, 2013.

The mission met with the Minister of Finance and Public Administration Americo Ramos, Central Bank Governor Maria do Carmo Silveira, senior government officials, representatives of the National Assembly and the donor community.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, the IMF Mission Chief for São Tomé and Príncipe, issued the following statement in São Tomé:

“Economic activity in 2014 remained strong. GDP growth is estimated at 4.5 percent, buoyed by higher foreign direct investment (FDI), even though donor-financed public investment projects slowed. Inflation has continued to recede following the peg to the euro in January 2010; reaching 6.4 percent at end-2014 (its lowest end-year rate in two decades). The Central Bank’s international reserves, estimated at 4.7 months of imports cover, remained at comfortable levels. Due to slippages in the first half of 2014, the domestic primary fiscal deficit reached 3.6 percent of GDP at the end of 2014, higher than anticipated under the program.

“The new government is committed to restoring fiscal discipline to maintain the credibility of the fixed exchange rate regime and also to create the necessary fiscal space to support the country’s much-needed public investment program. In this regard, the mission urged the new government to take steps, in the preparation of the 2015 budget, to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization and re-establish expenditure control (including strengthening public financial management) to correct the fiscal slippages in 2014. The IMF mission also re-emphasized the importance of continued reliance on grant and highly concessional financing as the new government seeks to ramp-up implementation of its public investment program. This is critical to mitigate São Tomé and Príncipe’s high risk of debt distress.

“The new government expressed interest in continuing program relations with the IMF. Discussions with the authorities will continue in the period ahead.”

[1]The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. It provides for a higher level of access to financing, more concessional terms, enhanced flexibility in program design, and more focused, streamlined conditionality. Financing under ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

Source:: IMF Staff Concludes Visit to the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

Categories: African Press Organization

Foreign Minister Steinmeier congratulates the new Tunisian Government

BERLIN, Germany, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (6 February) on the assumption of office of the new Tunisian Government:

Yesterday, the Parliament in Tunis approved by a large majority the new Government of the Republic of Tunisia which is formed of a broad coalition of political forces. This marks the successful conclusion of the process of democratic transition which began with the January 2011 revolution, and I would like to express my sincere congratulations to the Tunisian people on this occasion.

Germany will continue to act as a partner to Tunisia and will support the country in the implementation of further reforms as well as the upcoming phase of stabilising the economy. Within the framework of the European Union, too, Germany will work actively to encourage even closer cooperation with Tunisia. It is in all of our interests for the great achievements of Tunisia’s democratic transition to be safeguarded and for them to serve as an example for other countries in the region.

Source:: Foreign Minister Steinmeier congratulates the new Tunisian Government

Categories: African Press Organization