Zeid calls for action after surge in “stunningly vicious attacks” on people with albinism in East Africa

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday expressed revulsion at a recent surge in violent attacks against people with albinism in several East African countries. In the past six months, at least 15 people with albinism in Tanzania, Malawi and Burundi were abducted, wounded, killed or subjected to attempted kidnappings, including three such incidents in the past week alone.

“These attacks are often stunningly vicious, with children in particular being targeted,” Zeid said. “As a result, many people with albinism are living in abject fear. Some no longer dare to go outside, and children with albinism have stopped attending school because of the recent spate of assaults, murders and kidnappings.”

In Malawi alone, at least six incidents have been reported in the first ten weeks of this year, compared to four incidents recorded over the previous two years. In Machinga District, in the south of the country, where several kidnappings and killings have taken place, groups of men are reported to be roaming around hunting for people with albinism.

During the night of 3-4 March, a 14-year-old girl was abducted by two men from Kalombo village, in Machinga District, but managed to escape. The following night, a two-year-old boy called Chakupatsa Stanely was reportedly kidnapped in another village in Machinga called Murukhu. After the boy’s mother screamed for help one kidnapper was caught, but the other two escaped, possibly across the border into Mozambique and the child has now been reunited with his family.

Four other attacks targeting people with albinism have been documented in Malawi since the beginning of the year:

•    During the night of 21-22 January, Ida Thomas, a nine-year-old girl with albinism from Chalela Village in Chikhwawa district, was kidnapped while asleep at her aunt’s house. She has not been found, but is believed to have been killed as her bedding was found covered with blood outside the house.

•    On 18 January, Malita Makolija, a 68-year-old woman with albinism from Masali village in Zomba District, went missing. The following day, her dismembered body was found near her home, buried next to an ant-hill, minus arms, legs and head.

•    On 16 January, two-year-old Ibrah Pillo was kidnapped from her home in Matindira, another village in Machinga District. She has not been seen since.

•    On 5 January, 11-year-old Mina Jeffrey was kidnapped during the night by three men, including an uncle, in Saiti village, also in Machinga, but managed to escape. Her uncle reportedly later said he had been promised the equivalent of USD 6,500 for her body. He appeared in court on 28 January in Liwonde, but the case was adjourned.

The situation has also been worsening in Tanzania. Last Saturday (7 March), a six-year-old boy, Baraka Cosmas Rusambo, was attacked in his home in Kiseta village, in Sumbawanga district. The attackers fled with his right hand after cutting it off with a machete. Baraka and his mother, who suffered serious head injuries, are both in hospital. The police have moved Baraka’s two siblings, who also have albinism, to a safer place and have arrested seven suspects, including Baraka’s father.

“Since January, two other incidents have been reported, including the attempted kidnapping of a four-year-old boy, and the atrocious killing of a one-year-old baby, Yohana Bahati, who was kidnapped from his home on 17 February and later killed, with his arms and legs hacked off,” Zeid said.

A total of eight attacks have been reported in Tanzania since August 2014, during which two people with albinism were killed; one was kidnapped and is still missing; two others sustained major injuries and had limbs cut off by attackers; one was gang-raped; and two managed to escaped from their kidnappers.

The High Commissioner stressed the importance of combatting impunity for crimes against people with albinism. “The ban on witchcraft imposed by the Tanzanian authorities in January is a step in the right direction, as is the conviction of four people in Tanzania over the 2008 killing of a woman with albinism,” he said. “However I am concerned at the death sentences pronounced by the Court and I hope Tanzania will maintain its moratorium on the death penalty.”

Zeid called on authorities to prevent attacks on people with albinism in all countries where they are occurring, bring to justice alleged perpetrators and ensure that redress and rehabilitation for survivors and their families are made a priority.

He said that attacks against people with albinism are also taking place in other African countries, including in Burundi, where 19 killings of people with albinism have been reported since 2008. The latest incident took place on 12 December 2014, when a man was found dead, with a leg hacked off. According to reports, 11 people have been arrested in relation to attacks against people with albinism in Burundi, of whom six escaped and one was convicted. The elaboration of a national policy to promote and protect the rights of people with albinism in Burundi has been proposed but not yet initiated.

“All over the world, people with albinism continue to suffer from discrimination and social exclusion,” the High Commissioner said, urging governments to do more to help them lead normal, productive lives. He highlighted the result of a recent study in Pakistan, which showed the multiple layers of human rights problems faced by people with albinism, including social rejection, medical and psychological problems, as well as confinement to poverty.

Source:: Zeid calls for action after surge in “stunningly vicious attacks” on people with albinism in East Africa

Categories: African Press Organization

Lake Chad: Striving to meet growing needs

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Violence in Nigeria is not only claiming lives and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in the country itself; it is spilling over into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, where the humanitarian situation is also deteriorating. Across the Lake Chad region, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is providing displaced people with food and household essentials and helping medical facilities to cope with the influx of casualties.

Months into the conflict, places such as Maiduguri, Yola and Gombe, in north-eastern Nigeria, have become home to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the violence. Some have settled in schools, government buildings and camps for internally displaced people. Others are staying with relatives and host families, putting additional strain on already impoverished communities.

“We are increasingly concerned about the impact of the conflict on thousands of families,” said Karl Mattli, head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria. “Many of those affected in north-eastern Nigeria have had to travel long distances to reach safety and are now struggling to meet their basic needs. The aid we’ve provided will improve their living conditions, but it’s not enough. More has to be done.”

Increased burden on host communities

Most of those arriving in Maiduguri in recent weeks were fleeing Baga, scene of heavy fighting about 220 kilometres away. “The vast majority could not afford to buy their own food or other essentials,” said Janet Angelei, an ICRC economic-security specialist working in Nigeria. They therefore had to rely on the solidarity and generosity of host communities, already struggling to make ends meet, and on humanitarian aid. Since December 2014, the ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross have delivered food and essential household items to 15,000 displaced people in Maiduguri, 17,000 in Yola, 6,000 in Gombe, 3,000 in Jos and 5,000 in Kano. Distributions are still ongoing in Maiduguri.

In addition, the lack of sanitary facilities and insufficient water storage capacity in Maiduguri’s camps contributed to the spread of acute diarrhoea among this vulnerable population. The ICRC built latrines and improved access to safe water by increasing the water storage capacity in five camps, thereby benefiting more than 3,000 people.

Many families have been split up by the conflict, as they had to flee in different directions and many children became separated from their parents. ICRC and Nigerian Red Cross staff have registered unaccompanied minors in internally displaced communities in Yola, Maiduguri, Jos and Kano and worked with parents wishing to report their children missing. The number of children waiting to be reunited with their parents is growing. The ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross will spare no efforts to reunite dispersed family members.

Surgical and medical assistance

The ICRC supported the authorities in upgrading Mala Kachala primary health-care centre in Maiduguri and training staff there. Over 100,000 patients now enjoy improved health care. The ICRC has also donated medical supplies to various hospitals in Potiskum, Damaturu and Maiduguri to treat people injured in the fighting and bomb blasts in the area in recent months.

The ICRC surgical team, working alongside local medical staff, operated on 38 patients at the Federal Medical Centre in Azare, as well as seven patients in Jos State Hospital, following bomb blasts in Bauchi and Yobe in November 2014.

Visiting detainees

In 2014, the ICRC visited people held in connection with the armed violence in more than 20 detention facilities. ICRC staff assessed detainees’ treatment and living conditions, and shared its findings in full confidentiality with the authorities. In-kind assistance was provided where necessary.

Impact on neighbouring countries

Thousands of people have now crossed into neighbouring countries in search of safety. The ICRC has stepped up its assistance to those affected by violence not only in Nigeria itself, but also in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Niger: Food for 45,000 people

Among those fleeing the violence in north-eastern Nigeria are tens of thousands who have found refuge across the border, in the Diffa area of Niger. In 2014, some 45,000 benefited from ICRC food aid there. Some 11,000 of them also received other essential goods, such as blankets, mats, clothes and mosquito nets. Thousands more have received ICRC aid in the first few months of 2015.

The ICRC also delivered medical and surgical supplies and equipment to Diffa regional hospital, to ensure that war-wounded patients received the care they needed.

Chad: Helping children trace their parents

Those fleeing the violence in Nigeria often had to leave their homes in a hurry. This resulted in families being separated, sometimes across borders. In this situation, children are extremely vulnerable. Working closely with the Red Cross of Chad, the ICRC has set up two stations in Chad where people can make free phone calls to their relatives. More than 2,000 such calls have been made so far, allowing family members to get back in touch.

In Chad, the ICRC has also:

• registered 46 unaccompanied minors and is working on tracing their parents in order to reunite them;

• visited 200 people arrested in connection with the violence;

• trained some 100 judiciary police officers in international humanitarian law in relation to arrest, detention, and the use of force and firearms;

• provided training in international humanitarian law to several presidential guard contingents about to be sent to the Lake Chad region.

From mid-February, the fighting spread across the Lake Chad region and spilled over into Chad itself. The ICRC quickly stepped in and provided a war-wounded kit, containing approximately one tonne of medical supplies, to Bagassola hospital.

Cameroon: Preparing to meet basic needs

In Cameroon, needs are also growing. ICRC teams are preparing relief efforts to meet the basic needs of displaced and host communities in the far north of the country. The ICRC has also:

• trained Cameroon Red Cross volunteers to support the ICRC’s efforts to restore contact between family members separated by the conflict, some of whom have sought refuge in Minawao camp;

• visited detainees in Maroua prison, in the north of the country, to assess their conditions and treatment.

The ICRC is also pursuing its dialogue with Cameroonian security forces operating in the north with a view to improving their knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law.

Source:: Lake Chad: Striving to meet growing needs

Categories: African Press Organization

EU-Africa B2B Forum: First high level B2B event for the African and the European private sector

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (http://www.eu-africa-cc.org) is pleased to invite stakeholders to the 1st edition of its EU-Africa B2B Forum planned on 06 – 08 May 2015 in Mons (Belgium), in partnership with Euronews as main media partner.

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Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/150310euacc.jpg

This high level Business-to-Business (B2B) event aims to bring together business professionals to discuss mutual opportunities, expectations and needs. Over five hundred (500) participants are expected for each day. The EU-Africa B2B Forum will enable business contacts between professionals from African and European private sectors, but also between European businesses themselves.

Registrations and exhibition stand bookings are open: http://www.eu-africa-b2b.com

The EU-Africa B2B Forum has also partnered to this year European Business Summit: Forty-five (45) African Business Leaders will have a privileged access to the European Business Summit on 06 May: http://www.ebsummit.eu

B2B meetings will take a predominant part of this event but the EU-Africa B2B Forum will also offer sessions for investment pitches and on key topics such as Energy, ICT, Mining & Raw Materials, Agro-business, Rail & Road, Business Law and Tourism.

Latest Agenda: www.eu-africa-b2b-forum

Private sector organizations from more than fifteen African and ACP countries have been invited, including: South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Benin, Cape Verde, Senegal, Madagascar, Morocco, Uganda, Angola, South Africa, etc.

High-level organizations, such as the European Commission, the African Union, the European Investment bank, as well as the African Development bank have also been invited to discuss opportunities and challenges for “Doing Business with Africa”.

The second day of the forum (08 May) will focus on the Tourism industry. The idea is to put in the spotlight a sector that brings benefit to different parts of the African private sector where the informal sector is still important. On this point, Serguei Ouattara, President of the EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce said: “We believe that the development of a sustainable tourism industry in Africa can be a powerful engine for economic growth and job creation, and can stimulate the development of other sectors.”

The EU-Africa B2B Forum will take place in Mons, the Belgian city that is this year European Capital for Culture.

The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce (EUACC) is headquartered in Brussels since 2012. The EUACC’s mission is to promote the development of the African private sector and to encourage win-win and sustainable business partnerships between the European and African private sectors.

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

Source:: EU-Africa B2B Forum: First high level B2B event for the African and the European private sector

Categories: African Press Organization

Public procurement in Africa benefitting family farmers and schools / Innovative partnership operational in five countries

ROME, Italy, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An innovative partnership spanning five African countries is providing important lessons on how governments can procure food for public institutions, such as schools, directly from small-scale family farmers. Modelled on Brazil’s achievements in fighting hunger and poverty, the Purchase from Africans for Africa programme (PAA Africa) helps promote local agricultural production while also improving livelihoods and nutrition.

PAA Africa is implemented by Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal with technical leadership and expertise from FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP). Now entering its third year, the programme is yielding promising results as detailed in a recently released report.

As the PAA Africa programme shows, in developing countries the purchasing of produce from family-farmers – often among the most marginalized groups – can contribute towards government efforts to combat rural poverty.

“Public purchasing from local producers adds value to local markets by integrating small-scale family farmers and by channelling demand – in this case from schools – for their produce, contributing to food security and diversity,” said Florence Tartanac, of FAO’s rural infrastructure and agro-industries division.

FAO provides technical assistance for governments’ planning and policy aspects, while its experts work with family farmers to help them achieve sustainable gains in agricultural productivity, as well as improve their harvesting and post-harvest techniques – including the construction of silos – leading to better quality produce and less loss and waste.

Financial support for the work comes from the Brazilian government and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Promoting inclusive policies

“Public purchasing from local farmers could promote local diversified production and value chains, ensure that students have regular access to food, and over the longer term increase human capital through higher school attendance and the better learning that results when children are well-fed,” said Tartanac.

For instance, in Niger, the government decided to target family farmers to replenish the national cereal reserve, creating a 10 percent quota for local procurement from small farmers’ organizations.

In the same manner, government could target local family farmers to supply part of the food demand of other public institutions such as schools and hospitals.

Noteworthy results

The around 5,500 small-scale family farmers who have participated in the PAA Africa programme so far have been able to boost their productivity by 115 percent. This was largely thanks to better access to agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilizers, and to the use of new farming techniques acquired in PAA Africa trainings, such a combining legume and cereal crops in the same plots.

Despite being responsible for producing 80 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s food supply, small-scale farmers – particularly women – often struggle with the inefficiencies of local food systems and lack of inclusive market access.

The programme was able to guarantee markets for an average of 37 percent of the food produced, helping farmers generate income over and above their own food requirements.

Part of the farmers’ improved output is used to supply high quality food for use in school feeding programmes. During the programme’s first two years, some 1,000 tons of locally procured food was used to regularly provide school meals for around 128 000 students in 420 different schools. And through PAA Africa, WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) has been able to test diverse models of direct procurement from family farmers’ organizations.

Combining social protection and agriculture

As with the Brazilian Zero Hunger initiative which inspired it, the PAA Africa programme shows how integrating agricultural interventions with social transfers (social safety nets) for poverty reduction can help promote the productive inclusion into the market of subsistence farmers who already have some social and agricultural potential.

For PAA Africa this kind of integration can also increase the impact of local food purchases on participants’ livelihoods and help build sustainable rural development models, by coherently combining agricultural interventions, local food purchases and social protection.

In Senegal, for example, the programme targeted the most vulnerable in a food deficit region – farmers hard-hit by recent droughts. These farmers received not only inputs such as rice seeds and trainings, but also found through PAA Africa a predictable and guaranteed market for a share of their production.

PAA Africa is also an example of South-South cooperation, an approach to development built on the sharing of knowledge, experiences and technology among countries in the global South.

FAO is exploring multiple approaches of institutional procurement programmes through a series of case studies, including “The Case of Brazil”.

Source:: Public procurement in Africa benefitting family farmers and schools / Innovative partnership operational in five countries

Categories: African Press Organization

Data centres – the world’s greatest energy guzzlers

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Data centres have for years been known to be excessive consumers of power, consuming up to 3% of all global electricity production, and roughly ten times more per square metre than the average office. Previously, energy efficiency wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of an information technology (IT) organisation’s priority list, but rising power costs, and an ongoing need for more hardware and equipment as well as booming data consumption is changing the way data centre operators are planning and running their facilities.

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Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1814 (Peter Greaves, Aurecon’s Expertise Leader, Data & ICT Facilities)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1813 (Data Centre Concept Stage BIM)

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1812 (MTN Innovation Centre, South Africa)

This interview with Peter Greaves – Aurecon’s Expertise Leader, Data & ICT Facilities (http://www.aurecongroup.com), explores why data centres consume so much energy; how design principles can help minimise a data centre’s energy needs; dealing with load-shedding; and possible future trends that may help reduce energy consumption.

As the uptake of data centres increases globally, there are rising concerns around the availability of electricity to support this trend. Why do data centres consume so much energy?

Data centres are complex environments that have been created to house IT equipment. Within these, the primary driver of energy consumption is the IT equipment itself. The IT equipment that supports a data centre includes communication systems, storage systems and other IT systems such as processors, server power supplies, network infrastructure and hardware, computers, Uninterrupted Power Supply and connectivity systems.

Most of the energy that is consumed within a data centre needs to pass through various stages of distribution before it can be used by IT systems. This energy is converted to heat, which is why these facilities require a significant amount of cooling.

As server densities continue to rise, cooling systems are under increased pressure in order to keep IT equipment and servers cool enough for them to operate efficiently. If temperatures or the humidity is too high, IT equipment can be damaged and tape media errors can occur.

There are a number of opportunities available that can help IT organisations and data centre developers optimise their energy consumption. What do these include?

Examples of these opportunities are the virtualisation and the use of ARM-based processors, which are designed to perform a smaller number of types of computer instructions so that they can operate at a higher speed. This provides outstanding performance at a fraction of the power. The technological development of both these options is making them a viable solution, but they are still outside of the remit of most data centre developers.

Good practical management of data centre space is still a suitable, basic way of reducing energy consumption. Making use of aisle containment systems, installing blanking panels into unused rack slots and providing brushed grommets into raised floor penetrations are all simple, yet effective energy saving methods that can be implemented but they are still forgotten in many smaller facilities.

Implementing aggressive power usage effectiveness (PUE) targets will also drive more energy saving initiatives and improvements within data centres. New facilities will find it easier to implement PUE targets as high efficiency equipment can be selected to reduce parasitic load requirements.

Implementing low PUE targets, such as energy efficient lighting, in existing facilities is also achievable, but it takes more financial backing and careful planning to realise. When equipment needs to be replaced, more energy efficient options can also be chosen, for example.

Cooling systems in data centres seem to be the largest power guzzler. Do you believe that more data centres could be using natural cooling and night cooling opportunities to save energy?

Free cooling opportunities are possible in many locations, including in South Africa, especially if the air temperature that is supplied is in line with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines (18°C-27°C).

With supply air temperatures of up to 27°C, we need outside air temperatures at 25°C or less in order to get significant benefits from free cooling. Data centre managers then need to decide whether they are going to use direct or indirect free-cooling. I tend to prefer indirect free-cooling via a heat wheel or heat exchanger as outside air contaminants or humidity levels do not restrict the use of free-cooling.

There’s definitely more opportunities to use this type of indirect free-cooling in certain areas of South Africa, particularly where the temperature falls below 19°C and the humidity is below 60 RH (relative humidity) for more than 2 500 hours per year.

Is running a data centre at a higher ambient temperature (than has been the norm to date) a practical option to reduce energy consumption that is needed for cooling?

Operators are still concerned about the efficiency of their data centres when they walk into a hot aisle. This perception, however, is gradually changing and people are becoming used to the idea that a hot aisle isn’t necessarily a problem.

Warmer data centres do pose a health and safety concern because anyone working in elevated temperatures cannot work for extended periods. Health and safety in warmer data centres can be managed by limiting the need to access the hot aisle, either through use of specific chimney type racks, or arranging all connections and operator works to be located in the cold aisle.

Elevated temperatures need some form of aisle containment in order to achieve optimal efficiency and this can cause problems for code compliances. Installing a sprinkler and gas suppression system can be problematic because enclosed aisles can create an extra layer of infrastructure with the associated costs.

How will load shedding – if it is implemented on an ongoing basis – affect data centres?

Load shedding will drive a greater level of reliance on the backup generator systems that are installed in data centres.

Facility operators will need to carefully manage fuel delivery protocols and facilities that have better supply chain management systems will run less risk once fuel demand ramps up. On-site fuel quantities will be a key asset with longer storage requirements becoming commonplace to deal with any local disruptions.

If load shedding is generally implemented, facilities with cogeneration energy systems will become more viable as they will be able to reduce their cost base substantially in comparison to operators that are running exclusively on diesel supplies.

Older facilities that have standby rated generator systems will need to consider downgrading their generator capacity as they will effectively be running in prime or continuous operational modes, favouring facilities rated to the Uptime Institute (a standardised methodology used by data centres as a way to measure their performance and return on investment) as they will have been designed to cater for this requirement.

Can some activities in a data centre be timed to take place after peak hours?

It is possible for some users to schedule key processing tasks to occur on an overnight cycle, however, this is limited by the business type and probably isn’t a workable solution for most operators. Other options to consider include:

• Provision of energy storage systems may provide some ability to defer energy usage to off- peak periods;

• Larger battery strings could provide an alternative to diesel generation; however, continuous deep cycling of batteries will significantly reduce their lifespan, necessitating early change out;

• Use of capacitor banks may be a viable alternative to batteries. These banks could be charged overnight for progressive use throughout the day. As the level gets low, the engines could be kicked in to replace or supplement; and/or

• Cooling storage may be a more viable alternative to reduce the mechanical cooling loads; however, some form of free cooling would probably negate the benefit of this.

As data centres are largely run off UPSs, to what extent could solar power be used to keep the UPSs charged?

A lot of solar panels would be needed to reduce the amount of electricity from the grid that most data centres would need. The most likely application is to reduce the demand on the grid by a percentage.

Although solar energy could supply a data centre with energy, it would need to be ramped up to be usable by the UPS. At this time, I would be very hesitant to suggest that this is a potential solution due to the inherent unreliability of solar energy.

Big operators like Google, however, are making use of solar energy by establishing solar generation plants that offset their data centre usage on the grid. The use of small panel arrays coupled with battery storage could be used to reduce the parasitic loads on site that are non-critical such as fuel polishing, engine heaters, office air conditioning and lighting.

How do you think data centre design and development in South Africa will change in the future?

Data centres in South Africa are in the early, exciting stages of development. As such, owners and operators are in an advantageous position to integrate sustainable, and, importantly, cost-effective energy solutions such as wind energy to significantly drive energy costs down.

If we look at what big operators are achieving overseas, then we are in the ideal position to start designing and developing more sustainable facilities. For example, Google’s data centre in Hamina, Finland, is aiming to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral and it recently signed a deal with a wind farm operator in Sweden to power its Finnish facility with wind turbines.

Companies like Google are always looking for a competitive edge. They are looking for smarter solutions in their engineering for a variety of things including data centres, corporate headquarters and research and development facilities. Wind investment is just another competitive solution, but there are many more.

As South African data centres continue to develop, I predict that a growing number of operators will be more willing to tackle sustainability challenges head-on and incorporate more progressive solutions into their data centre designs and development.


• Data centres consume up to 3% of all global energy production

• There are several options to save energy in data centres: virtualisation, ARM based processors, good practical management of facilities and implementing power usage effectiveness (PUE) targets

• Cooling systems in data centres are large power guzzlers. Free cooling opportunities exist in many locations

• Data centre managers need to decide whether they are going to use direct or indirect free-cooling

• Load shedding will drive a greater level of reliance on backup generator systems. Data centre operators will need to manage fuel demands of generators

• Key processing tasks can be scheduled to take place after peak hours to save energy

• While solar energy could supply data centres with energy, it would need to be ramped up to be usable by Uninterrupted Power Supply systems

• Future trends in data centre design and development include integrating cost-effective, sustainable energy solutions

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

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Aurecon (http://www.aurecongroup.com) provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for public and private sector clients globally.

With an office network extending across 26 countries, Aurecon has been involved in projects in over 80 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas and employs around 7 500 people throughout 12 industry groups.

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Source:: Data centres – the world’s greatest energy guzzlers

Categories: African Press Organization

Delivering world-class public transport systems in the Middle East

DUBAI, UAE, March 10, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ahmed El-Essnawi, Highways and Transport Infrastructure Leader for the Middle East and North Africa, is responsible for delivering world-class services relating to highways and transport infrastructure to Aurecon’s clients in the Middle East and North Africa (http://www.aurecongroup.com), especially in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries. In this interview, we asked El-Essnawi about the unique challenges, trends and considerations of creating usable public transport systems in the Middle East.

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Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1708 (Based in Dubai, Ahmed El-Essnawi is responsible for growing Aurecon’s Highways and Transport Infrastructure business in the Middle East and North Africa)

How is the Middle East progressing with regard to public transport systems?

A decade ago, there weren’t public transport systems in the Gulf Countries. People used their own cars for transportation purpose. In 2005, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) started planning the Dubai Metro, which was officially launched on 9 September, 2009, making it the first city in the Gulf to adopt a metro public transport system.

Today, Dubai’s public transport system has evolved into much more than a metro system – it is a fully-integrated public transport system. There are now many different modes of transport in use in Dubai, and you’ll notice signs for pedestrians, cars, buses, trams and the metro.

Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest markets for future transport systems – I would estimate that their transport needs are much larger than any other Middle Eastern countries, making this growing market a major focus point for Aurecon and other transport services providers.

Encouraging the use of public transport

Public transport systems are still new in the Middle East and people are growing accustomed to using them efficiently. We need to make public transport more attractive to people so that they see it as a viable option. When a public transport system is implemented, consultancy groups such as Aurecon estimate what percentage of the city’s population will be using it and then focus on ways to increase that percentage. The traffic jams and congestion on the highways in Dubai are making it better for people to leave their cars at home and take a metro instead. Similarly, there’s a system where vehicle drivers pay a fee for crossing different regions in Dubai, known as Salik, so it’s becoming more expensive to travel by car.

What is currently holding the Middle East back in terms of creating even larger public transport systems?

Financial constraints are one of the biggest barriers. The Gulf area invested heavily in highway infrastructure over the past decade, but projects slowed down after the global financial recession in 2009. This year, things have started to pick up again and there has been renewed investment in these projects. Aurecon is working closely with local developers and authorities who are expanding their transport networks. In addition, unique challenges such as cultural considerations need to be carefully planned for and addressed.

The importance of cultural consideration

Culture is a factor that needs to be taken into account in the Middle East. Dubai is very open to different cultures, however will see that there is an exclusive carriage on the metro for women and children. When Saudi Arabia gets a public transport system, there will be a focus on cultural considerations. This needs to be allowed for when designing the transport systems, as well as the flow of pedestrians onto the trains and so forth.

How is Aurecon helping clients adapt to future transport needs?

Besides being able to plan and create integrated public transport systems, we are also able to adapt these plans and future-proof them for growth and expansion within the Middle East. From an economic perspective, city planners and governments need to forecast population growth. We are currently working with the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai and we have estimated that the road network will need to be increased by 2030. The cities in the Middle East continue to grow and, in Dubai specifically, this will mean more metro lines, the extension of existing metro lines, a wider network coverage for buses, water taxis and so on.

How can Aurecon’s experience benefit clients?

We offer a fully-integrated range of technical services from planning, preliminary and final design, engineering management and administration, through to the construction supervision of buildings, roads and highways, stormwater drainage systems, bulk earthworks, water supply and reticulation, sewerage drainage and treatment, water canals and bridges. We are basically a one-stop consultancy for everything that is needed to create transport systems.

Our team uses modern modelling techniques to test traffic data and flow. Our transport planners have been involved with some of the best public transport systems in the world, as well as right here in the Middle East, so we know what works.

Where we add value is being able to take a city, urban or development plan and put the transport systems in place to make it a liveable, efficient and sustainable environment for the people who need to move around within the area. Take the Palm Jumeirah, for example – over a million people live there and Dubai’s shoreline was increased by over 500km to accommodate these residences. A development such as this would not be able to function without a transportation master plan that would enable people to move around with ease. Aurecon is able to work with developers and planners to make sure the right road networks, with the right size corridors and infrastructure, are planned from the start.

Aurecon is excited to be at the forefront of many exciting transport developments in the Middle East. that will leave a legacy for the people of the Middle East.

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

Contact details

Jody Boshoff

Communications Manager

T: +27 12 427 2066 I F +27 86 606 0671 I M +27 83 275 2526

E: Jody.Boshoff@aurecongroup.com

About Aurecon

Aurecon (http://www.aurecongroup.com) provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for public and private

sector clients globally.

With an office network extending across 26 countries, Aurecon has been involved in projects in over 80 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas, and employs around 7 500 people throughout 12 industry groups.

Please visit www.aurecongroup.com for further information.

Source:: Delivering world-class public transport systems in the Middle East

Categories: African Press Organization