Latest News June 2, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Second International Ballet Stars Gala

    Nine world class ballet dancers from five countries – America, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Chile – will grace the stages of the Ethiopian National Theatre and City Hall for the second time in Addis Ababa with dazzling performances, bringing the beauty of ballet and artistic expression to Ethiopia. Melaku Belay of Fendika and Destino Dance Company will also showcase traditional Ethiopian and modern dances, including performances by disabled dancers.

    There will be different media opportunities for interviews and video coverage of rehearsals: 
    Interview opportunity and video taping of rehearsal for the ballet stars 
    Date: Tuesday, June 6, at 3:00 PM
    Venue: Ethiopian National Theatre 

    The Second International Ballet Stars Gala Performance for charity 
    Date: Wednesday, June 7, at 6:00 PM
    Venue: Ethiopian National Theatre 

    Performance for underprivileged children, students, dancers and guests 
    Date: Thursday, June 8, at 4:30 PM
    Venue: Addis Ababa City Hall 

    Please RSVP to Zelalem Befekadu (091-150-9522) or Ali Suleiman (091-150-9510).

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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  • FAO reaches milestone in massive famine-prevention campaign in Somalia

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is pushing forward with a massive campaign that has so far treated more than 12 million animals in less than three months, protecting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families who rely on their livestock's meat and milk for survival.

    By mid-July, FAO will have reached 22 million animals, benefiting over 3 million people.

    “Saving animals saves human lives and livelihoods. When animals are weakened by drought, they stop producing milk or die which means people go hungry and families are pushed out of self-reliance,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Somalia

    Around 3.2 million people in Somalia are on a hunger knife-edge. The majority live in rural areas and livestock such as goats, camels, sheep and cattle are their main source of food and income.

    “What we have heard again and again from displaced people in camps is that when they lost their animals, everything collapsed. It is a steep, long climb for them to get back on their feet again. We have stepped up our response to reach families before that happens,” Trenchard said, adding: “Livelihoods are their best defence against famine”.

    FAO is deploying 150 veterinary teams across Somalia to treat goats and sheep as well as cattle and camels – up to 270,000 animals each day. The teams are made up of local Somali veterinary professionals.

    Simple, cost-effective care
    Livestock badly weakened by the lack of feed and water are highly susceptible to illnesses and parasites but are too weak to withstand vaccination. As  part  of  an  integrated response program to  improve  the  conditions  of livestock, animals  are treated with multivitamin boosters, medicines that kill off internal and external parasites, deworming, and other treatments to fight respiratory infections.

    The simple and cost-effective care being provided by the FAO vet teams is reinforcing animals' coping capacity and keeping them alive and productive.

    FAO's livestock campaign in Somalia is being supported mainly thanks to generous funding from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) with important contributions from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). FAO has also mobilized some of its own resources to back the effort.

    Through its Famine Prevention and Drought Response Plan, FAO is delivering large-scale, strategic combinations of assistance to prevent famine in Somalia. In addition to livestock treatments, this includes giving rural families cash for food purchases, helping communities rehabilitate agricultural infrastructure, and providing farmers with vouchers for locally-sourced seeds along with tractor services that reduce their labour burden.    

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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  • Orientation workshop for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan Stakeholders concluded in Juba

    A two-day orientation and advocacy workshop on the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) concluded sessions on Thursday at Juba Regency Hotel. The workshop drew participants from the civil society, women and youth groups, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, Strategic Defense and Security Review Committee, and the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing Technical Committee.

    Addressing the opening session, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chief of Staff, His Excellency, Ambassador Berhanu Kebede, lauded the role of the civil society in the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). “This orientation workshop will play a very important role in training and will also provide an opportunity for you to play a role in the implementation of the agreement,” said Ambassador Berhanu Kebede

    He further explained that the orientation workshop “aims to equip all of you with a more robust understanding of the agreement considering the recurring challenges we face in its implementation. We hope it will also contribute in empowering you to effectively participate, advocate, and strategically engage all the parties and other stakeholders to ensure the full implementation and ultimately the realization of enduring peace, stability and democracy in the Republic of South Sudan.”

    Chairperson of the Civil Society Alliance representative Mr. Akuoch Ajang Nyanhom urged all stakeholders to be the ambassadors of peace and that they should work hard to disseminate the peace agreement to the grassroots through civic education.

    UNDP representative, Mr. Lealem Berhanu Dinku stated that “the key focus of this workshop is to enhance the functional knowledge and orientation of civil society organizations to influence policy dialogue, agenda-setting and decision-making processes in the ARCSS transitional mechanisms.”  He reiterated UNDP’s commitment to partner with the civil society, adding that “We shall continue to work with you in your pursuit for peace and development because UNDP strongly believes that there can be no peace without development and no development without peace”.

    Addressing the closing session, JMEC Deputy Chairperson Ambassador Lt General Augostino Njoroge emphasized the importance of ARCSS for peace in South Sudan “the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan is a foundation stone upon which sustainable peace can be built in this county. For this to happen the civil society must collectively and continuously advocate the rights of the ordinary citizens without fear or favor, and be a watchdog against violations of human rights.”  He urged the participants to educate the population on their rights and responsibilities and hold leaders accountable.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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  • EU-African Union Joint Communiqué on the Implementation of the Paris Agreement

    The European Union and the African Union reaffirm their strong commitment to full implementation of the Paris agreement, and call on all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015. Ahead of the COP23 in November they pledge to work together to finalise the Paris Agreement work programme. Climate change and renewable energy will figure on the agenda of the upcoming Africa-EU Summit in Abidjan on 29/30 November. This will be an opportunity to confirm the strong solidarity with those most vulnerable to climate change and the determination to work together to build strong and sustainable economies and societies resilient to climate change. The European Union and the African Union reaffirm their commitment to continuing to address the adverse effects of climate change on human and animal health, natural ecosystems and other social and economic impacts that threaten our developmental gains as a global community.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of European Union Delegation to the African Union.

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    European Union Delegation to the African Union
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  • MFA Press Statement: Appointment of Ambassador to Japan and Non-Resident Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco

    The Government has appointed Mr Lui Tuck Yew as Singapore’s Ambassador to Japan, and Mr George Goh Ching Wah as Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. 

    Mr Lui Tuck Yew was Minister for Transport from 2011 to 2015 and concurrently Second Minister for Defence in 2015. He was Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts from 2009 to 2011 and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012. Mr Lui was first elected Member of Parliament in 2006. He served as Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts until 2009.

    Prior to joining politics, Mr Lui was Chief Executive Officer in the Housing and Development Board from 2005 to 2006. From 2003 to 2005, he was Chief Executive in the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and concurrently Deputy Secretary (Land) in the Ministry of Transport. In 1999, Mr Lui was appointed Chief of Navy, a position he held till 2003. 

    Mr Lui graduated from Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1983 with a degree in Chemistry. In 1993, he obtained a Master in International Relations from the Fletcher School, Tufts University.  Mr Lui attended the Command Course at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in 1996.

    Mr George Goh Ching Wah is the co-founder and Group Executive Chairman of Ossia International Limited and Executive Chairman of Internet Technology Group Limited. He is also concurrently the Deputy Chairman of Pertama Holdings Limited. 

    Mr Goh has also founded seven listed and private companies. Among his many appointments, he was Executive Chairman of VGO Corporation Limited from 2002 to 2006, Executive Chairman of SGL Capital Investment Management Limited from 2005 to 2010, and International Chairman of Rebel Sport Limited from 1998 to 2001 and United Envirotech Limited from 2004 to 2008.

    In 2015, Mr Goh and his wife co-founded Border Mission Limited, a charity organisation that helps and supports the poor and needy in Singapore, the Himalayan region, and developing countries.  

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Singapore.

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  • US Intent to Withdraw from Paris Agreement no excuse for delays in South Africa

    President Donald Trump announced last night that he would begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the historic Paris Agreement, the world’s first global plan to address climate change.

    The historic agreement, approved in December 2015, commits nearly 200 countries to pursue all efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C to stave off some of the worst impacts of a warming planet.

    Even in a developing country like South Africa it is becoming clear that the transition to a low carbon society is inevitable. Shifts in international geopolitics will only determine the pace of that transition and at what level temperatures will peak.

    The US withdrawing from the Paris agreement will delay the transition and could lead to temperatures peaking at higher levels, with concurrent climate change impacts on millions of people, but it cannot stop the economic transformation that is already underway.

    Ramping up South African efforts to combat climate change will also help to address our development challenges through building new industries in the low carbon sector and increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities to extreme weather events and other climate change impacts.


    Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa: “The onus is now stronger than ever for South Africa to take control of its own destiny and to plan and implement a just transition to a low carbon economy. We know that per unit of power new solar and wind power stations now offer electricity at cheaper rates than new coal power stations – no decision made in another capital should undermine our commitment to our nation’s future wellbeing.”

    Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Practice Leader: “The Paris Agreement is the world’s collective response to tackling climate change. But the transformative power of the Paris Agreement lies in the targets that it triggers, and nations must hold each other accountable for their promises.

     “Fortunately, the Paris Agreement is bigger than any one nation or any one government. We can still achieve the promise of Paris, but we have no time to lose. Countries around the world must seize the opportunity to unleash this potential, invest in renewable energy that eliminates harmful carbon pollution, and build economies that are more resilient, inclusive and prosperous.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

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  • UN human rights chief urges repeal of repressive NGO law in Egypt

    The United Nations human rights chief today urged Egyptian officials to repeal a new law on non-governmental organizations, saying that it “further tightens the noose” around NGOs trying to hold the Government to account for human rights obligations.

    Law 70 of 2017, which was enacted on 24 May, requires all NGOs to work in line with the Government's development and social welfare plans or face jail time.

    “The crucial function of these NGOs – to hold the State accountable for its human rights obligations – has been severely hampered already through asset freezes, travel bans, smear campaigns and prosecutions,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said. “This new law further tightens the noose.”

    The law also requires civil society groups to report all information on their funding, activities and programmes to authorities, and to seek permission for conducting surveys and any other activities.

    The latest law replaces Law 84 of 2002, which Mr. Zeid said was “already repressive.” In recent years, hundreds of civil society groups were dissolved or had their assets frozen under this legislation.

    More than 37 Egyptian NGO workers and leaders have been accused of “illegal receipt of foreign funding” and “working without legal permission,” according to the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR). None of them have been officially charged.

    The revised law “places such tight restrictions on civil society that it effectively hands administration of NGOs to the Government,” Mr. Zeid said.

    He added that while national security is a consideration in Egypt, “muzzling” civil society is not the solution.

    “Civil society and media oversight of the Government are essential elements of a strong and stable society, where grievances can be openly aired. Muzzling dissent can only lead to further instability,” he warned. 

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

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  • IMF Staff Team Completes Review Mission to the Central African Republic
    • The IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on economic and financial policies that could support approval of the second review under the ECF
    • Growth in 2017 is projected at 4.7 percent, assuming the ongoing dialogue with armed groups helps to reduce violence, and public and private investment rebound
    • Average inflation is projected to decline to 3.8 percent in 2017, supported by increased food supply.

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Samir Jahjah, visited Bangui from May 26 – June 1, 2017, to finalize discussions in the context of the second review of the program supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The arrangement for an amount of SDR 83.55 million, US$116 million, was approved by the IMF Executive Board on July 20, 2016. Consideration of the report on the second review by the IMF Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for July 2017.

    At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Jahjah issued the following statement:

    “The IMF staff team and the Central African Republic authorities held discussions on recent economic developments in the Central African Republic and progress made in implementing the program supported by the ECF.

    “The team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on economic and financial policies that could support approval of the second review under the ECF. The country's economic program is broadly on track. All quantitative performance criteria were met. The implementation of the program’s structural benchmarks is broadly on track. Looking forward, the government remains committed to taking any measures necessary to achieve its key objectives in the Fund supported program, including stepping up social spending, scaling up public investment, and increasing domestic revenue.

    “Deterioration in the security environment disrupted trade, agriculture and mining in the last quarter of 2016, pushing growth for 2016 down to 4.5 percent, slightly lower than initially programmed, and inflation is estimated at 4.6 percent. Growth in 2017 is projected at 4.7 percent, assuming the ongoing dialogue with armed groups helps to reduce violence and destruction of property, and public and private investment rebound. Private sector development will hinge on the government’s actions to streamline excessive para-fiscal taxes, create a level playing field by eliminating ad hoc exemptions, and clear outstanding government arrears to small and medium-sized enterprises. Average inflation is projected to decline to 3.8 percent in 2017, supported by increased food supply.

     “The IMF team urged the authorities to maintain and step up the reform momentum in improving domestic revenue mobilization and expenditure management, and limit borrowing – including of highly concessional loans – to safeguard debt sustainability. Specifically, the team discussed with the authorities measures to rationalize the tax system; streamline extra budgetary levies; strengthen revenue administration; address customs revenue shortfalls; enhance reporting on budget execution; and accelerate clearance of domestic arrears, especially of social debt.

    The team met with President Touadéra, Minister of Finance Dondra, Minister of Economy, Plan and Cooperation Moloua, National Director of BEAC Chaibou, and other senior officials, and development partners. The team thanks the authorities for their hospitality, collaboration, and quality discussions.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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  • Attack against UNAMID Peacekeepers in Darfur

    The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack on African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers by an unidentified group in a carjacking incident in Nyala, South Darfur State on 31 May 2017. One Nigerian peacekeeper was killed in the attack.

    The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim, as well as to the people and Government of Nigeria and to UNAMID. 

    The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Sudan to swiftly conduct a full investigation into the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNAMID and called on all parties in Darfur to cooperate fully with the mission.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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    United Nations - Security Council
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