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Latest News April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Cable System connecting Africa and the Americas reaches a major milestone to create a new route for Internet traffic

    Taking a step closer to completing a valuable new route for the global telecommunications sector, Angola Cables (www.AngolaCables.co.ao) today announced the completion of the marine survey for the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), as well as the start of cable loading on the Angolan side of SACS. Marking an important milestone in the development of the globally relevant project (http://APO.af/UhdOd1), when completed, SACS will interconnect with the Monet cable system — connecting the United States and Brazil — and WACS, the West Africa Cable System.

    SACS is a 40 Tbps cable — 6,165 km in length — with four fibre pairs that will connect Angola to Brazil, linking Africa and the Americas. (Each fibre pair is capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths with a bandwidth of 100Gbit/s.)  Angola Cables is one of the 12 members of the consortium that manages WACS (and one of its largest shareholders), a cable system which provides carrier level services to operators in Angola and Sub-Saharan Africa across 11 countries. As a 14,530 km cable running from Yzerfontein (South Africa) to London (UK), WACS has four fibre pairs and includes 14 landing points, 12 along the western coast of Africa (including Cape Verde and Canary Islands) and two in Europe (Portugal and England).

    With the marine survey successfully completed, Angola Cables assures that the cable will be deployed in the best route, thus avoiding hazardous points, a crucial factor in ensuring longevity of SACS. Completion of the marine survey means that final manufacturing can be completed and any minor route and/or cable type adjustments can be fine-tuned based on the actual survey findings. With the loading of the Pre-Laid Shore End (PLSE) the construction of SACS is underway. For this aspect of the cable system, Angola Cables commissioned NEC Japan and contracted Ocean Specialists, Inc (OSI) to oversee the construction process, all to assure the highest levels of quality.

    “We have worked closely with our partners and suppliers to ensure the highest possible value of the SACS network for our customers,” said Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables. “As part of our global connectivity strategy, SACS will offer the first direct, high-capacity southern transatlantic connection.”

    SACS to be ready by the middle of 2018

    “These key milestones illustrate that the SACS cable is on target for completion as Angola Cables continues to build sales momentum for delivery of services on SACS by the middle of 2018. Increasingly, customers are turning to the southern transatlantic route for diversification and security. SACS, coupled with Monet and the existing WACS cable, provide unparalleled value for which we are seeing very high demand in the marketplace,” added Artur Mendes, Chief Commercial Officer for Angola Cables.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Angola Cables.

    Media contact: 
    Andrew Fletcher Cole 
    Atmosphere Communications 
    AndrewC@Atmosphere.co.za 
    Mobile: +27 (0)79 483 3208

    About Angola Cables: 
    Angola Cables (www.AngolaCables.co.ao) is a multinational telecommunications company founded in 2009, which operates in the wholesale market and whose core business is the commercialisation of capacity in international circuits for voice and data through Submarine Cable Systems. SACS and the Monet cable system will interconnect three continents (South America, North America and Africa) as well as a Tier III data centre  in Fortaleza to interconnect the cable systems. Angola Cables also runs Angonix, a neutral Internet Exchange Point located in Luanda, which interconnects global networks and content providers. Angola Cables also manages Angonap, a neutral data centre located in Luanda and the company’s traffic exchange point in Angola. For more information, visit www.AngolaCables.co.ao.

    About Ocean Specialists, Inc. (OSI): 
    OSI (http://OceanSpecialists.com) is a leading subsea cable consulting and advisory firm for telecommunications network solutions. OSI provides turnkey network development services for subsea fibre optic networks, ranging from commercial and economic feasibility analysis, to the planning, design, implementation and operations of their end-to-end components. OSI has completed over 200 subsea network projects across the Telecom, Oil & Gas and Scientific industries, in all regions of the world. For more information, visit http://OceanSpecialists.com. 

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  • Resident WHO Liaison officer pays courtesy visit to Foreign Secretary

    Dr. Bhupinder Aulakh, the new WHO (World Health Organisation) Liaison Officer, paid a Courtesy Call on the Seychelles’ Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Claude Morel, today at Maison Quéau de Quinssy. Dr. Aulakh, replaces, Dr. Humphrey Cyprian Karamagi, who was the Acting WHO Liaison Officer, since October 2015.

    After welcoming Dr. Aulakh and extending the appreciation of the Government of Seychelles, towards Dr. Humphrey for his service, Ambassador Morel, drawing on the long standing successful relationship that has existed between the WHO and the Government of Seychelles, reaffirmed the commitments of Seychelles to maintain the momentum of working closely with the organization. Since opening its office in Seychelles, in 1986, the WHO has supported many developmental projects in the Health sector in Seychelles. 

    As the fourth WHO Liaison Officer to Seychelles, Dr. Aulakh commended Seychelles for its successes in the Health sector and envisaged a fruitful collaboration, to especially address the different challenges. 

    Dr. Aulakh will be based at the WHO Country Office for Seychelles, Ministry of Health Compound, Mont Fleuri.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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  • Northeast Nigeria: Population movements and forced displacement continue into remote areas where people rely on aid to survive

    Violence and insecurity continue to force people from their homes in northeast Nigeria, where new waves of displaced are arriving in remote towns of Borno State. Nigerian refugees are also being forcibly returned from Cameroon, international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders says today.

    Over 11,300 people have arrived in Pulka, close to the Cameroonian border, since January, and this has brought the total population of the town to more than 42,000. The increase of the town’s population by one-third is placing further pressure on already overstretched resources to care for the displaced.

    In Banki, another remote town close to the Cameroonian border, MSF witnessed Nigerians who had sought safety in Cameroon being returned to their country by the Cameroonian military on several occasions in 2016 and 2017. “We had been living in Kolofata (Cameroon) for more than a year and one day they just decided to send people back to Nigeria without explanation. We did not ask them to return us to our country: they forced us. We didn’t have a choice”, explained a Nigerian refugee in Banki. Patients in Pulka also told MSF how they had left Cameroon for fear of being forcibly pushed back.

    In the isolated town of Rann, people continue to arrive on a daily basis and the town’s population has grown by at least 10,000 in the past three months. In Dikwa, a town in the northeast of Borno, more than 2,000 newly displaced were registered in the last two weeks of March alone.

    “Large movements of populations continue almost daily, due to attacks by Boko Haram, military operations and people searching for food and basic services”, explains Himedan Mohamed, head of mission for MSF in Nigeria.

    The people who arrive in the bigger towns of Pulka, Rann or Dikwa are mostly from areas inaccessible to humanitarian organisations. They are vulnerable, often in a poor state of health, and almost entirely dependent on aid. They cannot sustain themselves because the movement restrictions enforced by the military make farming almost impossible.

    These people face growing needs for shelter, food and water. If this is not addressed and people continue to arrive, the situation will quickly deteriorate even further”, says Gabriel Sánchez, MSF’s operational manager for Nigeria.

    With the exception of a few towns, most of the eastern countryside of Borno State remains out of reach for aid organisations due to insecurity. Aid agencies work largely in the capital, Maiduguri, and only a few are able to operate in a continuous manner in eastern Borno where assistance is needed the most.

    “People have absolutely nothing”, says Silas Adamou, MSF’s project coordinator in Rann. “They are living on only five litres of water per day in Rann and are forced to collect more from puddles.”

    MSF has been providing healthcare to people displaced by violence, as well host communities, in northeastern Nigeria since mid-2014. The organisation is currently managing 12 medical facilities in eight towns in Borno (Maiduguri, Dikwa, Monguno, Damboa, Gwoza, Pulka, Ngala and Benisheikh) and regularly provides care in an additional four locations. Elsewhere in the country, in places like Zamfara, Port Harcourt and Jahun, MSF continues to run extensive projects on child health and sexual and reproductive health, and also responds to medical emergencies such as meningitis and measles outbreaks. In the second semester of 2016, MSF teams in Borno undertook 175,877 outpatient consultations, vaccinated 146,650 children against measles, assisted 3,218 births and distributed food to 32,365 people.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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  • World Leaders Recommit to Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases, Citing Remarkable Progress Since 2012

    This week, leaders from governments, pharmaceutical companies and charitable organizations convened at a five-day summit in Geneva to pledge new commitments to the collective efforts to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The summit coincided with the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Fourth Report on NTDs, showing transformational progress against these debilitating diseases, and a commitment by the United Kingdom to more than double its funding for NTDs.

    The meeting comes five years after the launch of the London Declaration on NTDs (http://APO.af/5jKHBH), a commitment by the public and private sectors to achieve the WHO goals for control, elimination and eradication of 10 NTDs. In that time, billions of treatments have been donated by pharmaceutical companies and delivered to impoverished communities in nearly 150 countries, reaching nearly a billion people in 2015.

    NTDs are some of the oldest and most painful diseases, afflicting the world’s poorest communities. One in six people suffer from NTDs worldwide, including more than half a billion children. NTDs disable, debilitate and perpetuate cycles of poverty, keeping children out of school, parents out of work, and dampening hope of any chance of an economic future.

    New Report Shows Dramatic Progress

    A new report titled Integrating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Global Health and Development (http://APO.af/GaR2bN) by the WHO revealed that more people are being reached with needed NTD interventions than ever before. In 2015, nearly a billion people received treatments donated by pharmaceutical companies for at least one NTD, representing a 36 percent increase since 2011, the year before the launch of the London Declaration. As more districts, countries and regions eliminate NTDs, the number of people requiring treatments has decreased from 2 billion in 2010 to 1.6 billion in 2015.

    “WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees,” says WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan. “Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health.”

    The report detailed progress against each disease, citing countries and regions that are reaching control and elimination goals for specific NTDs. Highlights include:

    • Lymphatic filariasis (LF) racing toward finish line: In the last year, eight countries (Cambodia, Cook Islands, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Niue, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu) eliminated LF, and 10 other countries are waiting on surveillance results to verify elimination. Thanks to strong programs, the number of people globally requiring preventative treatment has dropped from 1.4 billion in 2011 to fewer than 950 million in 2015.
    • Fewest-ever cases of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, or sleeping sickness): In 2015, there were fewer reported cases of sleeping sickness than any other year in history, with fewer than 3,000 cases worldwide – an 89 percent reduction since 2000. Innovative vector control and diagnostic technologies, supported by increasing numbers of product development partnerships, are revolutionizing sleeping sickness diagnosis, prevention and treatment.
    • Eighty-two percent decrease in visceral leishmaniasis (VL) cases in India, Nepal and Bangladesh: Since 2008, cases of VL across India, Nepal and Bangladesh have decreased by 82 percent due to improvements in vector control, social mobilization of village volunteers, collaboration with other NTD programs and drug donations from industry partners.
    • Guinea worm disease nearing eradication: Cases of Guinea worm disease have reduced from an estimated 3.5 million in 1986 to just 25 human cases in 2016 in just three countries – Chad, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

    Global Donors Pledge Additional Support

    Governments and other donors announced new commitments at the summit to expand the reach and impact of NTD programs around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $335 million in grants over the next four years to support a diverse group of NTD programs focused on drug development and delivery, disease surveillance and vector control. The commitment includes $42 million to support The Carter Center’s guinea worm eradication initiative, as well as dedicated funding to accelerate the elimination of African sleeping sickness.

    “NTDs are some of the most painful, debilitating and stigmatizing diseases that affect the world’s poorest communities. That’s why we helped launch the London Declaration, a historic milestone that led to significant progress in treating and reducing the spread of NTDs and demonstrated the impact that the public sector, the private sector, communities and NGOs can have by working together,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    “Thanks to this partnership, these neglected diseases are now getting the attention they deserve so fewer people have to suffer from these treatable conditions. There have been many successes in the past five years, but the job is not done yet. We have set ambitious targets for 2020 that require the continued commitment of pharmaceutical companies, donor and recipient governments, and frontline health workers to ensure drugs are available and delivered to the hardest to reach people.”

    The Belgian government also pledged an additional $27 million, spread equally over the next nine years, toward the elimination of sleeping sickness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This amount will be matched for the next three years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, establishing a platform for increased collaboration between Belgium, the DRC and the broader NTD partnership.

    As part of its commitment to eliminating HAT, Vestergaard pledged to donate 20 percent of its insecticide-treated “tiny targets” used to control the tsetse flies that carry the disease, scaling over the next three years towards 100 percent as elimination nears.

    These commitments build on the UK Government’s announcement earlier this week, in which it pledged almost $450 million over 5 years to support NTD control and elimination efforts around the world.

    Industry Contributions Expand Scale and Reach of NTD Program

    Progress against NTDs has been enabled by the large-scale donation of medicines by 10 pharmaceutical companies. In the five years since the London Declaration, companies have donated over 7 billion treatments that, with the support of partners, now reach nearly 1 billion people every year. These donations, worth an estimated $19 billion from 2012 through 2020, greatly multiply the impact of donor investments; USAID estimates that each dollar invested in delivery leverages $26 worth of donated drugs.

    In a statement (http://APO.af/55buit) released today, industry leaders reaffirmed their 2012 pledge to do their part to beat these diseases, and encouraged other sectors to maintain their commitments as well.

    “The London Declaration is a powerful example of the impact of successful partnerships,” said Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai and an original signatory of the London Declaration. “By leveraging our resources and focusing on a common goal, we are already making unprecedented progress towards eliminating these horrific diseases. The work we are doing today is a long-term investment into a healthier and more prosperous future.”

    In addition to donations, pharmaceutical companies are working together and with research institutes to discover and develop new tools to prevent, diagnose and treat NTDs. A report (http://APO.af/YkMskp) released today by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations collected the full scope of industry investment in NTD R&D, including:

    • Sanofi and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) are developing a new oral drug candidate for HAT, fexinidazole, which would replace the current mixed oral-intravenous drug regimen. Fexinidazole could represent a therapeutic breakthrough which will support sustainable elimination efforts as per the WHO roadmap for 2020. The drug is expected to be submitted for regulatory approval later in 2017.
    • Several companies are working to develop pediatric formulations of existing NTD medicines, including Bayer (nifurtimox, for Chagas disease), Merck KGaA (praziquantel, for schistosomiasis), and Elea/Mundo Sano (who are working with DNDi to develop a second pediatric source of benznidazole, for Chagas disease), while Johnson & Johnson (mebendazole, for soil-transmitted helminths) developed a new chewable form of mebendazole, recently approved by the FDA, for children too young to swallow.
    • AbbVie, Bayer, Eisai, Johnson & Johnson and Merck KGaA are part of the Macrofilaricide Drug Accelerator Program, an initiative aimed at identifying and generating new drug compounds that can kill the adult worms that cause onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.
    • Bayer is working with DNDi to develop emodepside, an oral treatment for lymphatic filariasis and river blindness
    • Eisai is working with DNDi to develop ravuconazole, a new oral drug currently in clinical trials for Chagas disease, and is partnering with DNDi to develop ravuconazole in a new disease area, mycetoma.
    • GlaxoSmithKline and DNDi have agreed to jointly pursue the pre-clinical development of the two novel candidates for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis; the candidates were developed by a collaboration between GSK and the University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit, and the work was funded by Wellcome. The agreement for pre-clinical development will be conditional on signing an additional agreement. 
    • In 2015, Eisai, Shionogi, Takeda, AstraZeneca and DNDi launched the NTD Drug Discovery Booster (http://APO.af/bbHZQG), a multi-company effort to accelerate the discovery of new drugs for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. In 2016 they were joined by Celgene Global Health. Merck KGaA announced today that it will join the consortium.
    • Many companies – including AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Chemo, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Elea, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGaA, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Shionogi, and Takeda – have given DNDi and other non-profits access to their compound libraries and/or contribute scientific and technical expertise to DNDi and conduct pre-clinical and clinical studies to facilitate the development of new drugs to combat various NTDs.
    • Gilead is collaborating with the US Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health as well as multiple academic institutions to discover and develop novel antivirals for highly pathogenic infections and neglected/emerging viral diseases, including dengue fever. GS-5734, Gilead’s most advanced investigational agent, is currently being studied in Ebola survivors.

    Companies are also working with partners to solve supply chain problems, develop program strategies and build in-country capacity to ensure that drugs, tools and other interventions reach those who need them most. 

    Addressing the Challenges Ahead

    Though tremendous progress has been made in reducing the burden of NTDs, global control and elimination targets cannot be met without increased financial support, stronger political commitment and better tools to prevent, diagnose and treat the diseases. This week, partners from private philanthropy, affected country governments and cross-sector partnerships recommitted to leveraging their respective resources and expertise to fill critical gaps.

    Financial Resources

    Although nearly a billion people received NTD treatments in 2015, more funding is needed to ensure that NTD programs reach all people and communities affected by the diseases. WHO estimates that 340 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa could be covered by new investments of $150 million per year through the year 2020.

    In addition to government commitments, private philanthropy is helping to address these gaps by supporting drug delivery and surveillance programs, as well as research and development into new medicines, diagnostics and other health tools. The END Fund (www.END.org), founded shortly after the London Declaration, has raised over $75 million to target the five most common NTDs, helping to treat over 145 million people around the world.

    Political Commitment

    Strong leadership from affected countries is vital to sustaining progress against NTDs, particularly in the face of shifting economic climates and competing health priorities. Despite these challenges, some countries are increasing financing for NTD programs and integrating them into national health systems. Among other countries, Ethiopia has made significant strides in fighting trachoma by including progress against the disease as a target in its national health plan, providing significant domestic funding, participating in the Global Trachoma Mapping Project and training surgeons to conduct eye-lid surgeries to correct the effects of trachoma.

    “Ethiopia is fully committed to realizing ambitious, yet achievable, elimination targets for trachoma and other NTDs with proactive program coordination,” said H.E Professor Yifru Berhan Mitke, Ethiopian Minister of Health. “An increased direct program financial contribution by the government to NTDs, as high as 3 million USD by 2016, is a big step forward in alleviating the burden and stigma of these diseases.”

    New Tools and Innovations

    To meet control and elimination targets, more research and development is needed to provide NTD programs with improved tools to prevent, detect and treat the diseases. Promising new therapies are in the pipeline: A new three-drug regimen for LF known as triple therapy has the potential to dramatically accelerate the pace of elimination in affected countries, and is currently in large-scale safety trials in India.

    R&D organizations such as PATH and partnerships like DNDi and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund have catalyzed the development of better and more cost-effective tools. These innovations, which include new drugs and rapid diagnostic tests for sleeping sickness and river blindness, are especially critical in the low-resource settings most burdened by NTDs. Several new vector control tools are under development and being piloted to address the growing problem of diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitos.

    The Global Partners Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (http://APO.af/oloCnt) will be hosted by the World Health Organization on 19 April 2017. From 20-22 April, Uniting to Combat NTDs and the global NTD community will host the NTD Summit (http://APO.af/mEY60y), which will feature technical discussions on the best strategies to reach the NTD control and elimination goals. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases.

    Media contact:
    Nash Mepukori
    Global Health Strategies
    NMepukori@GlobalHealthStrategies.com
    +1 919 685 0364

    About Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases:

    Established in 2012, Uniting to Combat NTDs (http://UnitingToCombatNTDs.org) is a group of organizations committed to achieving the WHO's 2020 goal to control and eliminate 10 NTDs as laid out in in the London Declaration. By working together, Uniting to Combat NTDs aims to chart a new course toward health and sustainability among the world's poorest communities.

    The 10 diseases covered by the London Declaration include onchocerciasis (river blindness), Guinea worm disease, lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), blinding trachoma, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, leprosy, Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis and human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). To find out more about the work of Uniting to Combat NTDs and to learn more about NTDs, please visit our website (http://UnitingToCombatNTDs.org).

    About the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases:

    The London Declaration on NTDs (http://APO.af/OW0kNB), launched on 30 January 2012, is a joint commitment to control, eliminate or eradicate NTDs, signed by WHO, 13 pharmaceutical companies, donor and endemic country governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.

  • Freedom Park Exhibits at the World Trade Market Africa in Cape Town

    For the third time running, Freedom Park will be participating in the World Trade Market Africa (WTM) exhibition 2017. The event is taking place in Cape Town International Convention Centre from 19-21 April 2017. A team comprising of Outreach officials from Freedom Park will unpack elements of this historic National Heritage Destination at WTM Africa.

    WTM Africa is a vibrant, culturally diverse, business-to-business travel and tourism event, presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to South African, African and International travel professionals. Freedom Park elements speak to the national, continental and the international communities, hence WTM Africa would not have been the most appropriate for product exposure.   

    Through its industry networks, global reach and regional focus, WTM Africa creates personal and business opportunities providing customers quality contacts, content and communities.

    WTM Africa also provides a platform for organisations to launch new products, increase brand exposure, debate industry issues, and gather market intelligence; to generate new sales leads, strengthen existing relationships and most importantly, close new business. It is therefore ideal, that Freedom Park stands shoulder to shoulder with the world trade exhibitors at the WTM Africa.

    Enquiries: Naomi Madima on 012 336 4006/ 060 961 3851 or Tinyiko Baloyi on 079 873 8978

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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  • Regional forum on sustainable development set for May in Addis Ababa

    The 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD), in preparation for the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will be held in Addis Ababa from 16-19 May under the theme; “Ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity for all”.

    The ARFSD tracks progress in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the global fight to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity continues.

    In Africa, the SDGs are being implemented concurrently and in an integrated manner with the First 10-year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, Africa’s 50-year strategic framework for socio-economic transformation which seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.

    The 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 are mutually reinforcing and together emphasize the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable structural transformation and sustainable development at regional, sub-regional and national levels.

    “The regional forum also aims to keep all the stakeholders in Africa mobilized and engaged to strengthen their commitment to concerted action on the SDGs as well as garner international support to translate the SDGs and Agenda 2063 aspirations into measurable and shared prosperity that benefits everyone and our planet,” says Fatima Denton of the ECA’s Special Initiatives Division.

    The ARFSD is being held in the second year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and third year of implementation of Agenda 2063.

    “The Forum provides an opportunity for Africa to examine early results, share and reflect on the implementation experiences of the continent and trigger action towards implementation of the two agendas,” Ms. Denton added.

    The ARFSD theme is well-alligned with that of the 2017 HLPF that will be held in New York in July under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) under the theme; “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.

    The HLPF provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development to Member States, including follow-ups and reviewing progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments.

    The 2017 HLPF theme reaffirms eradication of poverty as one of the world’s top-most priorities without which shared well-being and prosperity could not be realized.

    The conclusions and recommendations of the Forum will seek to strengthen national governments’ implementation efforts and inform the global debate at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which will be convened in New York during in July.

    The ECA is working with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and other United Nation agencies in organizing the 2017 ARFSD in preparation for the 2017 HLPF.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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  • Secretary's Remarks: On the Occasion of the Republic of Zimbabwe's National Day

    Press Statement by Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State:

    On behalf of the citizens of the United States, congratulations to the people of Zimbabwe who celebrate 37 years of independence on April 18.

    The United States shares common values with the Zimbabwean people, including a belief in a more democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. In the year ahead, we will remain committed to the people of Zimbabwe and their hopes for a more promising future.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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  • The Nigerian Stock Exchange X-Gen News Alert – Ecobank Transnational Incorporated

    Company Name: Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (www.Ecobank.com)
    Company Symbol: ETI
    [ETI]>> Company Report
    Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Ecobank Group) 

    Year ended 31 December 2016 
    Ecobank Group reports 

    Loss before tax of US$131 m on 
    Net revenue of US$2.0 b 
    Gross earnings 2016 ($2.6 b or NGN 665.0 b) 2015 ($2.7 b or NGN 542.7 b) 

    Loss before tax 2016 ($131.3 m or NGN 33.7b) 2015 ($205 m or NGN 40.6 b) 
    Loss for the year from continuing operations 2016 ($202.3 m or NGN 51.9 b) 2015 ($111.7 m or NGN 22.1 b) 
    Loss for the year 2016 ($205 m or NGN 52.6 b) 2015 ($107.5 m or NGN 21.3 b) 

    Basic Earnings Per Share 2016 ($1.01) cents or (259) kobo 2015 ($0.28 cents or 56.0 kobo) 
    Total assets 2016 ($20,511 m or NGN 6,256 b) 2015 ($23,554 m or NGN 4,694 b) 
    Total liabilities 2016 ($18,747 m or NGN 5,718 b) 2015 ($21,031 m or NGN 4,191 b) 

    Loans to customers 2016 ($9,259 m or NGN 2,824 b) 2015 ($11,200 m or NGN 2,232 b) 
    Deposits from customers 2016 ($13,497 m or NGN 4,116 b) 2015 ($16,428 m or NGN 3,274 b) 
    Total equity 2016 ($1,764 m or NGN 538 b) 2015 ($2,523 m or NGN 503 b)

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Nigerian Stock Exchange Corporate News.

    X-Gen News Alert offers Corporate Disclosure Information from the Nigerian Stock Exchange via Email.

    Features
    Financial News Headlines from Listed Companies;
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    News items are delivered to you on a Real Time Basis.

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    Timeliness: Investors are able to make quick decisions on timely information;
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    Contact the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market Data Team for more information on +234 (1) 448 5857 or e-mail MarketData@NSE.com.ng.

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  • Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal

    On April 17, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of the Republic of Senegal, who had come to Moscow on a working visit.

    During a substantive discussion of practical issues of Russia-Senegal cooperation, Moscow and Dakar’s mutual commitment to expanding political, trade and economic, investment and humanitarian relations was affirmed. Also, the two ministers noted significant potential for stepping up their partnership by implementing promising joint projects in geological prospecting and exploration of mineral resources, shipbuilding, energy, fishing and infrastructure, as well as by stepping up direct business-to-business contacts, including through chambers of commerce and business associations of Russia and Senegal. Moreover, an agreement was reached on exchanging experience in working with compatriots living abroad.

    The ministers also had a substantial conversation on key issues on the international and regional agendas, with an emphasis on unblocking the crisis situations in Africa, in particular in the Sahara-Sahel region, the Central African Republic, Mali, Libya, South Sudan, Guinea-Bissau and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr Lavrov gave a detailed account of Russia’s efforts aimed at a prompt political settlement of the Syrian crisis.

    The Foreign Ministers expressed a common view in favour of establishing a broad counter-terrorist front with the central coordinating role of the UN on the basis of international law and free from any double standards. In this connection, a high level of understanding between Russia and Senegal was underscored, and the countries’ commitment to further cooperation within the UN and on other multilateral platforms was confirmed.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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