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Latest News May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the attack against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic

    The Secretary-General strongly condemns the attack perpetrated by suspected anti-Balaka against a convoy of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 8 May, on the Rafai-Bangassou axis, in the south east of the Central African Republic. The attack led to the death of four peacekeepers while ten others have been evacuated to Bangui. One peacekeeper is still missing.
     

    The Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and the Governments of the concerned troop contributing countries, and wishes a swift recovery to the wounded. The Secretary-General would like to underline that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime. He calls on the Central African Republic authorities to investigate the attack in order to swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

    The Secretary-General would like to reiterate his support to the actions of MINUSCA to protect civilians and stabilise the Central African Republic, and call on all parties to heed President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s call to cease violence and work together towards the stability of the country. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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  • It Pays To Stay Loyal – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest Launch a Coordinated New Regional Promotion This Season

    In a first of its kind coordinated Regional promotion, Marriott International (http://Marriott.com) has launched a unified and compelling offer at nearly 200 participating Marriott International hotels in 30 countries with a choice of 17 brands across exciting destinations in Middle East and Africa. City or beach, history or culture, nature or adventure, wild life or relaxation, guests can choose the experience and now enjoy up to 30% off on their hotel stay and make this season a memorable one.

    Just months after its unprecedented announcement that members could link their accounts to have their Elite status matched and transfer points between programs, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), Marriott International is giving its loyal members more reasons to stay loyal and travel more. All three programs will run the same promotion, giving members more value and more reasons to explore the magic of Middle East and Africa.

    “We are excited to launch such a compelling and cohesive offer under the umbrella of our powerful and award winning loyalty programs and we hope this will not only give a much needed impetus to regional travel but will also attract the global traveler into our continent,” said Neal Jones, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.  “Given our diverse portfolio and bandwidth of brands, we now have a brand and hotel for every traveler looking for an enriching experience and our loyal members continue to get more.”

    Guests can book between 1st May and 31st August 2017 for stays between 21st May – 9th September 2017 and enjoy 20% off on the best available rate and a 30% off on food and soft beverages at participating restaurants, bars and lounges. What is more, Loyalty Program members enjoy 30% off on the best available rate and a voucher for a 30% off on their next stay, valid for stay between 10th September – 31st December 2017.

    For Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members, this promotion is applicable at participating JW Marriott®, Renaissance® Hotels, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Marriott® Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Protea Hotels®, Courtyard®, Residence Inn®, and The Ritz-Carlton®, Log on to http://Deals.Marriott.com/moretravels for a full list of participating hotels including terms and conditions and book your stay.

    For SPG members, this promotion is available at participating Aloft, W Hotels, Four Points® by Sheraton, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis® Hotels & Resorts, and Westin® Hotels & Resorts that participate in the SPG program. For a full list of participating hotels and terms and conditions, log on to www.SPG.com/moretravels and book your stay.

    Thanks to the recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, members of Marriott International’s innovative and award-winning loyalty programs who have linked their accounts have more destinations to discover in the region. For SPG members, these include the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and for Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members, it includes destinations like Mauritius. Already, members of the programs can link their accounts at www.Members.Marriott.com to access unparalleled benefits such as instant Elite status matching and unlimited points transfer between accounts.

    Marriott International now offers a diverse portfolio of 30 brands in over 120 countries across the globe, giving members access to the best hotels and resorts wherever they want to travel. In Middle East and Africa alone, the company operates close to 250 hotels in 30 countries.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Marriott International, Inc..

    Contact:
    Anjali Mehra
    Anjali.Mehra@Marriott.com
    +971 565396555

    About Marriott Rewards:
    Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty program – Marriott Rewards – spans 18 unique and iconic global brands and over 4,300 distinctive properties. Members of Marriott Rewards® – which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® – can link their accounts with Starwood Preferred Guest® at www.Members.Marriott.com for expanded benefits including instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer across portfolios. When members book their stays on http://Marriott.com or the Marriott Mobile app (http://MobileApp.marriott.com), they earn loyalty points, enjoy the advantage of exclusive Member Rates (www.Marriott.com/online-hotel-booking.mi), our lowest available rates, and gain an elevated stay experience with free Wi-Fi, mobile check-in and checkout, and Mobile Service Requests wherever available.  The hugely popular Marriott Rewards has won the Freddie Award for “Hotel Program of the Year–Americas” nine consecutive years as chosen by frequent travelers. Marriott Rewards is free to join and has no blackout dates. To enroll and for more information about the program, guests may visit. Connect with Marriott Rewards on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/marriottrewards), Twitter (https://Twitter.com/MarriottRewards) and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/marriottrewards).

    About Starwood Preferred Guest:
    Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®) is an innovative, award-winning frequent traveler program that unites 11 luxury and distinctive hotel brands in more than 1,300 properties in 95 countries and territories around the world. SPG reinvented the hospitality loyalty landscape when it launched in 1999 with its breakthrough policy of no blackout dates, and over the years has continued its tradition of innovation with enhancements such as Cash + Points, Your24™, SPG Lifetime™, SPG Moments and 4 p.m. late checkout when available. SPG also offers the opportunity for meeting and travel professionals to earn rich rewards including Starpoints and elite status through SPG Pro. SPG has an ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of today’s connected global traveler by leveraging must-have mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android that utilize state-aware technology to create a more personalized hotel stay. All of this has helped SPG build a passionate member base among the world’s most frequent travelers. Learn more about the #spglife at SPG.com (http://APO.af/Y0IFWd), SPG.com/pro (http://APO.af/cBuasL) and SPG.com/moments (http://APO.af/Vu2tdh) and connect with us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/spg), Twitter (https://Twitter.com/spg) and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/spg). SPG members can now also link their accounts with Marriott Rewards® – which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® – for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer at SPG.com/Marriott.

    About The Ritz – Carlton Rewards:
    The Ritz-Carlton Rewards is the loyalty program of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., which currently operates over 90 hotels and resorts in 31 countries and territories. Members can earn and redeem points at participating The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International properties worldwide. Members of Marriott Rewards® – which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® – can link their accounts with Starwood Preferred Guest® at www.Members.Marriott.com for expanded benefits including instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer across portfolios. For more information, or reservations, visit the company web site at www.RitzCarlton.com The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:  MAR).

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  • Meeting to Advance Women Senior-level Representation in Libyan National Institutions

    Under the auspices of the State Minister of Women’s Affairs and Community Development, Ms. Asma Al Usta, UNSMIL launched a study on Libyan Women in Leadership. The study showcases the representation of Libyan women in different formal institutions, revealing the low percentages of women in decision-making positions and provides recommendations towards enhancing female leadership.

    More than 50 women from civil society, academia and ministries attended the event held at the Presidency Council building in Tripoli on May 8th. In her opening speech, Minister Al Usta welcomed the study and efforts made by UNSMIL to promote the inclusion of Libyan women in leadership positions. She urged Libyan women to push for the appointment of a head of the Women’s Support and Empowerment Unit, established in September 2016, within the Presidency Council. 

    “I’m privileged to be with Libyan women here today. Women, around the world, find themselves having to juggle their work with their roles as wives, mothers and daughter,” said Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Deputy Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Humanitarian Coordinator Maria do Valle Ribeiro. “The system is not set up to support them. Promoting women’s leadership requires changing the perception of men in the workplace and in the family.” 

    The participants agree to hold monthly meeting to discuss and advance women’s issues and concerns.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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  • Li Yuanchao to Visit Senegal, Chad and Burundi

    Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang announces:

    At the invitation of leaders of the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of Chad and the Republic of Burundi, Vice President Li Yuanchao will pay official goodwill visits to the three countries from May 6 to 12.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

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  • A joint United Nations-Government of Sudan mission visits Sortony IDP site, North Darfur

    The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) in Sudan, Ms. Marta Ruedas and the Commissioner General of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Adam, led a joint field visit to Sortony internally displaced persons (IDP) site in Kebkabiya locality, North Darfur on 8 May 2017.  
     

    The delegation was accompanied by the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Deputy Joint Special Representative, the Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Sudan as well as the North Darfur Health Minister representing the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur and other federal Government officials from Khartoum.
     
    Mission members met IDP leaders currently residing in Sortony, who provided an update on the humanitarian assistance being provided by international and national humanitarian actors, and the additional support required in the areas of security, water, health and education services. “This visit comes within the overall context of the constructive collaboration between Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and the national and international humanitarian aid community in the country, and offered an opportunity to examine the quality of assistance being provided to the 21,500 people living in Sortony area,” said Ms. Ruedas upon the completion of the joint field visit.
     
    Sortony IDP site hosts IDPs from Central and North Darfur states who fled from the Jebel Marra area of Darfur in the first half of 2016, and are in need of nutrition, health, water, education, and protection services.  
     
    This is the second joint field visit in 2017 by the UN RC/HC and the HAC Commissioner General to areas of concern in the Darfur region.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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  • 2017 World Hydropower Congress opens in Addis Ababa

    The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC) kicked-off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today with Acting Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok, calling on the continent to come up with strong and coherent policies to promote faster and more inclusive growth through the optimal use of hydropower and other sources of renewable energy.

    Mr. Hamdok said with more than 600 million people in Africa living without access to electricity and households continuing to rely on traditional biomass for cooking, it was pertinent for Africa to tap into its vast renewable energy sources.

    “With clear vision coupled with strong and coherent policy action to promote faster and more inclusive growth, the continent has the potential to take the lead in innovation, technologies and business models that utilise hydropower optimally and efficiently,” he said.

    However, said Mr. Hamdok, it is equally important for the continent to guard against negative impacts of hydropower development and to pay close attention to climate resilience and social inclusion.

    “This is mostly linked to growing concerns regarding hydropower sustainability, including the over-reliance on hydropower which could possibly compromise energy security in many countries, especially in the context of drought,” he said.

    “I am glad to note that the agenda of this congress includes items of environmental and social impact in the context of hydropower development,” added Mr. Hamdok.

    He also said it is important to develop an integrated approach to the management of water for irrigation and energy production, adding the ECA and the AUC are working closely with key stakeholders on a number of initiatives to promote low carbon energy development as well as innovative financing regimes for clean energy infrastructure projects to support the implementation of both the global Sustainable Development Goals Agenda and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, officially opened the congress telling delegates development was unthinkable in the absence of adequate and affordable energy.

    He shared with delegates what Ethiopia is doing to advance the use of hydropower and renewable energy sources, adding Africa will not achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without universal access to electricity.

    “I would like to reiterate the need for collective efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said as he emphasized the need for the world to pull together on this front.

    Hydropower, the Prime Minister said, is crucial to providing reliable and sustainable energy development for transformation of Africa’s economies.

    For his part, African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Quartey Thomas Kwesi, focused his speech on hydropower’s role in addressing Africa’s energy challenges and Africa’s regional plans in the energy sector, in particular hydropower plants, under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

    “Access to modern and sustainable energy services is crucial to achieving sustainable, transformative and inclusive development,” said Mr. Kwesi.

    “The development and expansion of renewable energy provides one of the most effective strategies to simultaneously promote development, sustainable energy access and energy security as well as climate change mitigation at the global, continental and regional levels.”

    Liu Zhenya, chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), presented to the participants the concept of ‘global energy interconnection’ (GEI) as “the inevitable way out for clean and low-carbon energy transition”.

    “It is imperative for us to accelerate the green and low-carbon transition. The key to realising that is to bring forward a new energy supply system prioritised by clean energy development and power supply with large-scale optimal allocation of the GEI platform,” he said.

    “Let’s work hand in hand for African energy interconnections with more communication and common consent, and make our due contribution to sustainable development.”

    Ken Adams, president of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) said hydropower cannot be done in isolation.

    “My message today is that achieving Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without breaking barriers and widening the scope of collaboration between all of our institutions. We must embrace the fact that one single technology will not resolve the challenges of our generation,” he said.

    “We need more hydropower on the grid, as it plays a role as a flexible, sustainable generation source. We also need it to play the often unrecognised role of energy storage.”

    Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) and special representative of the UN secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All said: “Better Hydro is an important way to meet the goal of sustainable energy agreed by all countries and the ambition of the Paris climate agreement. It offers affordable, cleaner, reliable energy as well as storage which can crowd in more solar and wind development.

    “The challenge of securing sustainable energy for all by 2030 means we have to move forward with speed and scale. We hope that the World Hydropower Congress will spur rapid progress.”

    The congress seeks to build on a previous meeting held in 2015 in Beijing by bringing together leaders and experts to examine how initiatives of governments, businesses, finance, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development.

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

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  • Deputy Foreign Minister T. Quick visits Cairo

    Deputy Foreign Minister Terens Quick's visit to Cairo, where he represented the Greek government at the third Greek-Egyptian Business Forum, was covered extensively by the Egyptian news media.
     

    His statement that Egypt, which he knows as well as if it were his second homeland, is a safe tourism and investment destination, was very well received and was covered widely in the Egyptian press, posted on dozens of websites and broadcasted by many of the country's radio and television networks.

    In addition to his official obligations, Mr. Quick gladly accepted a request/invitation to visit and be photographed at the Pyramids and the Al Khalili market – two top tourist destinations in the Egyptian capital. Sites that, moreover, he is very familiar with from the many reports and travel documentaries he made during his journalism career.

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

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  • Nigeria: Fighting the worst meningitis C outbreak since 2008

    Thousands of men, women, and children in northern Nigeria have been affected by a meningitis C outbreak, reportedly the largest to hit the country in the past nine years. Almost six months after the first cases were recorded in Zamfara State, Nigeria’s Ministry of Health (MoH) is still struggling to fight this epidemic in seven states of the country. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has supported the health authorities with surveillance and case management in the most-affected locations since February, when the outbreak was officially declared. However, the slow reaction system of the country and a global shortage of vaccines have hampered the response.

    On April 15 MSF set up a 200-bed treatment center in Sokoto Town, followed by a 20-bed facility in Anka, Zamfara. In these locations, MSF’s Nigeria Emergency Response Unit (NERU) works intensively to provide free, high-quality medical care and reduce mortality rates as much as possible.

    These teams treat challenging cases in a difficult environment. “A few days ago a nine-year-old boy was brought in unconsciousness and with severe meningitis,” recalls Caroline Riefthuis, an MSF nurse in Sokoto. “He received treatment for five days and recovered, but unfortunately we found out that he had become deaf and blind—side effects of severe meningitis.”

    This little boy is one of 614 patients treated in Sokoto Mutalah Mohamad Hospital since April, when MSF took over the management of the center from the MoH due to a lack of supplies and qualified staff to run it. In Anka General Hospital, 137 patients were admitted since the beginning of the outbreak. Most are between five and twenty years old.

    Tackling the Outbreak

    In addition to the staff working in the treatment centers, eleven MSF surveillance teams visited health facilities to determine the origins of new cases in Sokoto, Zamfara, Yobe, Niger and Kebbi. These visits also allowed MSF to implement additional activities, such as health promotion, to increase community awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and active case finding.

    At the end of April, the Nigerian MoH reported 9,646 suspected cases of meningitis C, with a total of 839 deaths since late 2016. And on May 1, MSF was finally able to join a vaccination campaign launched by the health authorities in Sokoto. In the three most-affected Local Government Areas (LGAs), 25 MSF teams vaccinated approximately 850 people per day for seven days to reach a target population of 148,000 people—of a total target of 800,000—between the ages of one and twenty. An additional campaign with a target population of nearly 130,000 will start later this month in the four most-affected LGAs of Yobe State

    Late Response and Insufficient Vaccine Supplies

    Although these vaccination campaigns are a crucial step to stop the spread of the disease, MSF has concerns regarding the late response to the crisis in a country where meningitis epidemics are not rare. “The national early warning system and timely response needs to be strengthened, and the implementation strategy better-defined, to reduce the impact of the outbreak as much as possible,” explains Philip Aruna, MSF Head of Mission in Nigeria.

    Even more worrisome is the global shortage of meningitis C vaccine, which contributed to the delayed response and increased mortality rates in Nigeria. “The outbreak is spreading fast and we are concerned because there are not enough vaccines to cover the affected population,” says Aruna. In Sokoto, for example, three million vaccines are required to launch a mass campaign, but only 800,000 were available. This insufficient quantity only allows for a reactive campaign, which requires teams to act fast to prevent the disease from spreading further.

    To address these logistical challenges and reduce the mortality rates, MSF insists that treatment centers be decentralized so that all people affected by the disease, even those in remote areas, can access free, quality health care and the right tests to quickly confirm cases and prevent misdiagnoses. It is crucial that adequate prevention measures be put in place to avoid another delayed response when the next meningitis outbreak inevitably occurs.

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

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  • United Nations experts call on Nigeria to ensure release of all those still under Boko Haram captivity

    A group of United Nations human rights experts today welcomed the release of 82 Chibok girls from Boko Haram captivity, and called on the Government of Nigeria and the international community to take all necessary steps to ensure the timely release of those under Boko Haram captivity and to provide support to the girls to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration in full respect of their human rights.
     

    “This is a significant step forward and we commend the Nigerian Government and all those involved in the release of the girls. We hope these girls will be soon reunited with their loved ones,” said the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the sale of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, on slavery, Urmila Bhoola, and on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, who visited* Nigeria in 2016.

    “However we must not forget about all the other children and other victims, who continue to live in captivity under Boko Haram control,” the experts said.

    Recalling that over three years after the violent raid in the village of Chibok, 115 of the 276 students abducted are still missing, the experts remain deeply concerned about the plight of the girls still in captivity and their families.

    “Ensuring the release all those captured is urgent and we cannot allow for anyone to be forgotten,” stressed the experts. In that regard, the Special Rapporteurs urged the Nigerian Government to swiftly take all necessary measures to locate them and ensure their safe return.

    Following the release of the latest 82 girls, the human rights experts also re-iterated calls made after 21 girls were freed in October 2016 for all Nigerians to stand strong to support those released. “Release is just a first step in the long journey of recovery and rehabilitation,” the experts underscored.

    “The Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders must ensure that the services these girls need, including psycho-social and other health services and information on livelihood opportunities, as well as access to remedies, are available” they noted.

    “Moreover,” the United Nations Special Rapporteurs stressed, “Nigeria must hold the perpetrators accountable, while respecting international human rights norms and standards.” 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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