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Latest News May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017

news From All Africa

  • PM meetings at the London Somalia Conference: 11 May 2017

    A Downing Street spokesperson said:

    The Prime Minister opened the Somalia Conference at Lancaster House in London today, alongside President Farmajo of Somalia, United Nations Secretary-General Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Faki.

    She also had meetings with President Kenyatta of Kenya, Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia and President Museveni of Uganda. In her meetings with these leaders, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of the Conference in bringing together the international community to help Somalia build a more secure, stable and prosperous future for its people. They spoke about the fight against Al Shabaab, and the vital ongoing role of AMISOM in these efforts. Discussions also covered the wider region, including the security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

    The Prime Minister and President Kenyatta discussed Britain and Kenya’s close bilateral relationship in the areas of defence, security, counter-terrorism and trade, and agreed to work together to build on this collaboration. They also discussed the significance of the Commonwealth, and looked ahead to the Commonwealth Summit which the UK will host in April next year.

    In her discussion with Prime Minister Hailemariam, the Prime Minister highlighted the compact agreement creating jobs for refugees as an example of our constructive partnership. Prime Minister Hailemariam welcomed the support Britain has provided for Ethiopia’s development, which he said had been instrumental in lifting millions of people out of poverty.

    The Prime Minister and President Museveni discussed the strong partnership between the UK and Uganda, following recent visits by Britain’s Foreign and International Development secretaries. They committed to working together to strengthen the ties between our nations in the years ahead.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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  • Feed the Future Ethiopia Commercial Farm Services Project Opens Center in Bako

    The Bako Farm Service Center, established via a public-private partnership to expand Ethiopian smallholders’ access to supplies, marked its grand opening today. It is the first of 20 centers to open through the Feed the Future Ethiopia Commercial Farm Services Project, implemented by the ATA in collaboration with the ministry and regional bureaus of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with financial support from the USAID and technical support from Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture.

    “Meeting Ethiopia’s comprehensive and ambitious development agenda requires recognition of the critical importance of agriculture in the economy. However, access to quality agricultural supplies at affordable prices at the right time of the season is a significant challenge,” said USAID representative Stephen Morin.

    The Bako Farm Service Center is located in the maize belt area of Ethiopia, in the remotest part of the country where access to agro-supplies has been a critical challenge to smallholder farmers. Owned by Alemitu Hordofa, a female entrepreneur, the Bako center is a one-stop-shop that provides smallholder farmers with quality farm supplies such as improved seed, chemicals, farm equipment, veterinary drugs and equipment, as well as consultancy services and training, which enable smallholder farmers to sustainably increase productivity and household income. “I strongly believe in the impact that my farm service center can have in this community. It will offer the solution for farmers to access good quality goods and services at an affordable price in close proximity,” said Alemitu. “My farm service center will impact the lives of more than 10,000 smallholder farmers in Bako and neighboring woredas (districts).”

    According to Khalid Bomba, ATA’s CEO, “The opening of Bako Farm Service Center marks the successful expansion of an innovative one-stop-shop input distribution system leveraging private sector actors. In addition to addressing the needs of farmers in inputs and services, farm service centers, such as this one in Bako, will also serve as a platform to disseminate new techniques, technologies and practices.”

    The project is establishing farm service centers in Ethiopia’s main farming regions: six in Amhara, seven in Oromia, four in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, and three in Tigray. Each farm service center will open in collaboration with qualified entrepreneurs who were identified through a competitive process to receive grants up to $50,000 to start their business. Each successful bidder is contributing a minimum of 50 percent of the funding necessary to establish their center—designed and operated based on standards and support provided by the project.

    Feed the Future, a $3.5 billion global hunger and food security initiative, sustains the U.S. Government´s commitment as one of Ethiopia’s largest partners in developing the agriculture sector, which is a fundamental cornerstone of the Ethiopian economy.

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

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  • President Zuma concludes his State Visit to the United Republic of Tanzania

    President Jacob Zuma has this morning returned from his successful State Visit to the United Republic of Tanzania where he had positive and fruitful talks with his Tanzanian counterpart, His Excellency John Pomba Magufuli in Dar Se Salaam.

    President Zuma has characterized the visit as a remarkable success as the two Heads of State discussed and agreed on a various issues of mutual concern. South Africa and Tanzania enjoy excellent bilateral relations which date back to the days of the liberation struggle and were formalised by the two Governments in 1994.

     “It was an important visit for South Africa as our aim was to review and strengthen the existing strong bilateral and economic relations between the two countries since there has been a new administration in Tanzania.

    “We are very content with the outcomes of the visit as we openly discussed and agreed on various issues, particularly economic cooperation including private sector investments, infrastructure development, agro-processing, beneficiation as well as trade and investment.

    “As part of strengthening our economic relations, President Magufuli invited South African companies, including state owned entities, to invest in major infrastructure projects that are taking place in Tanzania and eastern African region including the building of the long railway that will connect all countries in the Great Lakes region,” said President Zuma.

    The President further said during his bilateral talks with President Magufuli, they also discussed a wide range of bilateral issues including the adoption of strategic interventions to further strengthen the relationship to focus on mutually identified priority areas particularly in the field of trade and investment, science and technology, agriculture, environment, energy, infrastructure development, retail, amongst others.

    President Zuma and President Magufuli also chaired the inaugural session of the South Africa-Tanzania Bi-national Commission which to personally supervise the progress of the existing relations between the two countries.

    President Zuma added that the Bi-national Commission which will be supervised in the Heads of State and Government Level will provide the required impetus to relations between the two countries expanding the areas of cooperation to include the political, economic, security and cultural fields.

    During the visit, South Africa and Tanzania signed two critical memoranda of understanding on cooperation in field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management as well as on Cooperation in Transport Related Matters.

    “We are satisfied with the signing of these memoranda of understanding and we have directed our Ministers and officials to finalize the signing of outstanding agreements and also to fully implement the existing agreements. We have agreed to have regular consultations including annual mid-term review meeting that will ensure that we monitor and evaluate the implementation of these agreements in a quest to force closer cooperation,” said the President Zuma.

    President Zuma and President Magufuli also addressed the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum held on the sidelines of the State Visit to bolster economic relations between the two countries both in the public and private sector. The forum further promoted business-to-business cooperation, aimed at diversifying the economies of the nations.

    On regional matters, the two Heads of State agreed that Africans states need to work together to ensure peace and security in the region, and also to lessen barriers to ensure strong regional economic integration that will help address triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

     President Zuma said Africa need to soften barriers and boarders to ensure free and improved movement of people and goods which is key for an inclusive economic growth in the continent and to ensure full implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063. 

    President Zuma is accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa and Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi as well as a business delegation. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Presidency.

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  • AUC Chairperson holds High level Consultations on the margins of the London Conference on Somalia

    The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat held high level consultations on the margins of the London Conference on Somalia.

    The Chairperson of the AUC met with H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia. 

    The Chairperson of the AU Commission further met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders, Denmark's State Secretary for international cooperation, Martin Bille. He also held bilateral discussions with the Vice President of the European Union Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.

    The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat underlined the need to redouble efforts in support of Somalia to allow the administration of H.E Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to overcome the many challenges facing the country. He stressed the importance to support the full implementation of the newly adopted national security architecture in order to stand up Somalia security forces as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)'s exit strategy. 

    The Chairperson of the AUC also called for a mobilization of predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM stressing that the current situation was untenable. He further appealed for humanitarian assistance commensurate with the challenges at hand. 

    The Chairperson of the AUC also exchanged views with his interlocutors on the recent developments in Libya, Northern Mali and Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, Guinea Bissau, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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  • Security Council Press Statement on Guinea-Bissau

    The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau as a result of the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution, leading to the current gridlock.

    The members of the Security Council commended ECOWAS efforts and leadership and welcomed the visit of its high-level Ministerial mission to Bissau on 23 and 24 April 2017 with the objective of assessing and evaluating the status of the implementation of the Conakry Agreement, in this regard, the members of the Council stressed the need for the continued international community’s support and engagement in supporting the regional efforts with the view to resolve the political impasse.

    The members of the Council took note of the Final communique of this Ministerial mission and reaffirmed the centrality of the Conakry Agreement as a primary framework for the resolution of the political crisis. The Council called upon the Bissau-Guinean stakeholders to refrain from actions that could escalate tensions and incite violence and to strictly respect and comply with the Conakry Agreement and the ECOWAS road map in addressing their differences and the challenges facing their country.

    The members of the Council invited the President Vaz to appoint a Prime Minister whose selection respects the provisions of the Conakry Agreement.

    The members of the Council expressed concern about the situation of the civilian population in Guinea Bissau, which is suffering the negative effects of the political crisis, and urged all political actors to put the interest of the people of Guinea-Bissau above all other consideration and in this regard, called upon Bissau-Guinean leaders, including the President, the Speaker of Parliament and heads of political parties to abide by their commitment to bring political stability to Guinea -Bissau in engaging in genuine dialogue, including on the Constitutional review, and finding common ground for a swift resolution of the political crisis.

    The Members of the Security Council recalled that the implementation of the Agreement could be a way to restore the confidence of partners and enable the international community to fulfil the pledges made during the Brussels Conference in March 2015 in support of the programme “terra ranka” and for the development of Guinea-Bissau.

    The members of the Security Council commended the defense and security forces for their continued non-interference in the political situation in Guinea-Bissau, and strongly urged them to maintain the same posture.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their commitment to continue to monitor the current political crisis and expressed their readiness to take necessary measures to respond to further worsening of the situation in Guinea Bissau.

    The members of the Council commended the work of ECOWAS security mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) in enhancing stability in Guinea Bissau and took note of the decision of the ECOWAS Authority to withdraw ECOMIB by 30 June 2017, starting from 28 April and urged the international community to give all necessary support to ensure a complete and seamless transition of security architecture to the national defense and security forces.

    The members of the Council recalled the important role of the PBC in supporting sustainable peace in Guinea-Bissau and welcomed its active engagement with relevant stakeholders on the ground as well as with regional organizations to support efforts towards a political solution.

    The members of the Council expressed deep concern over the challenges posed by international organized crime and other major threats, including drug trafficking in the country, as well as violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, and terrorist threats.

    The Members of the Security Council expressed their support to Special Representative Modibo Touré as well as the sub-regional organizations to continue to coordinate and work closely with all stakeholders for the resolution of the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. 

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

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  • IMF Staff Completes Visit to Niger
    • Growth is estimated to have increased to 5 percent in 2016 from 4 percent in 2015, helped by a strong 2016/17 crop year, and a pick-up in oil production in late 2016.
    • Budget execution in 2016 was impacted by lower-than-targeted revenue collection partly due to unfavorable developments in commodity sectors and continued economic problems in neighboring countries.
    • The authorities stressed their strong commitment to the program and their determination to take immediate corrective measures needed to achieve the end-June 2017 targets under the ECF-supported program.

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Cheikh Anta Gueye visited Niamey from May 3 to 10, 2017, to assess economic developments during 2016 and in early 2017, and to discuss with the authorities corrective measures needed to achieve the end-June 2017 targets under the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.[1] The program was approved by the IMF Board on January 23, 2017 (see press release no. 17/18).

     At the end of the visit, Mr. Gueye issued the following statement:

    “Niger’s macroeconomic performance is overall satisfactory. Growth is estimated to have increased to 5 percent in 2016 from 4 percent in 2015, helped by a strong 2016/17 crop year, and a pick-up in oil production in late 2016. But the pace of economic activity is barely above population growth and continues to be adversely affected by security and humanitarian shocks, unfavorable commodity export prices for uranium and petroleum, and economic difficulties in neighboring countries. Annual average inflation remained contained at 0.2 percent at end-2016. Economic outlook over the medium term remains favorable but is subject to risks related to regional security conditions and commodity market prices.

    “Budget execution in 2016 was impacted by lower-than-targeted revenue collection partly due to unfavorable developments in commodity sectors and continued economic problems in neighboring countries. At the same time, revenue measures contemplated by customs administration did not produce the expected results. At end-December 2016, government revenue was below target by 0.8 percent of GDP, but most fiscal targets other than for government revenue were met.

    “Revenue shortfalls continued in the first quarter of 2017.  Sustained expenditure controls through budgetary regulation helped to maintain the fiscal deficit and domestic financing under the ECF-supported program targets.  Progress was also made in implementing structural reforms. The authorities are well advanced in setting up the Treasury Single Account and in updating the 2008 national gender policy, with a focus on women’s empowerment and reduction in gender inequality.

    “The authorities stressed their strong commitment to the program and their determination to take immediate corrective measures needed to achieve the end-June 2017 targets under the ECF-supported program. These include conducting tax inspections on income tax and VAT; improving collection of tax arrears; using actual transaction values for customs tax assessments; and preventing fraud on petroleum products commercialization and improving the management of tax exemptions. Over the medium term, the authorities are preparing a budget deficit reduction strategy to achieve the WAEMU convergence criteria and are developing a framework to improve VAT collection. 

    “The staff team met with President Issoufou Mahamadou and Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, Minister of Finance Massoudou Hassoumi, the Deputy Minister for Budget Ahmat Jidoud, and other government officials, as well as the National Director of the BCEAO. The team also met with representatives of the civil society, the private sector, and the donor community.

    “The IMF team would like to thank the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive and productive discussions.”

    [1] The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is the IMF’s main tool for medium-term financial support to low-income countries. Financing under the ECF carries a zero-interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.

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

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  • Seychelles’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations presents credentials to the UN Secretary-General

    Seychelles’ new Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters in New York last week.

    Amb Jumeau told Mr Guterres he was presenting his credentials at a very important time for small island developing states (SIDS) like Seychelles, and indeed for all developing nations, when implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), and in particular SDG 14 on the sustainable use of oceans and seas were topping the UN agenda.

    In a private meeting that followed, Mr Guterres said he had never forgotten a private visit to Seychelles 19 years ago as it had left him with a lasting impression of a harmonious society well on its way to good governance and already a leader in people-centred development and conservation of the environment.

    He welcomed the US$21-million debt-for-adaptation swap to raise funds to turn 30 percent of Seychelles’ exclusive economic zone into protected areas, partly as ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, as an example to the world of a small island country leading in identifying innovative financing for sustainable development.

    He listened intently and with approval as Amb Jumeau explained that the debt swap had expanded into ongoing work to draft a marine spatial plan for Seychelles’ entire ocean space and to raise a further $20 million in blue bonds for sustainable fisheries.

    All these initiatives were part of the pioneering work Seychelles is doing as a large ocean developing state to define and develop its blue economy, Mr Jumeau said.

    Present at the credentials ceremony and the bilateral meeting were Deputy Permanent Representative Beryl Samson and Attaché in the Permanent Mission, Deborah Cholmondeley.

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

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  • Conclusion of the London Somalia Conference

    On Thursday 11th May the UK hosted a major international conference on Somalia. Bringing together leaders from around the world, this conference accelerated progress on security sector reform, built on the international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis and agreed the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity by 2020.

    Prime Minister Theresa May opened the conference. Other speakers included Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, International Development Secretary Priti Patel, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, President Farmajo of Somalia, UN Secretary General Guterres and Chairperson Faki of the African Union.

    The conference focussed on the agreement of a Security Pact, adopted by Somalia and the international community, which will allow for sustainable, long-term security based on mutual accountability. The conference also ensured the adoption of a New Partnership for Somalia by the delegations, to re-commit them to working together and holding each other account to deliver the vital support and reforms that Somalia needs over the next four years.

    The UK is helping to build stability in Somalia through UKAid, with a strong focus on statebuilding, stabilisation and supporting more effective and accountable institutions, as well as through the deployment of around 70 UK Armed Forces personnel, who are supporting the Somali National Army.

    Britain is leading the way in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, providing food, water and medicine to over a million people. The UK reaffirmed its commitment to preventing a famine, and called on the international community to urgently step up their support before it is too late. 

    Read the full communiqué from the London Somalia Conference 2017 here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/london-somalia-conference-2017-communique
    Read the New Partnership for Somalia here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-partnership-for-somalia-for-peace-stability-and-prosperity
    Read the Security Pact here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/london-somalia-conference-2017-security-pact

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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  • Ambassador to Morocco

    Statement attributable to the Hon Julie Bishop MP:

    Today I announce the appointment of Ms Berenice Owen-Jones as Australia’s first resident Ambassador to Morocco.

    Australia and Morocco enjoy close ties and celebrated the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2016. We share strong people-to-people links, with many thousands of Australians visiting Morocco each year.

    The establishment of an Australian Embassy in Rabat and appointment of an Ambassador to Morocco is an important addition to Australia’s diplomatic presence in Africa and part of the single largest expansion of our diplomatic network in 40 years.

    Our Ambassador to Morocco will lead efforts to enhance bilateral ties and open new areas of cooperation, including expanding trade and investment links in food and agriculture, infrastructure planning and sustainable development, mining, oil and gas, and health.

    Australia values Morocco’s significant contribution to international efforts to fight global terrorism and violent extremism, and we work together as members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The new Embassy will enhance our ability to collaborate further on counter-terrorism and security issues.  

    Ms Owen-Jones is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Director of Studies, Diplomatic Academy. In Canberra Ms Owen-Jones has held a range of positions including, Director, Security Policy and Clearances Section. She served overseas with DFAT at the Australian Embassy in Paris.

    Ms Owen-Jones holds a Bachelor of Economics, Australian National University and Diploma of International Law, Australian National University. She is expected to take up her appointment in June 2017.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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