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Latest News May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, Minister of Public Health, announces an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Likati district, Bas-Uélé Province (northern DRC) following confirmation by the National Biomedical Research Institute

    The Minister of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of “an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)” in Likati health district (Aketi, Bas-Uélé province), more than 1300 kilometres from Kinshasa in the northern DRC, following confirmation of the disease by the National Biomedical Research Institute (INRB), the national reference laboratory. ‘‘Of the five blood specimens taken from suspected cases and analysed at INRB, one has tested positive for Ebola virus  (Zaïre serotype) using real-time polymerase chain reaction,’’ the Minister of Public Health indicated in a letter to the WHO representative in the DRC, and requested ‘‘support from WHO to strengthen the response to this outbreak’’. Since 22 April 2017, 9 suspected EVD cases have been reported including 3 deaths in Likati health district, i.e. a case-fatality rate of 33.3%, according to an official assessment on 11 May 2017.  

    ‘‘The WHO Country Office in the DRC is working closely with the national and provincial authorities and with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, WHO headquarters in Geneva and all other partners to facilitate deployment of health workers and protective kits in the field  to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and rapidly control the outbreak’’, says Dr Yokouidé Allarangar, WHO representative in the DRC.  Dr Allarangar also announced that Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, would arrive in Kinshasa this weekend to attend a coordination meeting of the national committee at the Ministry of Health to deal with this emergency  and ensure that WHO provides all necessary assistance to the DRC. 

    WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet  urgent requirements. ‘‘The first teams of epidemiologists, biologists, and experts in the areas of social mobilization, risk communication and community engagement, and also personnel specializing in water, hygiene and sanitation, are scheduled to reach the affected area today or tomorrow via Kisangani’’, the administrative centre of Tshopo (350 kilometres from Buta), Dr Allarangar added.   ‘‘The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the outbreak in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this purpose.’’ Dr Allarangar also appealed to other partners to work with the country  to put in place an appropriately coordinated multisectoral approach. Médecins Sans Frontières, the NGO ALIMA, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Gavi Alliance, the World Food Programme/United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-UNHAS), and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) are now standing ready to lend their support to the authorities in the DRC.

    This confirmed outbreak is centred on the Nambwa health area approximately 130 kilometres from Buta, the administrative centre of Bas-Uélé province, which shares a border with the Central African Republic; it is the eighth EVD outbreak in the DRC since 1976. The most recent recorded outbreak was in August 2014 in Boende region, where the disease was brought under control where it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.   

    Distributed by APO on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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  • Statement on Ebola in DRC

    On 9 May, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic.
     

    On 11 May, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed WHO that of five laboratory samples tested, one tested positive for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) laboratory in Kinshasa. Additional laboratory samples are currently being tested.

    Since 22 April, nine suspected cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized.

    “An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days”, says Dr. Peter Salama, WHO Executive Director for Emergencies.

    WHO and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the response, including epidemiological investigation, surveillance, logistics and supplies, communications and community engagement.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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  • Arts and Culture to Conduct Africa Month Public Participation Event in Tembisa

    The Department of Arts and Culture invites members of the media to the Africa Month public participation event on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at Imbizo Shisanyama in Tembisa. The month of May marks Africa Month to celebrate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, now known as the African Union (AU). 

    The 2017 Africa Month is celebrated under the theme, “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World” to commemorate the legacy of OR Tambo and to promote unity and integration. 

    During this month, Africa is called to reflect on its collective achievements as a continent and its citizens to share cultural expressions. South Africa is committed to the promotion of unity and solidarity of African states and its efforts to achieve a better life for its people. 

    Media is invited to the event as follows:
    Date: Saturday, 13 May 2017
    Venue: Imbizo Shisanyama – Corner of Main and 29 September Roads, Ext 1 Ebony Park, Tembisa, GPS coordinates to Imbizo Shisanyama: -26.003888, 28.179025
    Time: 14h00
    RSVP: Madimetja Moleba, Madimetjam@dac.gov.za: 012 441 3737/ 072 842 6594

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

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  • IMF Reaches Staff-Level Agreement for Completion of the First Review of Egypt's Extended Fund Facility
    • The staff level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board to make available SDR 895.48 million (about US$1.25 billion), bringing total disbursements under the program to about US$4 billion.
    • The Ministry of Finance has drafted a very strong budget. If enacted by Parliament, it will place public debt on a clearly declining path to sustainable levels.
    • Social protection measures are an essential counterpart to the economic reform effort, and they will protect the most vulnerable people in Egypt while the reform effort is underway.

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Mr. Chis Jarvis visited Cairo from April 30 to May 11, 2017, to discuss policy priorities of the first review for Egypt’s economic reform program supported by a three-year IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) (see Press Release No. 16/501).

    At the conclusion of the mission Mr. Jarvis issued the following statement:

    “The IMF staff team and the Egyptian authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on the first review of Egypt’s economic reform program supported by the IMF’s $12 billion arrangement. The staff level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board. Completion of the review would make available SDR 895.48 million (about US$1.25 billion), bringing total disbursements under the program to about US$4 billion.

    “This agreement is a vote of confidence by the IMF staff in the continued implementation of the Egyptian authorities’ program. It is also testimony to the great efforts the Government and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) have been making to reform the economy. The authorities’ economic reform process is off to a good start. The liberalization of the exchange rate, as well as the introduction of a VAT and continuing with energy subsidy reform to strengthen the fiscal position, have all had significant effects. Foreign exchange shortages are resolved and interbank market activity is recovering. Egypt has regained investors’ confidence, as shown in the great appetite for Egypt’s Eurobond sale in January 2017 and private sector remittances and portfolio investments have increased considerably. The manufacturing sector-key for job creation–is witnessing a strong rebound and exports have increased significantly. Meanwhile, Egypt’s GDP growth reached 3.9% in the first quarter of 2017 and primary fiscal deficit has fallen by about 2% of GDP.

    “The authorities see reducing inflation as a key priority for safeguarding the welfare of people across Egypt. We support the CBE’s objective. to bring down the rate of inflation to single digits over the medium term consistent with its price stability mandate. We are confident that the central bank has the tools to achieve this. We also commend the CBE for maintaining a floating exchange rate regime and sustaining adequate official reserves.

    “The Ministry of Finance has drafted a very strong budget. If enacted by Parliament, it will place public debt on a clearly declining path to sustainable levels. We welcome in particular the plans to raise the VAT rate, and to continue the process of reforming energy subsidies over the three years. of the program. We also welcome the very good progress made on structural reforms, especially Parliament’s approval of the new industrial licensing and investment laws. Both acts will help unlock Egypt's growth potential, attract investors, increase exports and industrial production, as well as create adequate and well-paid jobs to absorb the rapidly growing labor force.

    “We are very pleased with the strengthened social protection measures in the program. We are also very pleased that the government’s program includes steps to make it easier for women to work outside the home. The Takafol and Karama program has been expanded to include 1.6 million families which is nearly 8 million people. 92% of the program benefits women. The school meals for children program has been expanded to include all public schools and the government is spending more on a program for nurseries. In addition, the government is collaborating with the private sector to launch an innovative program to provide safe means of transportation. These measures are an essential counterpart to the economic reform effort, and they will protect the most vulnerable people in Egypt while the reform effort is underway.

    “Egypt’s strong banking system continues to be the anchor for Egypt’s financial stability. It has weathered well the transition to a floating exchange rate regime. The CBE continues to aim to preserve and further strengthen the resilience of Egypt's financial sector while complementing the strong framework of banking regulation and supervision with adequate crisis preparedness and management tools.

    “Public financial management and fiscal transparency will continue to be strengthened through reinforcing the institutional framework for coordinating among different policy-making bodies and continuing to update the elected parliament of budget updates.

    “This is the Government’s program, and the IMF supports it. The program will lay the foundations for strong and sustainable growth that improves the lives of all Egyptians. The IMF team would like to thank the Egyptian authorities and the technical teams at the CBE and the Ministry of Finance for their openness, constructive discussions and their hospitality.” 

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

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  • Cameroon signs the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration

    On 11 May, Cameroon signed the United Nations Convention in Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“The Mauritius Convention on Transparency”).

    The Convention has been ratified by Canada, Mauritius and Switzerland. It will enter into force on 18 October 2017.

    Convention has further been signed by Belgium, Congo, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, United Kingdom and the United States.

    The Convention is open for signature, ratification, and accession by States and regional economic integration organizations. For up-to-date information about the parties to the Convention as well as its signatories, please see the UNCITRAL website.

    The Mauritius Convention on Transparency aims to provide States and regional economic integration organizations with an efficient mechanism that extends the scope of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based investor-State Arbitration (“Rules on Transparency”) to investment treaties concluded before the Rules entered into force on 1 April 2014. The Rules on Transparency provide procedural rules that ensure transparency and public accessibility to treaty-based investor-State arbitration, the proceedings of which have traditionally been conducted behind closed doors. Together with the Rules on Transparency, the Mauritius Convention on Transparency takes into account both the public interest in such arbitrations and the interest of the parties to resolve disputes in a fair and efficient manner. It is expected that the Convention will significantly contribute to enhancing transparency in investor-State dispute resolutions.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS).

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  • New Permanent Representative of Swaziland presents credentials to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

    Zwelethu Mnisi, the new Permanent Representative of Swaziland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, today presented his credentials to Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
     

    Prior to his appointment to Geneva, Mr. Mnisi served as the Permanent Representative of Swaziland to the United Nations in New York since 2010. In 2014 and 2015, he was also the Vice-President of the United Nations General Assembly. He served as Counsellor at the Swaziland Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 2007 to 2010. From 2005 to 2007, he was a Counsellor at the High Commission of Swaziland in London, after serving there as a Counsellor and Acting Head of Mission from 2004 to 2005.
     
    From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Mnisi was Chargé d’Affaires at the Swaziland Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, after serving as First Secretary of Administration there from 2000 to 2002.  From 1997 to 2000, he was First Secretary of Administration of the High Commission of Swaziland in Ottawa, Canada. A career diplomat, he first joined Swaziland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993, where he worked as an Africa Desk Officer, focusing on the Organization of African Unity, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern Africa Customs Union.
     
    Mr. Mnisi received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Law from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, in 1991. Born in Mbabane, Swaziland, on 9 July 1961, he is married with five children.

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

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  • UEC presents high-tech Russian industrial gas turbine equipment in Algeria

    Russian United Engine Corporation (UEC) (www.UECrus.com), a company offering solutions for development, mass production and maintenance of gas turbine engines for customers engaged in oil and gas, power generation and aerospace, as well as marine and railways, for the first time participates in the 50th Algiers International Fair (FIA–2017) and presents cutting edge products for the oil and gas industry.

    The Algerian fair has been held since 1964. The anniversary event, patronized by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, will take place on May 8–13 in Algiers. The Russian companies are participating in the exposition and the business program of FIA–2017 under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. 

    UEC is looking forward to cooperating with the state oil & gas and electric power companies of Algeria in terms of equipment supplies for gas compression and power generation. 

    The company, participating in FIA–2017 as part of the Rostec State Corporation, is to present in Algiers its GPA-16 gas compressor unit and other systems. UEC banks on the interest from the Algerian partners toward its products. 

    GPA-16 gas compressor unit is pre-fabricated providing the minimum assembly pieces for shipment. The design allows reducing transportation and installation costs on site. This gas compressor unit stands out among the similar products in terms of operation and maintenance in severe weather conditions. Also, the general cost of the life cycle maintenance is comparatively very low. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Engine Corporation (UEC).

    Contact:
    JSC United Engine Corporation
    Tel./ Fax: +7 (499) 558-38-83
    press@UECRus.com  

    UEC (United Engine Corporation, part of the Rostec State Corporation) is specializing in the development, mass production, servicing and maintenance of engines for military and civil aviation, space programs and naval applications, as well for the oil & gas industry and power generation.  

  • Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis meets with Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa (Foreign Ministry, 11 May 2017)

    Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa paid a visit to Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis today, Thursday, 11 May, at the Foreign Ministry.
     

    During the meeting, Patriarch Theodoros briefed the Deputy Foreign Minister on all of the issues and needs of the Patriarchate, which, through its missionary, humanitarian and educational work, is a point of reference for Orthodoxy and Hellenism in the wider region, and he thanked the Greek government for its support.

    Mr. Amanatidis underscored the assistance the Alexandrian Church has provided for deepening Greece's bilateral relations with the countries of Africa, and he praised the multifaceted contribution of local dioceses in dealing with the problems the African continent is facing today.

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

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  • Sustainable hydropower development case studies unveiled at hydropower congress

    The 2017 World Hydropower Congress ended in Addis Ababa Thursday with the launch of a new collection of case studies highlighting good practice in sustainable hydropower development.

    ‘Better Hydro: Compendium of Case Studies 2017’ is a collection of 34 case studies based on assessments carried out under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, a tool developed through multi-stakeholder consensus that measures the sustainability of projects across a range of social, environmental, economic and technical considerations.

    The case studies were written by accredited assessors who carried out on-site assessments.

    Topic case studies focus on specific aspects of development, such as indigenous people, cultural heritage, economic viability and water quality.

    In addition, the publication features five project-wide case studies that cover a broad geographical scope and focus on different stages of project development. There are six more general initiatives demonstrating innovative local and regional approaches that are detailed in the case studies.

    International Hydropower Association (IHA) chief executive, Richard Taylor, said: “By using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, project developers have been able to identify gaps in their practices and processes, and better understand how they can be addressed.

    “This has brought forth some invaluable information for the sector as a whole, but until now this has not been made widely accessible. With the publication of this compendium, we are taking an important step towards sharing these examples.”

    ECA’s Soteri Gatera, Chief of Infrastructure and Industrialisation in the Economic Commission for Africa’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, welcomed the unveiling of the case studies.

    “This is very important and will no doubt go a long way in highlighting good practice in sustainable hydropower development, especially here in Africa where our leaders are prioritizing hydropower development as a source of renewable energy,” said Mr. Soteri.

    Speaking at the closing of the congress, IHA president Ken Adams said: “Today we are launching a compendium of case studies that show it can be done well, it can be done right.”

    The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is a reference framework that enables the development of a full sustainability profile of a hydropower project, with a team of accredited assessors evaluating the sustainability of a project against more than 20 social, environmental, technical and economic topics.

    It provides an international common language on how these considerations can be addressed at all stages of a project's lifestyle: planning, preparation, implementation and operation. Protocol assessments use objective evidence to identify gaps and drive continuous improvement.

    The high-level 2017 World Hydropower Congress was intended to chart the course for hydropower development and operations over the coming decade, with the aim to ensure reliable and resilient water and energy systems for all.​ The congress aimed to ensure that hydropower can make the greatest possible contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other international milestones, while managing the challenges of a changing climate.​

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

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