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Latest News May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017

news From All Africa

  • German Government Supports Research on Namibian Artifacts in German Museums
    The German Federal Foreign Office invited Dr Jeremy Silvester of the Museums Association of Namibia from 6 to 17 April 2017 for a research trip to three German museums which house collections of artifacts from Namibia. The programme was organized by the Goethe Institute under the Visitors Programme of the German Federal Government. 
    Dr Silvester is the Chairperson of the ‘Africa Accessioned’ Working Group that was established by the International Committee of Museums of Ethnography. The ‘Africa Accessioned’ project was initiated by museum workers from Namibia and Zambia with the aim of obtaining information about cultural heritage objects held in European museums.  
    The support of the Federal Foreign Office enabled Dr Silvester to visit the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, the German History Museum and the collection of the German Ethnographic Museum (both in Berlin).  He was also able to visit the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMaH) at Humboldt University.   
    The museum visits followed a conference at the Five Continents Museum in Munich that Dr. Silvester attended and which was supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, where museum curators and academics had discussed the issue of `provenance’ research on objects collected by museums during the colonial period. The study of provenance is about tracing the origins of an object, the way in which it was obtained and the journey it took to, eventually, end up in a museum’s collection. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany – Windhoek.

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  • Message from the Head of UNAMID on the occasion of Ramadan

    Message from the Head of UNAMID on the occasion of Ramadan:

    On behalf of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), I would like to extend my best wishes to the Government and people of Sudan, at the start of the Holy month of Ramadan.

    Ramadan is a month of worship, reflection and reconciliation; where the basic tenets of tolerance and forgiveness are integral to the practice of fasting. It is my sincere hope that the observance of Ramadan can contribute to achieving peace in Darfur.

    At this time of reverence and peace, it is appropriate to reflect on the progress that has been made for the people of Darfur. Since its establishment in 2007, UNAMID has tirelessly advocated for peace and the path of peace has been significantly advanced.

    As we move forward, it is our hope that the people of Darfur and Sudan, in general, can translate the essence of Islam as a religion of peace, love and compassion into action by continuing to engage in a constructive and meaningful dialogue that leads to peace, prosperity and a better life for present and future generations.

    UNAMID continues its commitment to exert all possible efforts, within its capability and mandate, to support and facilitate such efforts in order to help the parties to the conflict achieve a viable lasting peace in this region.

    May the spirit of this Holy month inspire and provide the desire, strength, as well as the determination to achieve durable peace, development and stability in Darfur. 

    Ramadan Kareem.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

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  • South Africa Agro-Processing Companies to Showcase Products in Iran

    South African companies in the agro-processing sector are showcasing their products at the 24th annual International Agricultural Trade Fair taking place in Tehran, Iran. All participating companies received financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry's (the dti) Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA).

    The exhibition is organised collaboratively by the Trade Promotion Organisation of Iran and the Iran International Exhibitions Company. South Africa’s participation is aimed at taking forward the commitments made by President Zuma and President Rouhani during the State Visit to Iran last year towards advancing bilateral economic relations between the two countries.

    According to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Gratitude Magwanishe the Iran Agro 2017 will provide a platform for South African companies within the food and beverage industry to market and showcase their products to a number of foreign delegations, potential buyers, distributors as well as agents. He said this exposure is expected to result in promising export and investment opportunities.

    “the dti is participating for the first time at this exhibition and aims to expose SA agro products to the Iranian and other participating markets. Iran features as a key trading partner for South Africa in the Middle East region and trade between the countries had also been growing impressively,” says Magwanishe.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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  • Outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Seychelles pays farewell visit

    The outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Johan Borgstam, paid a farewell call on President Danny Faure at State House this morning as his four year tenure comes to an end. The Ambassador was based in Nairobi, Kenya.

    President Danny Faure expressed his thanks to Ambassador Borgstam for his Nation's continued support to the Republic of Seychelles, especially in the fight against piracy, drugs and other illegal trafficking, maritime security, and climate change. President Faure also conveyed his gratitude for the vast contributions that Sweden makes to the international arena on issues of mutual interest, such as in the development of the Small Island Developing States, the environment, and the Blue Economy among others.

    “On behalf of the Government of Seychelles and myself, thank you for the four years that you have represented the Kingdom of Sweden and for the work you have accomplished to the best of your abilities. You have kept the flag of your country flying very high and you have helped Seychelles with various issues. We appreciate the efforts of your Government in assisting us within the region in terms of maritime security and we salute the efforts of your country as a pioneer in the areas you are best known for; such as the environment and climate change agenda,” said the President.

    During the meeting, President Faure and Ambassador Borgstam reviewed the progress made in various bilateral areas between Sweden and Seychelles in order to strengthen the solid foundation of friendship that exist between the two countries. They also shared the possibilities for further cooperation in numerous areas.

    Speaking to the local press after the meeting, Ambassador Borgstam said that there is very strong cooperation between Seychelles and Sweden. He also thanked President Faure and the Seychelles Government for its support on the Swedish bid for the United Nations Security Council.

    “We have been able to achieve a lot working together, for example we have a Swedish company in the Seychelles working on ground water sourcing and drilling and I know that they have been successful so far. The Ocean Conference to be held in New York next month; I think this is the biggest achievement of cooperation between our two countries, in terms of preparing a high level delegation for this important meeting. Both countries have a strong team when it comes to cooperation either here or at international conferences,” said Ambassador Borgstam.

    Also present at the farewell meeting was the Foreign Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Claude Morel, the President's Diplomatic Adviser, Ambassador Callixte d'Offay, Political and Trade Policy Officer at the Swedish Embassy, Ms Jenny Andersson, and the Honorary Consul for Sweden, Mr Chrystold Chetty.

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

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  • Committee Concerned about State of Governance at Eskom

    The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue of the reappointment of Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brian Molefe.

    Acting Chairperson Ms Zukiswa Rantho said last week the Committee agreed unanimously to call a meeting where the Board and the Minister are to appear before the Committee and explain what is happening at the power utility. Ms Rantho said: “The meeting today wants to know why is Mr Molefe back at Eskom, has Mr Molefe retired, was he retrenched, did he take early retirement or the new one that has been reported was that he was on unpaid leave, these are some of the answers that we need today.”

    The Committee was of the view that legal advice that has been received will not be used to shield Eskom from being accountable before the Committee. The comments from the Committee came after Eskom’s Board Chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, said he had received legal advice from his counsel after he had filed an affidavit on Monday, 22 May 2017. Dr Ngubane said he was advised that the matter cannot be debated other than in a court of law. “I have to listen to counsel as they are representing us in a court of law,” said Dr Ngubane.

    Members indicated that the Committee had also received legal advice regarding today’s meeting and the Committee had been advised that it should not get into the merits and demerits of the case. Members of the Committee stated that Eskom and the Executive are accountable to Parliament.

    According to the legal advice from Parliament’s Legal Office, it states that “there is a constitutional duty to perform oversight and the intention of calling the Minister and Board is not to influence the court. Whilst the matter is sub judice (meaning it is before the court), this does not mean that Parliament cannot perform its oversight function, as long as the deliberations are not on “the merits of the case”.

    In response to the presentation by Eskom and the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Committee questioned what pressurised such a strategic institution to hire someone where a question mark has not been cleared based on the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report. The Committee indicated that Eskom needs to state the basis of employment of Mr Molefe as the issue is still in the public domain.

    The Committee said Mr Molefe, in his resignation letter, said he was stepping down from the power utility based on good governance following the release of the State of Capture report by the former Public Protector.

    The Committee wanted to know if the papers filed in court by the Minister that Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave whilst being a Member of Parliament are true. Furthermore, the Committee queried why the post of the chief executive would be advertised and interviews conducted if Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave. The Committee said it will not accept the explanation provided before the Committee that he (Mr Molefe) was on unpaid leave as Section 47 of the Constitution would not allow this.

    A response from a Board member indicated that Mr Molefe had resigned last year. Regarding the reappointment of Mr Molefe as CEO, the Board supported his reappointment based on the legal advice that the power utility received and on Mr Molefe’s performance whilst in the employ of Eskom.

    The Committee made a recommendation that the Eskom Board and the Minister should be subjected to an inquiry to check if they (the Board) exercised its fiduciary responsibilities and duties. A parliamentary inquiry needs to be instituted against the Board and forensic investigation needs to be conducted to reach a determination of what must happen. The Committee agreed that further engagements need to be conducted amongst the members to discuss a way forward on the possible inquiry.

    Following its deliberation, the Committee supported the decision for a parliamentary inquiry in line with National Assembly rules to look into the Board of Eskom.

    On Eskom’s legal argument that Mr Molefe was appointed under the terms of the 2014 Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI), the Minister stated that the early retirement agreement didn't have to be shown to her. The 2014 MoI does not enlist the Minister as party to the contract of employment of a Group CEO, whist the 2016 MoI explicitly enlists the Minister as a party to the contract of employment of Group CEO.

    The Committee is of the view that the Minister failed to exercise her oversight duties as the 2016 MoI gave the Minister powers to appoint and dismiss the Group CEO of Eskom.

    Ms Rantho said: “The Committee is concerned with the state of governance at Eskom. There seems to a breakdown in communication between the shareholder and the state-owned company.”

    “The Committee is concerned with the breakdown of corporate governance principles at Eskom. In this regard, the Committee views the reappointment of Mr Molefe with serious concern,” said Ms Rantho.

    She added that “we will further seek advice on how to deal with the decision of the reappointment of the Chief Executive”.

    In its deliberation the Committee requested the power utility to provide the Committee with documents such as minutes correspondence and decisions taken on the reappointment of Mr Molefe.

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

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  • ICD cooperates with Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences High Technologies Park to help SMEs

    The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (“ICD”) (www.ICD-PS.org), the private sector arm of IDB Group, and Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences High Technologies Park (ANAS HTP) have entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to help provide financing to companies and SMEs interested in realizing investment projects in Azerbaijan.

    The CEO of ICD, Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi and Mr. Vugar Babayev Director of ANAS HTP signed the MoU during the IDB 42nd Annual Meeting at hotel Hilton in Jeddah.

    Through this collaboration, both institutions will be exploring potential investment opportunities that may contribute to developing the private sector of the ICD member countries as well as to achieving the strategic goals of ANAS HTP.

    Mr. Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO of ICD stated, “We are pleased to have partnered with ANAS HTP, as the MoU ultimately means providing Azerbaijan based small and medium enterprises with the financial support they might need to grow in today’s challenging economic situation”

    Mr. Vugar Babayev said, “The purpose of ANAS HTP is to make an extensive contribution to national economic development via science, technology and innovations and promotion of National Innovation System by attracting successful projects and investment. The cooperation with ICD constitute a big step forward and will help us amplify our impact in Azerbaijan.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

    Media Inquiries:
    Mr. Nabil El Alami
    Email: NAlami@ISDB.org
    Fax: +966 12 6444427
    Tel: +966 12 6468192

    About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector:
    ICD is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments, which are in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s. For more information visit www.ICD-PS.org. 

    About Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences High Technologies Park:
    A HTP ANAS established and acting by the decree of president of the Republic of Azerbaijan headquartered in Baku, Azerbaijan. The purpose of the HTP ANAS is to make an extensive contribution to national economic development via science, technology and innovations and promotion of National Innovation System by attracting successful projects and investment.

  • Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist attack against MINUSMA

    The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) near Aguelhoc, Mali, on 23 May 2017, which caused the death of two Chadian peacekeepers and injured another and which was claimed by Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims).

    The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government of Chad and to MINUSMA. They paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives.

    The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Mali to swiftly investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

    The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice. They stressed that those responsible for these killings should be held accountable, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for MINUSMA and the French forces that support it. They reiterated their strong support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and for MINUSMA to assist the Malian authorities and the Malian people in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country, including through MINUSMA’s support to the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.

    The members of the Security Council expressed their concern about the security situation in Mali. They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement without further delay. They noted that the full implementation of the Agreement and the intensification of efforts to overcome asymmetric threats can contribute to improving the security situation across Mali.

    The members of the Security Council further stressed the importance that MINUSMA has the necessary capacities to fulfill its mandate and promote the safety and security of the United Nations peacekeepers, pursuant to Security Council resolution 2295 (2016).

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

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  • AU congratulates Dr Tedros Adhanom on historic win as first WHO Director-General from Africa

    The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, warmly congratulates Dr Tedros Adhanom on his election as the first ever Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) from the African region.

    “The world has chosen a consummate global health statesman with a strong track record of embedding global public health and health security as a vital cornerstone of human development,” said H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission.

    Dr Adhanom emerged victorious in a tough election against two strong candidates; Dr Sania Nishtar from Pakistan and Dr David Nabarro from the United Kingdom.

    Dr Adhanom was recently at the helm of drafting The African Union Agenda 2063, which represents the strategic framework guiding Africa’s development priorities for the next fifty years (http://www.au.int/web/agenda2063), while serving as Chair of the Executive Council of the AU. 

    H.E. Mahamat wishes Dr Tedros a successful tenure at the helm of WHO robustly working towards a better, healthier future for all people around the globe. The AU Commission affirms its support of Dr Tedros’s priorities which include WHO reform; universal health coverage; health security; women, child and adolescent health; and the health impacts of climate and environmental change.

    The AU Commission Chairperson also thanks African Ministers of health for their united and steadfast support for Dr Tedros during the campaign. When Africa speaks with one voice, She wins. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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  • Secretary-General Appoints David Mclachlan-Karr of Australia as Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau

    United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of David McLachlan-Karr of Australia as his new Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau. Mr. McLachlan-Karr will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Guinea-Bissau.
     

    Mr. McLachlan-Karr succeeds Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland, who completed her assignment in Guinea-Bissau in January. The Secretary-General is grateful for her contribution to United Nations peacebuilding efforts in Guinea-Bissau.

    Mr. McLachlan-Karr brings 21 years of experience working with the United Nations, including on various assignments for UNDP and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Since November 2016, he has been serving as United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative ad interim in Jordan. Previously, Mr. McLachlan-Karr was on secondment from the United Nations to the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he held the position of Senior Adviser on Public-Private Partnerships (2015-2016). Prior to that, he served as Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sierra Leone, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela. Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. McLachlan-Karr held various positions in the Australian Foreign Service for eight years.

    Born in 1961, he holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and International Law from the University of Queensland, Australia. 

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

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