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Latest News May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

news From All Africa

  • MSF accuses Libyan coastguard of endangering people’s lives during Mediterranean rescue

    During a rescue in the Mediterranean Sea on 23 May, the Libyan coastguard approached boats in distress, intimidated the passengers and then fired gunshots into the air, threatening people’s lives and creating mayhem, according to aid organisations Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Méditerranée, whose teams witnessed the violent incident.

    The teams from MSF and SOS Méditerranée had been alerted to the position of the boats in distress. Teams distributed lifejackets to the passengers in preparation for the rescue. More than twenty passengers were brought to the Aquarius, the search and rescue vessel jointly operated by both organisations. The other passengers remained on the distressed boat, while the teams had to go and provide assistance to another boat which was in a more critical situation.

    In the meantime, a Libyan coastguard vessel with mounted weapons approached. “Two Libyan coastguards, wearing uniforms and armed, stepped onto one of the rubber boats. They took phones, money and other belongings from the passengers,” says Annemarie Loof of MSF.

    “People became panicked and felt threatened. The passengers were terrified from the aggressive conduct of the Libyan coastguards.” This caused mass panic to break out and ended with more than 60 people in the sea.

    “Many passengers – who had luckily already received lifejackets before the shooting began – jumped off the boats into the sea in fear,” adds Loof. “Our teams pulled 67 people out of the water as gunshots were fired in the air. It’s a miracle that no one drowned or was injured.”

    “The Libyan coastguard showed very little regard for the wellbeing of the people in the boats in distress,” continues Loof. “Their behaviour was reckless – if not directly threatening – to the people on the boats.”

    “Knowing that the Libyan coastguard has been receiving training and support from the European Union makes the incident all the more disturbing,” stresses Loof. “We believe that the Italian and European authorities should not be providing support to the Libyan coastguard, either directly or indirectly. This support is further endangering people’s lives.”

    Despite the chaos, teams from MSF and SOS Méditerranée were able to safely bring 1,004 people, including a two-week-old baby, on board the Aquarius. 

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

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  • Digital IQ for African companies track global averages—but South Africa is at risk of falling behind: PwC report

    Most organisations around the world have not done enough to keep up with the digital era – and leadership is falling short, with many chief executives not yet fully engaged in the initiatives of digital transformation. African companies match their global peers in many measures of Digital IQ: just over half (52%) rate their organisation’s Digital IQ as strong – a score of 70% or greater. However, South African companies stand at risk, with less than half (47%) rating their organisation’s IQ over 70%.

    These are some of the highlights from the 10th edition of PwC’s Global Digital IQ survey (http://APO.af/FZSmmw), with a focus on Africa. “Digital IQ has a different meaning today than it had when PwC (www.PwC.com) started this research a decade ago.” Tielman Botha, Digital Lead for PwC South Africa, says: “Today, the scope and scale of digital-driven change has grown significantly, and organisations have invested a lot of time and money to keep up.

    “Despite notable advances in technology, company leaders are no better equipped to handle the changes coming their way than they were in 2007, according to the survey results.”

    In fact, Digital IQ – the measurement of an organisation’s ability to harness and profit from technology has actually declined since we began asking executives to self-assess their own organisations, comments Botha. As this year’s survey shows, many companies are grappling with raising their Digital IQ. There is awareness that digital capabilities are a critical component to success, and that emerging technologies have to be explored. But leaders remain challenged by the need to transform their organisations to truly integrate digital into the company’s culture.

    Digital IQ, leadership, and goals

    C-suite engagement in digital investment has grown in the past decade, but a large portion of chief executives are still behind when it comes to being the change agents. In 2007, one-third of companies said their CEO was a champion for digital, but that number remains surprisingly low when CEOs are responsible for staving off disruptors and driving transformation – even in 2017 only 68% of respondents (Africa: 65%; South Africa: 50%) stated their CEO championed digital. On top of that, many respondents said other senior executives remain disengaged from digital transformations. “CEO and CIO support is critical to developing successful digital initiatives, along with attention to human factors,” Botha adds.

    The survey, now in its 10th year of identifying trends in technology and business adoption, examines just how organisations maximise returns on their digital technology investments, or not.

    Over the past decade, PwC has used this survey to ask corporate leaders a critical question – how are organisations maximising and profiting from their digital investments? Companies are faced with an ever-growing list of options for technology investment, but whether or not those investments are being put to good use remains an omnipresent problem – that has not been alleviated in the last decade.

    This year’s survey results, gathered from the perspectives of 2,216 business and technology executives, provides insight into the challenges corporate leaders continue to face.

    Business-model innovation and technology platform integration are considered the top digital initiatives for African organisations over the next three years: South African companies are more likely to cite technology platform integration (50%, vs. 40% of others in Africa).

    Emerging technology: next generation digital

    A decade ago, technologies like social media, mobile, cloud and analytics were still entering into the mainstream. Today a new wave of technologies, including what are known as the essential eight, is emerging: the Internet of Things (IOT) and artificial intelligence (AI), the foundational elements for the next generation of digital; robotics, drones and 3D printing, machines that extend the realm of computing power into the material world; augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which merge physical and digital realms; and block chain, a new approach to the basic bookkeeping behind commercial transactions.

    However, most companies are not better prepared in 2017 to adopt emerging technologies than they were a decade ago. African executives are focused on digital innovation, but may not have the processes in place to execute on strategy: 87% say identifying opportunities to digitise their enterprise is a critical part of their innovation process (vs. 79% of others), but only 63% take a systematic approach to evaluating emerging technology (vs. 76% of others).

    Similar to organisations in other parts of the world, investments in Africa are focused on the IoT and AI (69% and 42% are investing heavily today, respectively), and are expected to continue over the next three years (63% and 60%). African firms are more focused than their global peers on virtual reality, with 21% investing significantly compared to 7% of others.

    African executives tend to take a different approach to exploring emerging technologies than their peers, including collaboration with other companies. They are also more likely to network with other industry leaders (54% vs. 27%) or with vendors (40% vs. 31%). Meanwhile, they are somewhat less likely to use industry analysts (66% vs. 78%) or competitive intelligence (56% vs. 69%).

    The human experience

    While tech is important, the role of customers and employees (including employees like the CDO and CIO)) and their ability to adapt to change and utilise digital and emerging tech are critical in advancing transformation. However, addressing the full spectrum of human experience remains a serious challenge for most organisations. Like their peers around the globe, African companies lack many necessary digital skills, particularly in user experience and human-centered design (40% say this skill is well-developed in the workforce vs. 38% globally). Further, they could do more to close these skills gaps: currently, just 65% regularly update their talent model to address changing digital skills, compared with 72% of others.

    “It is vital that companies invest in digital solutions if they want to be successful. It is even more important that they think through how their investment in digital can drive new business models and financial results.

    “Having a high Digital IQ is about integration, and requires fitting together the pieces of the puzzle – the business, the customer and employee experience and the technology – to build one cohesive and transformative solution. This is what will give a company the competitive edge,” concludes Botha.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

    Note to editor:
    PwC worked with Oxford Economics in late 2016 to survey more than 2,200 senior business and IT executives from 53 countries and more than 30 industry segments. The territory focus on Africa includes 52 responses from Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria.

    Media contacts:
    Tielman Botha: Digital Lead for PwC South Africa
    Office: + 27 11 797 0638
    Email: Tielman.Botha@PwC.com 
    OR
    Sandy Greaves Campbell: Managing Director, Change the Conversation, South Africa
    Office: + 27 11 028 7753/54
    Email: Sandy@ChangeTC.co.za 
    OR
    Sanchia Temkin: PwC Head of Media Relations, South Africa
    Office: + 27 11 797 4470
    Email: Sanchia.Temkin@PwC.com 

    About PwC:
    At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.PwC.com.
    PwC has a presence in 34 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries. 
    PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.PwC.com/structure for further details.
    ©2016 PwC. All rights reserved

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  • Italian Language at Khartoum

    The “Marco Polo” hall of the Khartoum University was opened on 23 May. It is entirely a “Marco Polo” hall which is dedicated to Italian language and culture. A public contest was launched on Facebook for the more than 8,500 followers of the “Italy in Sudan” page. Many Italian personalities are taking part in the contest, with dozens of preferences and comments being posted by young Sudanese web surfers on the wall of the page of the Italian Embassy in Sudan. This is a new Italian initiative and has turned out to be a great success! The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at the Linguistics Department of the Khartoum University on May 23 inaugurated the “Marco Polo” hall, entirely dedicated to Italian language and culture, for the many Sudanese students who have enrolled. The ceremony was attended by the university's top executives, the Rector and the Deans of the Languages and Arts Departments as well as many students and followers. The Italian Ambassador to Khartoum, Fabrizio Lobasso, said: “It is a race against time, but is thanks to the passion the Sudanese people have for Italy.”

    The first Italian language course, which is about to end, is 60 hours long and based on Dante Alighieri's experience as regards textbooks and the curriculum. The students are ready to start again in September with a second course that will enable them to take the PLIDA exams at the Dante Alighieri and be awarded an A2 language diploma.Ambassador Lobasso went on: “Students interested in starting a new A1 course in the Italian language are already queuing up. If we combine it with the current course, the Italian course taught at the International African University and the one due to start in September at the El Nilain University in Khartoum, it will strengthen our role in the local university environment to expand our presence and finally establish chairs of Italian studies in the country. Inshallah, as they say here!”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.

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  • Wang Yi Holds Talks with Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad Aly Coulibaly of Côte d'Ivoire

    On May 22, 2017, Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad Aly Coulibaly of Côte d'Ivoire in Abidjan.

    Wang Yi noted that China and Côte d'Ivoire enjoy a long-term friendship. Both sides have always enjoyed equal treatment and mutual respect, and supported each other on issues concerning respective core interests and major concerns. In recent years, Côte d'Ivoire has maintained political stability, with rapid economic development and continuous and new achievements in national construction. China is willing to, under the framework of China-Africa ten major cooperation plans of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), take the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” as an opportunity to deepen cooperation in various fields with Côte d'Ivoire, and help Côte d'Ivoire gradually establish its own industrial system and improve its self-development capability, in a bid to make it enter the rank of emerging market economies at an early date. China is a sincere partner of Côte d'Ivoire and African countries, and share common ideal and pursuit with them. China will make efforts on the international stage as always to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Côte d'Ivoire, African countries as well as developing countries.

    Aly Coulibaly expressed that as the most sincere friend and partner of Côte d'Ivoire, China has offered support and assistance during the whole process of the country’s national peace and development, which is an important embodiment of bilateral political mutual trust. Côte d'Ivoire is committed to enhancing bilateral relations, and deepening bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation in economy, trade, finance and other fields. The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit has elevated China-Africa relations to an unprecedented and new height, and the implementation of its outcomes has become a new engine for bilateral cooperation. The “Belt and Road” initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping conforms to the trend of the times and is conducive to the development of small and medium-sized countries. Côte d'Ivoire highly appreciates it and is willing to actively participate in it. Appreciating and supporting China’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Côte d'Ivoire hopes to, on the basis of the principles, enhance and improve global governance and establish more fair and reasonable international orders. Côte d'Ivoire stands ready to, together with China, strengthen coordination and cooperation in such international affairs as the reform of the UN Security Council and climate change, and jointly safeguard the interests of African countries and developing countries. 

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

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  • Meeting of the Libya Quartet: Joint Communiqué

    The European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States (LAS), and the United Nations (UN) met in Brussels on 23rd May 2017 to assess developments in Libya since their last meeting in Cairo on 18th March 2017 and further coordinate their efforts to advance the political process and assist Libya in its democratic transition.

    1. The European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States (LAS), and the United Nations (UN) met in Brussels on 23rd May 2017 to assess developments in Libya since their last meeting in Cairo on 18th March 2017 and further coordinate their efforts to advance the political process and assist Libya in its democratic transition.
    2. The meeting was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Ms. Federica Mogherini and attended by the AU High Representative for Libya, former President Jakaya Kikwete, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Mr. Martin Kobler.
    3. The Quartet reiterated its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya and its institutions under the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat while renewing its call to cease contacts with parallel institutions outside the Libyan Political Agreement. It underscored the urgent need for a Libyan-led peaceful resolution of the political crisis and reiterated its rejection of the threat or use of armed force by any Libyan party as well as any foreign military intervention in Libya.
    4. The Quartet strongly condemned the unprovoked attack on Brak al-Shati last week and expressed its serious alarm at reports of the high number of fatalities, including civilians, and of alleged summary executions. It stressed that such acts of violence constitute a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law and that the perpetrators must be held fully accountable. It called on all parties to refrain from further violence and any act that may undermine ongoing efforts to find a negotiated solution to the conflict.
    5. The Quartet also expressed its concern about recent security incidents and threats of violence in Tripoli. It saluted efforts aimed at consolidating a reduction in tensions in the capital and welcomed the return of calm in the oil crescent. It called on the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord to continue to assert its authority and address security issues in the capital and elsewhere and called for renewed efforts among all parties to consolidate more durable security arrangements throughout the country.
    6. Recognizing the importance of consolidating stability and security along Libya’s borders, the Quartet reiterated its support for Libyan and regional measures to improve border security and pledged to enhance coordination in this field.
    7. The Quartet commended the efforts by the Constitutional Drafting Assembly to finalize a draft constitution and expressed its appreciation for the work made so far, most recently with the draft published on 16 April 2017. It called for the constitution-drafting process to be concluded as soon as possible to pave the way to general and presidential elections.
    8. The Quartet continued to encourage all Libyan parties to engage in constructive and inclusive talks to fully implement the Libyan Political Agreement. It welcomed all efforts and encouraging progress resulting from recent meetings between Libyan stakeholders, in particular between Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Abu Dhabi on 2nd-3rd May 2017 and between the President of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh and the President of the High State Council, Abdulrahman Sewehli in Rome on 21st April 2017.
    9. The Quartet similarly welcomed the appointment of dialogue committees by both the House of Representatives and the High State Council and urged them to seek consensus on outstanding issues to ensure the full implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement. It reiterated its commitment to support these efforts and to work in a complementary manner to advance the UN-facilitated political process towards a comprehensive resolution of the crisis in Libya.
    10. The Quartet expressed its appreciation for ongoing regional efforts to support the Libyan political process. It welcomed the final communique of the 11th meeting of Libya's Neighbours held in Algiers on 8th May 2017, which reaffirmed support for a comprehensive political solution based on the Libyan Political Agreement.
    11. The Quartet expressed its concern about the economic situation in Libya, underlining the need for the Libyan authorities to tackle the serious and urgent fiscal and monetary challenges facing the country. It encouraged all concerned stakeholders – in particular the Central Bank and the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord – to further cooperate and address these challenges, including through reforms, as developed within the framework of the Economic Dialogue.
    12. The Quartet reiterated its support to the coordination role of the UN and encouraged the UN to take the lead in any effort to facilitate a limited amendment of the Libyan Political Agreement including the development.
    and facilitation of a roadmap charting the way to a limited set of amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement, which are to be agreed as a package deal through a Libyan-led inclusive process. The Quartet also welcomed the series of activities and events convened by the UN to facilitate a national reconciliation process in Libya.
    13. The Quartet recognized the important role of the African Union and welcomed the recent consultations the AU High Representative for Libya, former President Jakaya Kikwete, had with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and President of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh, in Tripoli, and Bayda respectively. The Quartet looks forward to additional consultations by the High Representative in the coming weeks.
    14. The Quartet recognized the responsibility of the League of Arab States to promote a peaceful resolution of the situation in Libya, and welcomed its determination to continue these efforts and achieve national reconciliation among all Libyans based on the Libyan Political Agreement as reiterated by the recent Arab Summit held on 29th March 2017. It also welcomed the mediation efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary General, including during his recent consultations in Tripoli, Tobruk and Bayda.
    15. The Quartet welcomed the continuing support of the European Union aimed at accompanying Libya's transition towards an inclusive democracy, in particular its efforts to foster stabilization and rehabilitation, including its substantial cooperation assistance package, as well as its enhanced cooperation and dialogue with Libyan authorities and institutions and international partners to enhance their capacity to address the challenges of irregular migration.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C..

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  • Eamon Gilmore addresses West African Parliamentarians on Northern Ireland and Colombia

    Ireland deepening relations with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a regional body comprised of 15 member states – reached a milestone last weekend with a high-level visit to the ECOWAS Parliament by Eamon Gilmore (Former Tánaiste/Minister for Foreign Affairs and currently the EU Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process).

    Mr. Gilmore delivered two engaging lectures at a meeting with the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security and to a plenary session of the Parliament on May 19th and May 20th, 2017, respectively. The highly interactive sessions offered the parliamentarians an opportunity for knowledge sharing on peace building and conflict resolution largely based on the Northern Ireland and Colombian experiences and how these lessons can be transferred to ongoing conflicts in West Africa – a region which is prone to fragility.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of Ireland in Nigeria.

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  • President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire Meets with Wang Yi

    On May 22, 2017, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire met at Presidential Palace in Abidjan with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly of Côte d'Ivoire attended the meeting.

    Alassane Ouattara asked Wang Yi to convey his warm greetings to President Xi Jinping, and expressed that both sides enjoy a long-standing friendship, increasingly deepen cooperation in various fields. Bilateral relations can be called as a model of Africa-China friendship. Being proud of having such a trustworthy cooperation partner, Côte d'Ivoire admires China's development achievements, and is willing to learn from China's development experience. Côte d'Ivoire highly praises the 'Belt and Road” initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and believes the initiative could benefit vast developing countries as well as middle and small countries. Alassane Ouattara said the country is willing to actively participate in it, and continuously explore new areas for bilateral cooperation under the frameworks of the “Belt and Road” and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Attaching importance to China's international status, Côte d'Ivoire appreciates China's diplomatic policies, and thanks China for playing an important role in safeguarding the interests of Côte d'Ivoire and African countries within the multilateral frameworks including the UN Security Council. The country believes that China is a stabilizer and catalyst of the cause of peace and development for mankind, hoping China could promote the international community to pay more attention to and care for African countries. The country adheres to the common stance of the African Union on the UN Security Council reform, and is ready to further enhance communication and coordination with China.

    Wang Yi conveyed President Xi Jinping's greetings to Alassane Ouattara, expressed that both countries enjoy a long-term friendship, and China is a sincere friend and reliable partner of Côte d'Ivoire. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has showed the momentum of vigorous development. China has become the largest financing source and the third largest trading partner of Côte d'Ivoire, and bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation enjoys broad potential. In the next step, China is willing to help Côte d'Ivoire to speed up its industrialization process, uplift capacity in self-development, gradually get rid of the single development mode that depends on export of primary products, and provide assistance within its capability to the integration process of the West Africa. Wang Yi said that the “Belt and Road” initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping is an important public product for the international community, and also the largest international cooperation in current world. China welcomes Côte d'Ivoire and other African countries to participate in the “Belt and Road” construction. It is believed related construction works could mutually integrate with the implementation of China-Africa ten major cooperation plans, injecting new impetus into bilateral cooperation. China appreciates Côte d'Ivoire's prominent role in advancing the integration of West Africa, and supports the country to play a more important role in African and international stages. The Chinese is stands ready to jointly safeguard the legitimate interests of African and developing countries with Côte d'Ivoire's.

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

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  • On Africa Day, UN chief says world must move from ‘managing crises to preventing them’

    ‘Africa Day’ 2017 comes at an important moment in the continent’s endeavours towards peace, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, urging humanity to listen and learn with the people of Africa.

    “All of humanity will benefit by listening, learning and working with the people of Africa. It starts with prevention. Our world needs to move from managing crises to preventing them in the first place. We need to break the cycle of responding too late and too little,” said Mr. Guterres in his message commemorating Africa Day.

    The UN chief pointed out that most of today’s conflicts are internal, triggered by competition for power and resources, inequality, marginalization, disrespect for human rights and sectarian divides. Often, they are inflamed by violent extremism or provide the fuel for it.

    But prevention goes far beyond focusing solely on conflict.

    “The best means of prevention and the surest path to durable peace is inclusive and sustainable development. It is critical to continue building more effective and accountable institutions to address governance challenges, advance the rule of law and promote civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” he stressed.

    As the international community has entered the second year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to tackle global poverty, inequality, instability and injustice, Mr. Guterres highlighted that Africa has adopted its own complementary and ambitious plan: Agenda 2063.

    “For the people of Africa to fully benefit from these important efforts, these two agendas need to be strategically aligned,” he said.

    We can speed progress by doing more to provide opportunities and hope to young people.

    Mr. Guterres referred to last month’s first-ever UN–African Union annual conference as “a unique opportunity to strengthen our partnership and establish a higher platform of cooperation,” saying: “Our work is based on four driving principles: mutual respect, solidarity, complementarity and interdependence.

    Mr. Guterres said that the UN partnership with Africa is also rooted in a deep sense of gratitude.

    “Africa provides the majority of United Nations peacekeepers around the world. African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees. Africa includes some of the world’s fastest-growing economies,” he elaborated.

    Turning to youth, he noted “We can speed progress by doing more to provide opportunities and hope to young people. More than three out of five Africans are under 35 years of age. Making the most of this tremendous asset means more investment in education, training, decent work and engaging young people in shaping their future.”

    The UN chief also stressed: “We must also do our utmost to empower women so they can play a full role in sustainable development and sustainable peace. I am pleased that the African Union has consistently placed a special focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

    He also reaffirmed his commitment as a partner, friend and committed advocate for changing the narrative about this diverse and vital continent.

    “Crises represent at best a partial view. But, from a higher platform of cooperation, we can see the whole picture – one that recognizes the enormous potential and remarkable success stories throughout the African continent,” concluded the Secretary-General. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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  • 11 Libyan Women trained on Small Arms and Light Weapons Awareness by the UN

    On May 15-19, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) involved 11 women from across Libya in a workshop aimed at enhancing trainees’ capacity to spread Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) awareness messages in their home communities. This event was kindly supported by the Government of Switzerland, and implemented in partnership with the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

    UNMAS has launched this series of workshops in 2015, engaging a group of women active in civil society in different areas of Libya on four occasions. Each workshop expanded the participants’ knowledge of existing international SALW control standards, as well as of risks and mitigation measures. The project has also enabled these trainees to independently implement a variety of SALW risk awareness activities, from one-on-one sessions in households to lectures in public spaces and media. With this knowledge, the participants have enthusiastically continued to raise awareness in their communities on the safety challenge posed by SALW proliferation.

    Referring to the widespread availability of SALW in Libya, a participant mentioned “It was like people woke up from one day to another with weapons everywhere, and no knowledge of how to handle them safely.” The lessons and best practices shared by the workshop trainees with hundreds of beneficiaries in their communities have the ability to mitigate the issue, and contribute to the reduction of accidents and casualties due to SALW misuse.

    During the fourth workshop, participants discussed the design of risk awareness materials that will be procured by UNMAS to support follow on awareness campaigns at community level and country-wide.

    A call for applications to participate in three new SALW awareness workshops for candidates age 18-29 is open until May 31, and is accessible here in Arabic and English.

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

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