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Latest News May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Deputy Minister Magwanishe to attend the International Economic Forum in Russia

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe will attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in St Petersburg, Russia from 1-3 June 2017. The SPIEF programme will include the BRICS Business Forum and Russia-Africa Round Table, where Deputy Minister Magwanishe will also be participating.

    SPIEF is an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues facing Russia, Africa and BRICS, held with the direct support of the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin.

    “SPIEF is an opportunity for South Africa to amplify its position within the BRICS economy and consider regional developments for trade and investment initiatives. The Forum will give us an opportunity to promote South African products and services to a high-level international audience,” says Magwanishe.

    Magwanishe adds that South Africa’s participation in SPIEF 2017 will form the basis for expanded focus on African issues in future events.

    “The Forum also provides potential for the country to play a more prominent role in future for advancing and influencing the narrative on Africa,” he adds.

    Deputy Minister Magwanishe will also meet with representatives of the Russian government and will participate as a panellist in different sessions at SPIEF.

    SPIEF attracts international participants, including government and business leaders from the emerging economic powers, as well as leading global voices from academia, the media, and civil society.

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

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  • The Commonwealth to observe National Assembly elections in Lesotho

    Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, will send observers to support Lesotho’s National Assembly elections scheduled for 3 June 2017, the Commonwealth Secretariat announced today. This follows a formal invitation from the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho and consultations between the Secretary-General and a broad range of stakeholders during her maiden visit to the country in April.

    Prime Minister Bethuel Mosisili announced the elections in March following a no-confidence vote in parliament and the collapse of the coalition government. During the Secretary-General’s mission to Lesotho, political parties agreed to sign a pre-election peace pledge. The Christian Council of Lesotho has since facilitated the signing of this pledge which reaffirms commitment to conduct peaceful elections and to accept the results “when declared free and fair by duly authorised independent observers”

    “These elections are crucial for the people of Lesotho, and it’s our hope that they’ll help deepen democracy and consolidate political stability,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “When I visited Lesotho last month, my aim was to encourage political parties, the media and all relevant stakeholders to support peaceful and credible elections. A small but strong group of Commonwealth observers will be present to observe the elections and to work in partnership with Lesotho and other stakeholders towards strengthening and embedding electoral democracy by sharing best practice.”

    She continued, “As underscored during my visit, the responsibility for conducting credible and peaceful elections falls on all concerned – from the election management body, to political parties, especially their leaders, civil society, security agencies, the media and the electorate. Each stakeholder has a constitutional duty and responsibility to ensure a credible process and a peaceful outcome.”

    Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, former Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group, which will consider the pre-electoral environment and election preparations. On election day, the group will observe the voting process, vote-counting procedures and the announcement of results, according to international standards for democratic elections, to which Lesotho has committed.

    As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, it will function with impartiality and independence, and will conduct itself according to the standards set out in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

    The Group will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn share it with the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Independent Electoral Commission, Lesotho’s political parties, relevant civil society organisations and eventually with all Commonwealth governments. This report will then be made public.

    The Commonwealth Observer Group will be in Lesotho from 27 May to 8 June 2017.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Commonwealth Secretariat.

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  • Security Council Press Statement on Libya

    The members of the Security Council condemned the military escalation in southern Libya including the attack at Brak al-Shati on 18 May, which reportedly resulted in the summary executions of combatants and civilians.
     

    The members of the Security Council welcomed the statement by Prime Minister Sarraj condemning the military escalation and launching an investigation into the attack at Brak al-Shati. The members of the Security Council also noted condemnations of the attack by other Libyan political institutions.

    The members of the Security Council also condemned the escalation in violence in Tripoli on 26 May. The members of the Security Council called on all parties in Libya to exercise restraint, reiterated that there can be no military solution and urged all parties to express their support for national reconciliation.

    The members of the Security Council called for perpetrators of criminal and terrorist acts across Libya to be brought to justice.

    The members of the Security Council commended the recent statements made by the Secretary-General and the African Union in this regard. The members of the Security Council recalled relevant Security Council resolutions 2213 (2015), 2259 (2015) and 2278 (2016).

    The members of the Security Council welcomed recent efforts to strengthen dialogue between Libyans, supported by Libya’s neighbours and regional organisations, and noted the importance of the UN-facilitated, Libyan-led process to advance inclusive political dialogue.

    The members of the Security Council called on Libyan stakeholders to expedite their work on the creation of unified state institutions, including unified national security forces under appropriate civilian control, and to combine their efforts to jointly fight terrorism.

    The members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the impact which the continued fighting is having on the humanitarian situation and called on all parties to facilitate immediate and sustained access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern at the increase in smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, deplored the continued resulting tragedies, including on 24 May 2017 which resulted in dozens of casualties, and extended their deepest condolences to all those affected and their families.

    The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the work of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Libyan Political Agreement. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Security Council.

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  • The Chairperson of the AU Commission condemns the attacks in Mandera and Garissa, Kenya

    The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, strongly condemns the multiple attacks perpetrated by Al-Shabaab terrorists on 24 May 2017 in Mandera, and on 25 May 2017 in Garissa, Kenya, resulting in the death of several police and security officers. The Chairperson of the Commission is deeply saddened by the loss of lives and injuries in these attacks and extends his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes speedy recovery to the injured. He also expresses the AU’s solidarity with the Government and people of Kenya. The Chairperson of the Commission notes that the continued terrorist attacks on the continent are a reminder of the seriousness that terrorism continues to pose to peace, security, stability and development. He reiterates the AU’s commitment to support Member States in their efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism and calls for enhanced international cooperation in this fight.

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

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  • Terrorist attack on Copts in Egypt

    The Australian Government is appalled by the brutal attack on a group of Coptic Christians in Egypt on 26 May, killing many including children.
     

    This follows the deeply troubling Palm Sunday bombings of churches and other attacks on Egyptian civilians and security forces.

    Our sympathies at this time are with the victims and their families and with the people of Egypt.

    The Australian Embassy in Cairo is monitoring the situation closely.

    Australians concerned about the safety of family or friends who may have been affected should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
    Within Australia: 1300 555 135
    Outside Australia: +61 2 6261 3305, SMS +61 421 269 080

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

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  • New Public-Private Partnership models could change the face of healthcare in Africa

    Increased spending on healthcare in the public and private sectors across the African continent has resulted in improved health indicators and life expectancies.

    “But the progress of this improvement is extremely slow and not commensurate with the increase in funding,” says Dr Amit Thakker, chairman of the African Healthcare Federation and speaker at the Africa Health Exhibition & Congress (www.AfricaHealthExhibition.com). 

    The private healthcare sector, as well as non-government organisations (NGOs) are well placed to help improve healthcare across the continent, and while there have been Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), these need to be stepped up if Africa wants to beat its healthcare challenges.

    Leader of Deloitte Digital Africa, and leader for Healthcare and Life Sciences, Valter Adão says “Healthcare spend is often sizeable in dollar terms but low relative to GDP, like in Nigeria, or reasonably comparable to European countries but the outcomes are poor, like in South Africa.”

    “The deviation from the traditional PPP models is that governments would not be the recipients, but owners or implementers and perhaps even the investors into these solutions,” Adão recently told the World Economic Forum.

    “These poor outcomes reflect challenges with governance and leadership,” says Thakker. “Budget allocations in a number of African countries are relatively large, but unfortunately inefficiencies reduce their impact substantially.

    “We would have saved twice as many children and women if governments were efficient,” shares Thakker.

    The African Healthcare Federation has proposed a new PPP strategy for the continent, to be phased in in three stages.

    • P1 will include dialogue between government and private sector federations to clarify roles and agree on a shared vision. 
    • P2 will include creating or adapting regulatory frameworks and contractual obligations and the institutionalisation of PPP Acts.
    • P3 will be the project implementation phase, which will include building and operating projects and products, followed by evaluation and sharing of information and case studies.

    “Innovation should be driven by the private sector,” Thakker says, “while the public sector should be responsible for creating an enabling environment for innovation to flourish.”

    “In order to find ways to spend more efficiently, governments, non-governmental organisations, multinationals and entrepreneurs should all contribute to healthcare initiatives,” says Adão. “They should look more closely at innovations that are getting traction in other parts of the world and being developed on the continent to be applied and result in a leapfrog effect.”

    Currently governments are seen as the customer and they are sometimes having to fund and implement products and projects too.

    “Take a leaf out of global private companies which are innovating. Many leading innovators have adopted the concept of open innovation, which they define the product or societal problems that are trying to solve, and then leverage ‘outsiders’ to develop potential solutions, and all get to participate in the production of the solution,” suggests Adão.

    “What if government is not the customer but the enabler, and the customer is the citizen to be served. Governments define the problem and then make it possible for companies, micro-enterprises or NGOS to participate.”

    Instead governments could rather identify the healthcare challenges to be solved, define the design constraints and monitor and evaluate the desired outcomes, and encourage innovation to allow for the rapid and scaled deployment of solutions.

    He says the recipients would be citizens while the ownership of and investment in the solutions would lie with private companies and NGOs. Government’s role would be to create the environment and the risk will lie with the entity employing the solution.

    “If we get this right, we will see improving healthcare indicators and we will be creating an environment that is attractive to investment,” Adão shares. “Some of the largest organisations in the world are cognizant of the fact that they cannot innovate at a fast enough pace internally. The same is likely true for government, as such, they should endeavour to find ways of tapping into wider knowledge networks for the benefit of their citizens, the ultimately the recipient of these initiatives.”

    “There is a world of technologies out there to disrupt healthcare in a positive sense,” Adão says.

    “These could be used to address the continent’s healthcare challenges and contribute towards economic growth, job creation and increased investment.”

    Innovative PPPs require buy-in from governments and Thakker says political goodwill “is much better than what we had 10 years ago.”

    “There is a realisation that two are better than one,” he concludes. 

    Thakker and Adão will both be speaking at the 7th annual Africa Health Exhibition & Congress 2017 taking place from 7-9 June 2017 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. More than 9,300 regional and international healthcare professionals and medical experts are expected to attend the event.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Health Exhibition & Congress.

    Conference cost: ranges from R150 – R300
    Email: AfricaHealth@Informa.com, www.InformaLifeSciences.com 

    More about Informa Life Science Exhibitions:
    Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions (www.InformaLifeSciences.com), in charge of the healthcare portfolio within Informa's Global Exhibitions division, organises 26 exhibitions yearly covering the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and US market, connecting more than 150,000 healthcare professionals worldwide and offering a range of marketing solutions for companies involved with the healthcare sector. Over 100 congresses take place in parallel with the exhibitions.
    Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions have a number of digital and print offerings, publishing a variety of healthcare magazines and medical directories, with a readership of top decision-makers in the MENA region’s healthcare industry. Additionally, Omnia, the global medical directory, is a unique digital platform providing company and product information 365 days of the year, allowing users to connect with exhibitors and products in one simple click.

  • IMF Staff Completes a Staff Visit to Guinea
    • Economic activity in Guinea is rebounding, with signs pointing toward continued growth over 6 percent.
    • Fiscal consolidation including increased revenues and reduced government spending have brought the basic budget deficit down to 0.7 percent of GDP in 2016.
    • IMF sees raising infrastructure spending while maintaining macroeconomic stability will help boost long-term inclusive growth prospects.

    An IMF staff team led by Giorgia Albertin visited Conakry from May 15 to 25, 2017, to discuss recent economic and financial developments and Guinea's economic prospects. The team prepared the ground for a future visit for the negotiation of a new IMF-supported program.

    Upon conclusion of the visit Ms. Albertin issued the following statement:

    “After the slowdown caused by the Ebola epidemic, economic activity rebounded in 2016, with an estimated real GDP growth of 6.6 percent. This was largely due to accelerated mining production as new projects came online, as well as an increase in agricultural and electricity productions.

    “Average inflation remained moderate at 8.2 percent in 2016, reflecting a moderate increase in food prices, a stable exchange rate and a prudent monetary policy.

    “Fiscal consolidation efforts have reduced the basic budget deficit in 2016 to 0.7 percent of GDP under the combined effect of increased revenues and reduced spending.

    “Imports have risen sharply resulting from new investment projects in the mining sector and have been financed by a large inflow of foreign direct investment. Exports increased, driven by agricultural products, bauxite and gold.

    “Growth prospects for the Guinean economy remain favorable. For 2017, growth should continue to be robust at 6.7 percent. We expect continued strong performance in the mining sector, accelerated construction activity in hotels and energy, and good agricultural performance.

    “It will be important to preserve macroeconomic stability, ensure sound growth of banks credit to the private sector and promote higher economic and broad-based inclusive growth.

    “Increasing infrastructure investment, while maintaining macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, will also be important to realize the growth potential of the Guinean economy.

    “The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive discussions.”

    The team met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Mamady Youla, the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Claude Kory Kondiano and the Economic and Finance Commission of the National Assembly. The mission also met with Minister of Economy and Finance Malado Kaba, central bank governor Lounceny Nabé, Minister of Budget Mohamed Doumbouya, the Ministers of Energy and Hydraulics, Mines and Geology, Agriculture, Ministers Counselors to the President and other senior government officials, as well as the international partners, the private sector and civil society organizations.

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

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  • Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the terrorist attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt

    The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the most recent terrorist attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt:

    “I was appalled and angered to learn of the vicious attack earlier today on Coptic Christians travelling to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Egypt’s Minya governate.

    “On behalf of Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones because of these heinous acts. We also hope and pray that those injured have a safe, complete and rapid recovery.

    “This is the third major attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christian community in less than two months, a community already reeling from years of discrimination and violence. Today’s victims included women and many children heading to the monastery for worship, as well as workmen serving there as gardeners and builders.

    “In this troubling time, the people of Egypt can count on Canada’s friendship and support, and we offer our full assistance to the Government of Egypt.

    “As recent events show, violent extremists often target those most vulnerable. As members of the international community, we must continue to stand against those responsible for these acts of terrorism and counter hate by promoting the values of diversity, inclusion and peace.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Canada – The Prime Minister’s Office.

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  • Minister for North Africa statement on terrorist attack in Egypt

    Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood, said:

    “The UK Government condemns the terrorist attack in Egypt. I was deeply saddened and appalled to hear about the tragic loss of life. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, and with the Egyptian Government and people following this abhorrent act.

    “The UK stands with Egypt against the shared threat of terrorism. Attacks such as these will not succeed in dividing our societies, and instead will strengthen our resolve to work together to defeat and uproot the scourge of terrorism.”

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

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