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Latest News May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

news From All Africa

  • The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Türkiye Wealth Fund and Catalyst Group cooperate to develop mortgage sector of Turkey

    Türkiye Wealth Fund (“TWF”) (www.TurkiyeVarlikFonu.com.tr), The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (“ICD”) (www.ICD-PS.org), the private sector arm of IDB Group, and Catalyst Group (“Catalyst”) (www.CatalsytGroup360.com) have entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to develop the mortgage sector in Turkey. The collaboration will focus on identifying specific primary and secondary market interventions which have multiplying effects on the economy and act as an enabler to home ownership.

    Mr. Khalid Al Aboodi, CEO of ICD stated “The growth of the mortgage sector in member countries is an important objective for ICD and is a significant driver for any economy. Strategically, further development of the mortgage sector in Turkey will provide a myriad of positive benefits to the economy notwithstanding the profound impact home ownership has upon individual families.”

    Mr. Mehmet Bostan, Chairman and CEO of TWF said, “Development of the mortgage ecosystem is required to meet the growing housing requirements for Turkey. This collaboration is aimed at the identification of specific models to deploy with the assistance of our collaboration partners. Turkey will invest billions of dollars for different industries in the next decade. The housing sector will grow together with these investments. The Fund will contribute to economic growth together with this value increase and contribute to the diversity and depth of the capital markets. Capital markets will continue to expand within this growing ecosystem.”

    Mr. Nazih Al Naser, the Vice Chairman of Catalyst, said “We are pleased to provide our collaboration partners our expertise in Islamic mortgage finance”. He added, “The Turkish housing sector is reliant on capital markets for sustained liquidity and growth. Supporting the mortgage sector directly increases liquidity while unlocking significant multiplying effects across the overall economy of Turkey.”

    The general framework of the collaboration contemplates TWF as sponsor, the ICD as Lead Arranger, and Catalyst as the Technical Advisor. The initial scope includes a comparative study of mortgage ecosystems globally and the development of a master development plan for the mortgage sector. 

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

    Note for Editors:

    About the Türkiye Wealth Fund (TWF) 
    The TWF was established by Law Number 6741 to help grow the Turkish economy and to address critical initiatives to enable growth and prosperity to Turkey amongst other objectives.
    TWF is the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Turkey and it was established in 2016. TWF’s mission is to develop Turkey’s strategic assets, to grow their value and thereby to provide funding for Turkey’s priority investments. TWF aims to be one of the most successful Wealth Funds in the World in terms of its successful investments and in terms of its performance based and transparent corporate governance approach. Further information can be found at www.TurkiyeVarlikFonu.com.tr.

    Media Inquiries
    Mr. Alpay Alptekin
    email: Alpay.Alptekin@TurkiyeVarlikFonu.com.tr
    fax: +90 212 282 1077
    tel: +90 212 371 2212

    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.

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

    About Catalyst Group
    Catalyst Group was established in 2009 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, member of the Islamic Development Bank Group. The company is a leading provider of technical advisory services for Islamic Financial Institutions & Real Estate Development. For more information visit www.CatalystGroup360.com.

    Media Inquiries
    Mr. Yousef Faris 
    email: YFaris@CatalystGroup360.com
    fax: +966 12 618 2123
    tel: +966 12 618 2100 ext 190

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    Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)
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  • Clitoraid Announces Its First Clitoral Restorative Surgeries for FGM Victims in Kenya

    From May 2 to May 13, the U.S.-based, non-profit organization Clitoraid (www.Clitoraid.org) will launch its first humanitarian mission in Nairobi, Kenya, offering clitoral restorative surgery to victims of female genital mutilation (FGM).

    According to Clitoraid Spokesperson Nadine Gary, this new mission is part of the multiple actions planned during the month of May, the month of Clitoris Awareness.

    “Dr. Marci Bowers, Clitoraid’s gynecological surgeon, will operate on 40 women in Kenya. Clitoraid partners with the Kenyan non-governmental organization Garana and Dr. Abdullahi Adan, a plastic reconstructive surgeon in this endeavor.”

    “Dr. Bowers will restore sexual pleasure to 40 patients,” Gary said. “But those having surgery next week are only a few of the many FGM survivors who have contacted us, desperately seeking to be made whole again.” (According to a 2013 UNICEF report, a quarter of all Kenyan women are victims of the barbaric custom of FGM, also known as “cutting.”)

    Gary said Bowers will also train local surgeons during her stay in Kenya.

    “She’ll present the clitoral restorative technique developed by French urologist Dr. Pierre Foldes,” Gary explained. “Clemence Linard, our clinical sexologist in France, will also participate, offering counseling to patients and sharing her expertise with Kenyan sexologist Dr. Tammary Esho, who volunteered to assist.”

    Clitoraid's humanitarian mission began in 2004.

    “International spiritual leader Maitreya Rael (http://Rael.org) during one of his visits to West Africa in 2003, learned of the gruesome practice of mutilating girls’ genitals,” Gary said. “He launched Clitoraid not just to launch an educational campaign against FGM but to provide the surgery that repairs the damage inflicted on its victims.” 

    Gary said Clitoraid has already operated on over 250 FGM survivors, mainly in the United States, where 500,000 victims reside today.

    “Among our former patients is Jaha Dukereh, a U.S. resident born in the Gambia,” Gary said. “Last year she was named one of Time Magazine's ‘100 Most Influential People’ in recognition of her anti-FGM activism. She calls her restorative surgery through Clitoraid ‘a life-changing experience’.”

    Meanwhile, Clitoraid’s first hospital dedicated to FGM victims and their medical needs in West Africa is still awaiting licensure in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.

    “Corrupt male politicians and greedy doctors prevented our 2014 opening, oblivious to the anger and despair of countless local FGM patients,” Gary said.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Clitoraid.

    Contact:
    Elijah Mwangi Ndungu
    +254734665525
    PR@Clitoraid.org

  • UK Troops arrive in Juba to provide Engineering and Medical support to UNMISS

    British Troops, proudly wearing their distinctive blue UN berets arrives in Juba today to join the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

    The UK Contingent will provide Military Engineering Taskforce to the Malakal and Bentiu Protection of Civilian Sites as well as a Level II Hospital at Bentiu.

    The Royal Engineers will conduct tasks at the UN Camps to improve accommodation, routes, security and drainage, as well as as the construction of a jetty on the River Nile and a helicopter landing site. Alongside their UNMISS colleague, their efforts will make a contribution to protecting civilians and creating conditions to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid.

    Nearly 80 medics will arrive to staff a Level II Hospital in Bentiu, providing world class medical care for over 1,800 UNMISS military and civilian personnel.

    With almost 400 troops in total, this will be one of the UK’s largest operational deployments across the world.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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    United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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  • Africa presents a mixed foreign direct investment (FDI) picture – EY Africa Attractiveness report
    • South Africa remains the largest FDI hub in Africa
    • Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa (the key hub economies) collectively attracted 58% of the continent’s total FDI projects in 2016
    • Investment from the Asia-Pacific region into Africa hit an all-time high in 2016

    According to EY’s (http://EY.com) latest Africa Attractiveness report, heightened geopolitical uncertainty and “multispeed” growth across Africa present a mixed FDI picture for the continent.

    Download the report: http://www.APO.af/EYAfrica

    The report provides an analysis of FDI investment into Africa over the past ten years. The 2016 data shows Africa attracted 676 FDI projects, a 12.3% decline from the previous year, and FDI job creation numbers declined 13.1%. However, capital investment rose 31.9%.

    The surge in capital investment was primarily driven by capital intensive projects in two sectors, namely real estate, hospitality and construction (RHC), and transport and logistics. The continent’s share of global FDI capital flows increased to 11.4% from 9.4% in 2015. This made Africa the second-fastest growing FDI destination by capital.

    Ajen Sita, Africa CEO at EY says:

    “This somewhat mixed picture is not surprising to us. Investor sentiment toward Africa is likely to remain somewhat softer over the next few years. This has far less to do with Africa’s fundamentals than it does with a world characterised by heightened geopolitical uncertainty and greater risk aversion. Investors with an existing presence in Africa remain positive about the continent’s longer-term investment attractiveness, but they are also cautious and discerning.”

    Asia-Pacific investors are bullish on Africa

    In a sign of ongoing diversification of Africa’s FDI investors, more than one fifth of FDI projects and more than half of capital investment into Africa came from Asia-Pacific in 2016, an all-time record. Most notably, Chinese FDI into Africa increased dramatically, making the country the single largest contributor of FDI capital and jobs in Africa in 2016.

    Foreign investors refocus on Africa’s hub economies

    Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa (the key hub economies) collectively attracted 58% of the continent’s total FDI projects in 2016.

    South Africa remains the continent’s leading FDI destination, when measured by project numbers, increasing 6.9%. Morocco regained its place as Africa’s second largest recipient with projects up by 9.5%, followed by Egypt, which attracted 19.7% more FDI projects than the previous year.

    New investment hubs appear in East and West Africa

    Although foreign investors still favour the key hub economies in Africa, a new set of FDI destinations is emerging, with Francophone and East African markets of particular interest.

    Despite having a 31.7% decline in FDI projects in 2016, and weak growth in recent years, West Africa’s second largest economy, Ghana, remains a key FDI market. The country’s improving macro-economic environment and strong governance track record has seen Ghana rise to fourth position in the EY Africa Attractiveness Index (AAI). The index was introduced in 2016, to measure the relative investment attractiveness of 46 African economies based on a balanced set of shorter and longer-term metrics.

    Staying in West Africa, Cote d’Ivoire also features in the top 10 of the AAI, and with a 21.4% jump in FDI projects in 2016, this illustrates that it’s becoming a country more favoured by investors.

    Also in the west, Senegal has emerged as a potential major FDI destination although this is not reflected in its current FDI numbers. It does however rank strongly on the AAI 2017, taking eighth position, due to its diverse economy, strong strides in macro-economic resilience and progress in improving its business environment.

    Sita concludes, “By 2030, Africa remains on track to be a US$3t economy. However growth needs to become more inclusive and sustainable to eradicate poverty at the levels that are required. If we accept the reality that physical connectivity – enabled by regional integration and the development of physical infrastructure – will remain a key stumbling block to inclusive growth across Africa for at least the next decade, then the need to actively embrace digital connectivity becomes critical. However, efforts to harness the potential of digital technologies as a fundamental driver of inclusive growth are still far too piecemeal and fragmented.

    What is required is a far more collaborative effort between governments, business and non-profit organisations to adopt technological disruption, and create digitally enabled offerings with a particular focus on health, education and entrepreneurship.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of EY.

    Media contact:
    Fathima Naidoo
    EY Africa Media Relations
    +27 (0)71 609 8273
    Fathima.Naidoo@ZA.EY.com

    About EY:
    EY (http://EY.com) is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
    EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit http://EY.com.
    This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

  • IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Scoping Meeting Kicks off in Addis Ababa

    Over 200 experts from about 60 countries are meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to draft the outline of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).    
     

    At the opening of the five-day scoping meeting, which took off Monday at ECA’s Conference Centre, IPCC’s Secretary, Abdalah Mokssi, said the Panel has a mandate to “provide policy makers with regular assessments on the scientific basis of climate change, its impact and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.”

    Ms. Fatima Denton, Director of ECA’s Special Initiative Division, who welcomed participants on behalf of the Commission’s Acting Executive Secretary – Abdalla Hamdok – called on the Panel to ensure that Africa contributes significantly to AR6.

    “It is important that the IPCC builds on the regional and broad experience of Africa to ensure that the next assessment report properly articulates Africa’s development priorities and better reflect Africa’s unique position and contribution to the exercise.”

    The role of Africa and Africans in the assessment reports was reiterated by Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity.

    “In the past, participation of Africans as contributing lead authors and review editors has been weak, “said Mr. Bekele. “This needs to change in order for IPCC’s work to have wider representation. Scientists in African countries need to take responsibility to ensure that we engage proactively with IPCC bureau in making our experts available as lead authors and review authors.”

    Ms. Denton said ECA is well positioned to support the integration of African scientific and policy perspectives into the work of IPCC, adding, “I hope the convening of this meeting in Addis Ababa will be a significant step towards achieving this objective.”

    IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. It is made up of 195 member states and its main activity is to prepare comprehensive assessment reports about climate change at regular intervals, typically of about five to seven years.

    The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is expected to be out in 2022.

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

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    United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
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  • Projected number of severely malnourished Somali children up 50 percent

    The projected number of children who are or will be acutely malnourished has shot up by 50 per cent since the beginning of the year to 1.4 million, including over 275,000 who have or will suffer life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in 2017.  

    Severely malnourished children are nine times more likely to die of killer diseases like cholera / acute watery diarrhea and measles, which are spreading. During the 2011 famine in Somalia that killed an estimated 260,000 – over half of them young children – the main causes of death among children were diarrhea and measles.

    “UNICEF and partners have treated over 56,000 severely malnourished children so far this year – almost 90 per cent more than the same period in 2016,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “But the combination of drought, disease and displacement are deadly for children, and we need to do far more, and faster, to save lives.”

    Around 615,000 people, the vast majority of them women and children, have been displaced by drought since November 2016.

    The Gu (April-June) rains are slowly unfolding, bringing much needed relief to parts of the country. But the rains also spell danger for children. If they come in full they will inflict further misery on children living in flimsy, makeshift shelters made of twigs and cloth or tarps. If the Gu rains fail, and if assistance doesn’t reach families, more people will be forced off their land into displacement camps. Outbreaks of malaria are already imminent, as is an upsurge of cholera.

    “New population movements will further aggravate the situation. Those who remain at home need urgent assistance so that they do not need to flee; and those who have already fled, and are now in camps, are extremely vulnerable – children most of all,” Lauwerier said.

    The women and children who make the trek, generally on foot, to places where they hope to find assistance, are often robbed or worse, both on the way to, and in camps. While there have been some reports of sexual abuse, including rape, most women do not come forward due to the stigma associated with rape and fear that their husbands will learn of it.   Perpetrators of sexual violence are seldom punished.  

    The drought has also forced some 40,000 children to stop attending classes, as the most vulnerable families enlist children to search for water, or as they migrate in search of food and water. There is anecdotal evidence of more children living on the street, and of displaced children being recruited into armed groups.

    Early planning and funding has made a huge scale up in assistance possible. UNICEF and partners:

    • Support 64 cholera treatment facilities that have treated more than 28,400 cases as of 23 April, compared with some 15,600 cases treated during all of 2016.
    • Have set up and support 330 new nutrition centres, bringing the total to 837 across the country. These sites have made it possible to treat 56,054 children suffering from SAM since the beginning of the year, almost double the number of admissions over the same period in 2016, with a 92 per cent recovery rate.
    • Provide more than 1 million people affected by drought with temporary access to safe water, up from some 300,000 in January.
    • Reached over 380,000 children and women with life-saving health services including emergency vaccinations, through support to over 100 health centres and 60 mobile and outreach services.
    • Provided 190 schools reaching almost 20,000 children with safe drinking water; set up temporary learning spaces enabling 43,000 children to learn; and provided emergency cash grants to almost 10,000 children at highest risk of dropping out.
    • Provided 840 unaccompanied and separated children, and 1,184 survivors of gender-based violence with critical services.

    UNICEF has received $78.7 million of its $148 million appeal – a 47% gap in funding.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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  • New Permanent Representative of Tanzania Presents Credentials to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

    James Alex Msekela, the new Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations Office at Geneva, today presented his credentials to Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
     

    Mr. Msekela will concurrently serve as Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations Office at Vienna. Prior to his appointment to Geneva, Mr. Msekela had been Tanzania’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme in Rome since 2012. During that period, he also represented Tanzania to Italy on bilateral relations and was accredited as non-resident Ambassador to Turkey and Greece.
     
    From 2000 to 2010, Mr. Msekela served as a Member of Tanzania’s Parliament. From 2006 to 2009, he was Regional Commissioner for Mwanza Region and later for Dodoma Region until the end of 2011. Before embarking into politics, Mr. Msekela worked in academia, lecturing at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. 
     
    Mr. Msekela is a trained electrical engineer. He was born on 3 September 1959 in Tabora, Tanzania. He is married and has three children. 

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

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  • Central African Republic: Armed Groups Target Civilians

    Armed groups fighting for control of a central province in the Central African Republic have targeted civilians in apparent reprisal killings over the past three months, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks have left at least 45 people dead and at least 11,000 displaced.
     

    Since late 2016, two factions of the predominantly Muslim Seleka armed group have clashed heavily in the volatile Ouaka province: the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (l’Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique, UPC), consisting mostly of ethnic Peuhl, and the Popular Front for the Renaissance in the Central African Republic (Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique, FPRC), which has aligned itself with the anti-balaka – the main armed group once fighting the Seleka.

    “Armed groups are targeting civilians for revenge killings in the central part of the country,” said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “As factions vie for power in the Central African Republic, civilians on all sides are exposed to their deadly attacks.”

    Human Rights Watch visited Ouaka province in early April 2017, and interviewed 20 people in Bambari who had recently fled the fighting. They gave names and details of about 45 civilians (17 men, 13 women, and 15 children) who had been killed by both sides. The total number is most likely higher because scores of people remain missing.

    The UN peacekeeping force in the country, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), has deployed approximately 1,000 of its 12,870 members to Ouaka province over the past three months, but the attacks persist.

    Escalating violence in the area underlines the importance of getting the newly established Special Criminal Court (SCC) up and running, Human Rights Watch said. The court – which was established by law in June 2015 – will have national and international judges and prosecutors, but will operate within the national justice system. It will investigate and prosecute grave human rights violations in the country since 2003.

    The latest round of killings began in mid-February when anti-balaka fighters ambushed a group of civilians on a truck in the village of Ndoussoumba, killing at least 16 Peuhl civilians. One survivor, “Asatu,” 20, told Human Rights Watch the she jumped out of the truck when the attack began and was shot in the leg. “I saw at least 20 anti-balaka attackers and many bodies on the ground,” she said. “The anti-balaka were shooting at us from a close distance with Kalashnikovs and homemade rifles.”

    Around March 19, anti-balaka fighters attacked three Peuhl men in Yassine, a town in a gold- producing area northeast of Bambari, which had been under UPC control since 2014. Two of the men died – three witnesses described both men as local butchers who had not participated in fighting. A third man said he narrowly escaped after a bullet grazed his shoulder.

    On March 20, anti-balaka and FPRC fighters in the towns of Wadja Wadja and Agoudou-Manga, suspecting an upcoming UPC attack, ordered town residents to move to Yassine for their safety. However, at about 5 a.m. the next day, UPC fighters attacked Yassine, killing at least 18 civilians, including at least 10 children.

    “The Peuhl [UPC fighters] started to shoot and throw grenades at us,” said “Marie,” an Agoudou-Manga resident who was forced to move to Yassine. “They shot at everyone. The anti-balaka just abandoned the civilians. I saw dead children as I ran away.”

    A man from Wadja Wadja, “Clement,” who was in another part of the village when the attack began, said he lost his mother and four children in the attack. “My wife later told me the kids were playing on the mat [outside a hut] with the baby when the attack started. We found them there, dead on the mat. They had all been shot. I lost my 7-month-old son, my 3-year-old daughter, my 10-year-old son, and my 13-year-old daughter.”

    Human Rights Watch documented other killings of civilians by the UPC in the area around the same time, such as in Ouropo, Kpele, and Moko.

    On April 13, Doctors Without Borders said it had documented additional killings of civilians around Bakouma and Nzako, in the Mboumou province, and in the town of Bria, in the Haute-Kotto province, both east of the Ouaka province. Human Rights Watch was unable to access those areas due to ongoing violence.

    “These killings are caused by cycles of reprisals,” one local official in Bambari, capital of Ouaka province, told Human Rights Watch. “A group will kill one person, so the other group will kill three, then the first group will kill twenty.”

    Gen. Ali Darassa Mahamant commands UPC forces, which have controlled most of Ouaka province since 2013. In December 2016, the UPC executed at least 32 civilians and captured fighters after clashes with the FPRC in Bakala, west of Bambari. In February, MINUSCA asked Darassa to leave Bambari to avoid bloodshed. He and most of his forces are now based about 50 kilometers outside the town.

    Hassan Bouba, the UPC’s political coordinator, denied that the UPC had attacked Yassine. “On the contrary, the village was attacked by the coalition of anti-balaka and FPRC, and the UPC had to come to its rescue,” he said by telephone on April 19. “The village was attacked because the coalition resented that the people of Yassine lived with Peuhl. Our men are still there to protect its inhabitants.”

    The FPRC’s political cabinet director, Lambert Lissane, said by telephone on April 24 that FPRC fighters and their anti-balaka allies were not involved in attacks on Peuhl civilians. People were spreading misinformation, he said.

    At least 11,000 people displaced from the fighting have sought shelter in Bambari since March 19, aid officials there said, adding to the tens of thousands of displaced people already in the town. Access to food and shelter remain serious problems.

    Governments have pledged only 7.9 percent of the US$399.5 million needed for the UN’s humanitarian response plan.

    Crimes in Ouaka province fall under the jurisdiction of the SCC, and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    In September 2014, the ICC opened an investigation into crimes in the Central African Republic since 2012. The investigation offers the chance to bring an important measure of accountability for the crimes, but will probably try only a small number of cases. The government appointed the SCC chief prosecutor in February, but the court still lacks staff and facilities. The government, UN, and partner governments should provide financial, logistical, and political support for the court to begin its work promptly, Human Rights Watch said.

    “In the central region, the fighting has worsened and the civilian death toll has climbed,” Mudge said. “Renewed attention and holding abusive commanders to account are needed to keep the country from sliding back into the large-scale blood-letting of its recent past.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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  • Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS) Program Furthers its mission to help Arab Member Countries to achieve their full Trade Development Potential through two new projects, in cooperation between ITFC and ITC

    The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org) and the International Trade Center (ITC) signed the Amendment of their Partnership Agreement for the implementation of two new development projects in Djibouti and Algeria under AfTIAS Program umbrella. The signing took place during the visit of Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of ITC to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group and meeting with Dr. Bandar M.H Hajjar, President, IsDB Group and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    The “Feasibility Study to Develop a Handicrafts Export Village” Project in Djibouti aims to provide the required assistance to Djibouti’s Ministry of Commerce, Handicraft and Consumption in the development of the Handicrafts Export Village as a source for wealth creation, including the analysis of required legal and regulatory settings and institutional infrastructure.

    Eng. Sonbol indicated: “Establishing Djibouti Handicrafts Export Village will assist the Government to promote local handicrafts and generate a new strategic focus for tourism”. This project will lead to the diversification of the income sources and consolidate the craft sector by providing appropriate methodological tools and, finally, support craftsmen and women to develop their activity on a sustainable basis.

    Furthermore, the “National Trade Strategy (NTS) to Support Economic Diversification” Project in Algeria focuses on providing technical assistance and capacity-building to key stakeholders and institutions in Algeria to design and lead into implementation of a NTS. ITC and ITFC received a request from the Government of Algeria for technical assistance to develop a National Trade Strategy (NTS) to enhance the country’s capability of reaping the benefits of regional and international trade.

    Ms. Gonzalez commented that “the goal of this project is to support Algeria’s economy and exporters with a view to boost competitiveness, support export diversification as well as employment creation, and promote sustainable and inclusive economic development.” The project will result in Algeria having, for the first time ever, a NTS developed and validated by key stakeholders and key institutions. Eventually, it will contribute to diversification of Algeria’s economy reducing its vulnerability to commodity market shocks, by benefiting from trading opportunities and improved competitiveness in priority sectors.

    Since its founding in 2013, the Aid for Trade Initiative for the Arab States (AfTIAS) Program has strived to enhance the trade development in the Arab region, which still has the lowest level of intra-regional trade in the world despite preferential market conditions. Over the last two years, AfTIAS Program has worked hand in hand with its many partners, including the International Islamic Trade Financing Corporation (ITFC) and the International Trade Center (ITC), to accelerate the pace of trade reforms and enhance competitiveness in global and regional markets. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

    Media contact:
    Raghda Elsharawy
    Asst. GM Corporate Communication & Marketing
    RElsharawy@ITFC-IDB.org
    +966 12 646 8409

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